Seeking superior manoeuvrability in tight locations such as housing subdivisions, Ballarat-based DE Quarry Solutions has purchased its first new Drake trailer.
According to DE Quarry Solutions Managing Director, David Eldridge, the new Swingwing 4×8 Rear Steer is ideal for negotiating the tight roundabouts that are often found in new housing estates and also throughout the city of Ballarat.
“I spoke with (Drake Group Sales Manager) Sam Drake a few years back and asked him to call me if they developed a rear-steer 4×8 Swingwing,” said Eldridge. “Two years ago they told me they were in the development stages and 12 months ago they sent me a video showing how it worked. We then ordered this unit that we recently received – which is the sixth one of its kind that they’ve built.”
Eldridge said the company already had a 3×8 Drake Swingwing which was bought second-hand and had served him well. However, he said that with the ever-increasing housing development around the city it was becoming more difficult to manoeuvre this unit when transporting machinery and crushing plants to the worksites.
“I knew how well the Drake trailers were built – the brand has always been synonymous with quality and innovation,” he said. “The level of technology in today’s trailers is remarkable.
“We wanted the new trailer to have more deck length than the 3×8 because some of our new screening and crushing plants were too long for it and we couldn’t raise the ramps fully,” he said – adding that the new 4×8 has a usable deck length of around 13.65m and carrying capacity of around 99 tonnes with a 2×8 dolly and 70 tonnes without the dolly.
The unit features super-strong three-rail bi-fold ramps that are each one-metre wide to allow for loading 68-tonne narrow track machinery that still requires the decks to be widened due to the weight.
In addition to the rear steering axles, another feature Eldridge particularly appreciates is the height adjustable gooseneck which enables the front of the trailer to be lifted when necessary to clear obstacles such as railway lines and steeply cambered roadways.
Speaking of camber, Eldridge said the steering axles on the new 4×8 don’t need to be locked when travelling at speed because they don’t run off with the camber the way 4×4 floats with steerable axles do.
“We can also steer the axles by remote control when reversing which helps when backing into tight spots,” said Eldridge.
“Between the height adjustable gooseneck, hydraulic suspension and steering axles we have been able to get this trailer into some really tight spots without a drama.”
He described a recent job that involved shifting a 60-tonne excavator from a housing estate where it had been working for a number of years.
“I gave the remote to the owner of the machine and he steered the trailer around the roundabouts from the ground while I drove the truck,” said Eldridge. “After we’d completed the job, the owner only had two words to say – ‘bloody amazing’.”