Trailer Magazine

One of a kind

  • From the November 2019 issue.
One of a kind

Specialised freight calls for specialised transport equipment. For Membrey’s Transport & Crane Hire, an innovative Drake 5x8 Swingwide extendable with self-tracking rear axles, which is the first trailer of its kind, is opening the doors to exciting new opportunities.

For Membrey’s Transport and Crane Hire, the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way” aptly sums up the Victorian business’ core operations. A specialist in complex, complicated and oversized freight, Membrey’s has transported everything from trains and trams, to silos and tanks, and even elephants and giraffes.

Started in 1962, Craig Membrey has been at the helm since taking over from his father 30 years ago. Still family owned and operated – and abiding by its motto of ‘make it happen’ –  the business has grown in leaps and bounds and now operates a fleet of over 100 highly specialised trailers.

The Drake 5x8 Swingwide extendable with self-tracking rear axles is the newest addition, welcomed into the fleet in September. Unique and designed to suit Craig’s requirements, the 5x8 Swingwide has been some time in the making.

“This trailer is truly one of a kind. The team at Drake worked closely with me throughout the design process, as it’s something quite different and it’s been customised to suit what I need. This is the first 5x8 extendable rear steer Drake has ever built,” explains Craig. “It’s a bit like a Swiss knife – it has a lot of different attachments and features that can do many different things.”

Since being delivered, the new trailer has been put to the test, carting mobile cranes and used extensively for wind farm work. Describing the versatility of the trailer, Craig explains: “This trailer can cart all sorts of different freight. We can cart wind farm towers and then do a mobile crane, all on the same trailer. It’s not something we can only use for one type of freight because it has the length and the width. We move anything unusual and have taken part in many major projects – we like to make things happen.”

Measuring 13 metres long, the trailer can extend to 17 metres, as well as widening to 4.6 metres. 

Key to its design is the self-tracking rear axles. Drake recently incorporated this technology into its iconic Swingwide to enable easier access into tight or difficult sites – allowing the trailer to enter sites other trailers of its size cannot. Along with its increased manoeuvrability, rear steering capabilities help to reduce tyre and component wear. Though Drake has produced 3x8 widening trailers that include this self-tracking option, the new 5x8 trailer purchased by Membrey’s represents another leap forward for the manufacturer.

The rear steer functionality can be controlled via radio remote or manually controlled from within the truck cabin. Additionally, the trailer’s gooseneck can be raised and lowered hydraulically.

“The new 5x8 not only looks tough, but the rear steering on the back means we can get around a lot easier, with less tyre wear and get into sites with tight access. There are several features on this trailer that weren’t around years ago, but now Drake can offer this sort of engineering, because they’re the ones who have designed it. This trailer has been on my wish list for a long time,” Craig says.

His latest dealings with Drake build on a business relationship that extends over 15 years, with over 20 trailers built by Drake currently operating in the Membrey’s fleet. “All of our specialised trailers are Drakes,” Craig says. “They’re the Lamborghini of trailers. They aren’t the cheapest but they are very good quality pieces of equipment. And if you ever have any problems, they are always there to support you.

“Drake is right up there when it comes to innovation. There are a lot of different ideas and designs in the market, but I think Drake is definitely a leader in its field. If you sit down with them and want to design something specific, they’re always interested to work with you to make it happen. Drake’s trailers perform well and that’s why I keep going back. The new 5x8 has been proving what it’s good at – this sort of innovation was definitely worth the wait and we’re looking at working with Drake on some new trailer designs in the near future.”

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