Trailer Magazine

A smart move

  • From the November 2019 issue.
A smart move

Transporting to and from farms, Nichol Trading discovered a solution that could provide a cubic capacity similar to that of a B-double, using a single trailer. Fitted with the Cargo Floor moving floor system, this new addition is ticking the boxes of capacity, safety and versatility.

In northern Victoria, agriculture is a key contributor to the local economy. The area’s fertile soils have become the ideal setting for grain growers, dairy producers and livestock farmers.  

On the banks of the Campaspe River sits the small rural town of Rochester.  It was in this area that Ralph and Dorothy Nichol founded their fertiliser business Nichol Trading in the late 1950s, which continues to work hand in hand with the agricultural industry by providing a wide range of services. The family business is now in its third generation, owned by their son Brian and his wife Glenda, joined by their two sons Kyle and Brook Nichol.

Today, Nichol Trading’s key services are the supply and distribution of bulk fertiliser. The fleet consists of seven B-double tippers and numerous other trailers including a new Barker trailer featuring the Cargo Floor moving floor system. 

Nichol Trading has a long-standing relationship with BPW Transpec. The suspension of choice throughout most of the trailer fleet is BPW D30K airbags combined with drum brake axles. “We’ve been using the BPW product for several years now and its reliability and ease of repair makes it the best choice for our business,” says Kyle.

Nichol Trading prefers to use local suppliers when possible. When the time came to purchase the company’s first moving floor trailer, Barker Trailers, approximately 90 minutes south in the town of Woodend, was contacted and was very accommodating to the needs of Nichol Trading.  

The Cargo Floor system’s solid construction and low tare weight makes it well suited to a wide variety of bulk products – from fertiliser and mulch, to food products, and even bulk bags and palletised freight. “We spoke to others in the industry and that proved to us that this option worked. The longevity of a vehicle is very important to us and because we’ve never had a moving floor trailer before, we were guided by others who were already using them in similar industries,” explains Brook.

The new moving floor trailer was delivered earlier this year and put straight to work, transporting chicken manure from local chicken sheds to farmers. As chicken manure is typically lightweight, cubic capacity took precedence over payload. Working closely with Barker Trailers, Kyle and Brook came up with a solution that best suited their needs. As most trucks in the fleet are bonneted Kenworth prime movers, the brothers decided to reduce the trailer’s length by approximately 200 millimetres, keeping the entire combination under 19 metres.

“This means we can use the trailer with any prime mover in our fleet,” says Kyle.

The high cubic capacity of the new trailer is a key advantage. As Brook explains, “All of our tippers are grain spec so there isn’t a great amount of cubic capacity, which is another reason we decided to go for a moving floor. Our B-doubles are approximately 70 cubic metres in capacity whereas the Barker moving floor trailer is almost 100 cubic metres.

We do a lot of dairy farm work too where access is restricted, so it makes more sense to use a single trailer over a B-double. It’s allowed us to get into farms we couldn’t access previously without splitting.”

Despite the high cubic capacity, Kyle says, “The Cargo Floor moving floor system can push out its entire load very quickly. It takes approximately 8 minutes to empty a load, including operating the sweeper tarp which is far quicker than our B-doubles and even our truck and dogs.”

As well as shortening the trailer body, Nichol Trading also requested a customised one-piece tail gate design.

This allows the driver to unload without the risk of the product contacting him and also prevents the product damaging the lights and number plate. 

The safety benefits of using a moving floor trailer over a tipper were another drawcard.

“The moving floor eliminates the risk of falling over while unloading and also contacting overhead hazards which are always concerns for tipper operators,” Kyle adds. “This unit is working well in its application and with WHS requirements becoming more stringent we see moving floor trailers becoming widely used in the bulk transport industry.”

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