With any type of semi-trailer, having a chassis specification that’s suited to local conditions is paramount. Schmitz Cargobull has that box well and truly ticked now that the company has designed and developed its very own locally manufactured chassis in partnership with prominent Melbourne-based trailer builder, Bulk Transport Equipment (BTE).
According to Les Lange, National Sales Manager at Schmitz Cargobull Australia, one of the most important features of Australian fridge vans is that they must be the right length to enable a long bonneted prime mover to be used legally as a paired combination.
“Particularly for the Queensland market where they often use the big bonneted Kenworths with bullbars, we needed to introduce two new van sizes, a slightly shorter 22-pallet van and an optional 10-pallet lead trailer to ensure the B-double combination would fit within the 26-metre overall length envelope in mixed fleet situations” Les explains.
Possessing an extensive transport equipment sales background, Les started with Schmitz Cargobull Australia in October 2019 and says he was happy to hit the ground running to ensure the company’s new products would be fit for purpose in this market.
“We needed to review the body kit specifications that had been brought in to ensure they met our requirements, and also focus on introducing our own locally built chassis,” Les says.
“Schmitz Cargobull Australia needed to be in control of its own destiny in terms of having the chassis built to our exacting standards. We have our new body assembly facility at Noble Park (Melbourne) so it made sense to continue the evolution and develop a complete Schmitz Cargobull Australian trailer offering.”
According to Les, this gives the company the integrated product it needs to go toe-to-toe with the other manufacturers in the fiercely competitive refrigerated trailer market.
“BTE has set up a dedicated chassis building line for our product and we see the company as a great partner in achieving our goals,” Les says. “The company is located close to our Noble Park assembly plant and we have strong relationships with the BTE engineering and management team – for us it’s an ideal fit.”
Another important aspect of the new Schmitz Cargobull Australian chassis, is the use of Strenx® 700 – a high yield strength structural steel which embodies a significant weight saving over conventional steel and is ideal for high centre of gravity trailer applications.
“We really went back to the drawing board with the chassis and designed it from the ground up to suit the refrigerated trailer market,” Les says. “We made sure it was super strong yet as light as possible and with the best clearance around the gooseneck area, utilising all the strengths of the 700-grade steel.
“For running gear, we have standardised on BPW axles and suspension with drum brakes, 36cm airbags and vertical shocks which is widely deemed the industry standard specification for fridge vans in this country.”
Les is also keen to point out that much effort was put into ensuring the chassis and body of the Schmitz Cargobull fridge vans integrated perfectly with each other to provide the best possible appearance with the finished product.
“In the past I’ve seen fridge vans that didn’t exactly look like the chassis and body were meant to be married together, so to speak. Working closely with the Brown and Hurley Group – the sales and service partner for our vans in northern NSW and Queensland – we’ve made sure our trailers really look the part and can stand up to the harsh environment of the far Northern part of the country.”
Schmitz Cargobull moved into its new facility at Noble Park last year and to date this year has delivered in excess of 50 fridge vans from the premises. The product offering has now expanded to include 10- and 12-pallet A trailers, 22-pallet short- and standard-length B trailers, standard and extra long 24-pallet semi-trailers and 26-pallet Performance-Based Standards (PBS) tri-axle semi-trailers.
“The enquiry rate and amount of new customers coming on board with us have been exceptional,” says Balint Kolnhofer, Managing Director at Schmitz Cargobull Australia. “We have done the groundwork to get our sales, service and parts business partnerships up to speed so now we’re ready to tell the market that we can supply whatever configuration is needed.”
The message is clear: Schmitz Cargobull Australia is serious about supplying top quality refrigerated trailers with specifications exactly tailored to the Australian transport industry.
Schmitz Cargobull has partnered with Brown and Hurley to distribute its range of refrigerated trailers in northern NSW and Queensland.