Trailer Magazine

Leader of the pack

  • From the February 2020 issue.
Leader of the pack

Stock crate builder Cannon Trailers has largely standardised on JOST JSK37CXW greaseless fifth wheels on the B-double lead trailers it builds. Strength and simplicity are leading attractions.

Without a doubt, stock crates are right up there in terms of operating under some of the most arduous conditions in the road transport realm.
Everything from negotiating dusty corrugated gravel roads and undulating bush tracks leading to farms and stations to long distance highway hauls are all in a day’s work for many cattle trucks.

The fifth wheel mounted on the rear of the B-double lead trailer is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of dust, mud and stones thrown up by the prime mover’s wheels, and with greasy plate fifth wheels the ingress of these abrasive materials onto the contact surfaces can lead to accelerated wear.

In this respect and also in terms of keeping the outfit clean, greaseless fifth wheels incorporating a replaceable non-metallic wear pad on the fifth wheel plate have been welcomed by many in the industry.

As a leading manufacturer of fifth wheels, JOST is continually developing and updating its designs to keep ahead of the curve. A good example of this is the company’s JSK37CXW fifth wheel that is a substantially beefed-up evolution of the company’s original JSK37C range.

With stock crate and other typically high centre of gravity applications front of mind, the JSK37CXW has been specifically designed to handle high gross combination weights in addition to the torsional stresses that come from operating a B-double on uneven terrain.   

According to JOST, due to the number of forces acting upon it in different directions, each of its fifth wheel variants has been engineered and constructed with a high degree of strength and precision, and all models sold in Australia undergo mandatory independent certification to ensure fitness for purpose.

The JSK37CXW is available with pedestal heights of 150mm, 170mm, 185mm, 220mm and 250mm. The 150mm variant has a D-value (longitudinal force) rating of 190kN while the rest are rated at 240kN.

In addition to the fixed plate design, it is also available in both low-profile and double-row ballrace iterations.

With an imposed load rating of 24,000kg, the JSK37CXW incorporates a number of upgraded features that enhance its robustness including a new wear ring secured by four bolts rather than the previous three.

It also has sturdier mounting options including weld-on or bolt-on pedestals with six bolts per side fastening the top plate to the pedestals compared to the usual four. In addition, the plate has been reinforced with extra webbing gussets on its underside and a slightly thicker profile.
This is a critical feature for stockcrates which generally don’t need the highest D-rating but do require maximum torsional strength due to the uneven nature of the tracks on which they travel.

Assisting in this respect is the heavy-duty rubber mounting of the plate which enables a degree of side-to-side oscillation, thus eliminating the stresses on the plate. According to Rod Cannon, Manager of Toowoomba-based livestock trailer builder Cannon Trailers, JOST has been the company’s fifth wheel of choice ever since it commenced manufacturing stock crates in 1997.
The company uses the catchy phrase ‘Beef Bus’, which is emblazoned on the sides and rear of its crates, to signify its unwavering dedication to producing vehicles of the highest standards for transporting cattle.

“The new JOST JSK37CXW is a big improvement over earlier versions,” Rod attests. “The extra heavy-duty top plate and improvements to the mounting system have made it a lot more durable under the harsh conditions common to stock crates.”

Asked his opinion about the once popular ballrace turntable, Rod says the extra moving parts and cost, along with higher maintenance including regular greasing of ballrace assemblies makes the fixed fifth wheel, particularly the non-greasable JSK37CXW, a better option.

“We occasionally install a ballrace for a customer but probably around 90 per cent of B-double crates we build now have the JSK37CXW fixed fifth wheel.”
Cannon Trailers was started by Rod’s father, Blu, in 1997. Blu has been involved in the livestock industry, both carrying livestock and manufacturing livestock trailers since the mid- 1970s. He is still very much involved in the business, spreading his time between Cannon Trailers and the family’s sandblasting and paint facility Cannon Industrial Coatings. 

Prior to starting Cannon Trailers, Blu identified a gap in the stock crate market and decided to put his expertise to work producing crates with features he believed were superior to other brands available at the time.
“At the start it was just Dad and five employees, but the business has steadily grown and today we have more than 50 people on the payroll,” Rod explains, adding that the clientele consists of a good proportion of loyal long-term customers in addition to new clients. The present production quota is around three B-doubles per month.

The current 2,500m2 factory is situated on a 10-acre site at Crows Nest near Toowoomba and Rod says there are plans afoot to build additional shed space to cater for the continued growth of the business.

“We are expanding the business with repair work on all makes of stock crates so we are looking to create a separate repair facility where we can concentrate on this operation away from the manufacturing plant,” he says.     
All up, the future looks bright for Cannon Trailers. Producing superior quality stock crates using top shelf components like JOST JSK37CXW fifth wheels is sure to keep the customers coming in droves.

Fast Fact
Cannon Trailers fits JOST JSK37CXW grease-less fifth wheels to around 90 per cent of the stock crates it builds.

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