Adco builds perfection with Hardox steel

For the past 14 years, Adco Trailers has been employing innovative manufacturing techniques to use SSAB Hardox steel for truck and trailer builds. Since entering SSAB’s exclusive Hardox In My Body membership, the company has also joined the league of some of the most trusted and quality commercial vehicle body builders in Australia.

A majority of Hardox In My Body members in Australia are tipper body builders.

SSAB outlines how difficult it can be to get into its Hardox membership program because the manufacturers have to meet the specific membership criteria. These include meeting excellent quality welding standards, using the Hardox product in certain parts of the tipper body builds, and coming up with new designs and innovative ideas to apply the product. New South Wales-based Adco Trailers fit that bill perfectly and as a result, the company has been a member since 2016.

Adco Trailers is a manufacturer and repairer of truck bodies and semi-trailers based in Spring Farm, in the Macarthur Region of Sydney. The business was established by Alex Fail in 2009 and from the early days Adco has been sourcing Hardox from SSAB. Hardox wear plate is the world’s leading abrasion-resistant steel that is hard right from the surface down to its core. This gives Hardox-built products extended service life and high productivity in even the most rugged of applications.

“When Alex first started the business, he looked around at other products in the market, but a certain customer requested Hardox body for their trailer and Adco Trailers has stuck with the brand and only built Hardox body truck and trailers since then,” says Ben Fail, General Manager of Adco Trailers. Ben, who is Alex’s brother, has been working with the company for the past three years managing day-to-day operations, including estimating, quoting and scheduling.

“We use Hardox 450 for our truck bodies and Strenx 700 for the chassis. Adco Trailers has put over 230 Hardox body units on the road so far,” he says.

Hardox 450 is a highly versatile, abrasion-resistant steel with structural properties. It offers strong wear resistance for an extended service life. The hard steel offers superior strength and better dent resistance. The high toughness ensures that equipment can take impact forces without compromising its structural integrity. Meanwhile, Hardox 500Tuf is the next evolution in SSAB’s steel range, particularly for the tipper industry. The extra brinnell hardness in the steel can give end users either longer service life using the same plate thicknesses as Hardox 450, or making bodies lighter by going down in plate thickness and keeping current service life! This is not just a typical 500 brinnell steel.

The development has taken many years for SSAB to perfect. While other steel manufacturers claim they can produce this same grade, they cannot give the same properties as Hardox 500Tuf as listed below.

  • Welding – same parameters as Hardox 450 – Utilising thinner plate means less weld metal, faster welding speeds.
  • Bending. Same parameters as Hardox 450 – Utilising thinner plates uses less brake press forces.
  • Impact Toughness. Close to that of Hardox 450.
  • Dent resistance better than Hardox 450 – Even going down in thickness, better dent resistance.
  • Narrow hardness interval gives confidence in processing all parts.

“SSAB products allow us to manufacture truck and trailer bodies to suit our customers’ application requirements,” Ben says. “The light-weight nature of Hardox steel means our customers can gain more payload. The quality of the material is second to none. Hardox provides greater longevity and strength over something like mild steel or quenched and tempered steel. The larger sheets of Hardox allow us to do larger builds without joints. It is clearly the best material suited for the harsh requirements that is demanded of in the transport and civil industries.”

Since signing up as a Hardox In My Body member Adco Trailers has been getting more support from SSAB. The team gets more updates regarding supply and stock levels to plan its manufacturing processes accordingly.

“The team at Adco Trailers were looking for a light-weight bodies for their builds so that they could increase payload and as a result help increase productivity for their customers,” says Darren Walsh, Regional Sales Manager Australia at SSAB. “The lighter design of Hardox bodies supports lower fuel consumption and less tire wear. Adco Trailers saw the potential in our steel and that’s why they jumped on buying our Hardox steel. Apart from the innovation side, they realise that they can do much more with our product.”

SSAB is constantly improving production processes in order to develop new and better products. This has resulted in the ability to guarantee both closer tolerances and improved workshop properties. Hardox’s current range features Hardox 400, 450, 500 Tuf, Hardox 500, 550, Hardox 600, Hardox Extreme, Hardox HiTuf, Hardox HiAce, Hardox HiTemp, Hardox Round Bars, and Hardox Tubes and Pipes.

“As we bring new grades of steel out, the team at Adco Trailers are finding innovative ways to fit them into their manufacturing,” Darren says. “It is all about utilising steel at its best and also finding out what new benefits it can bring to their customers.”