Trailer Magazine

Drake takes the cake according to Ace

  • Posted on Thursday 21st, May 2020.

Ace Haulage, based in Yatala, Queensland, has taken delivery of a new Drake 4x4 Deck Widener – the fourth Drake trailer to join the heavy haulage specialist’s fleet.

The company transports a wide variety of heavy machinery for civil construction, mining and earthmoving companies Australia-wide.

Currently comprising seven low-loaders and seven tilt trays, Ace has experienced exponential growth over the last three years, having grown its fleet from five trucks to 14.

With a deck that widens from 2.5 to 3.5 metres, the newest Drake unit features BPW axles, including a self-tracking rear steer axle, hydraulic suspension and bi-fold ramps.

According to Ace Haulage Operations Manager, Tom Willis, Drake’s 4x4 (quad) deck widener is an ideal choice for Ace’s operation.

“You can’t go past Drake when it comes to deck widener and full widener quads – they’re second to none,” said Willis. “When you pick up a new Drake trailer from the factory, the outstanding quality and finish of the entire unit just puts a big smile on your face.”

While all the other units have one-piece ramps, Willis decided to specify longer bi-fold ramps on the latest one to lessen the ramp-over angle and make things easier when loading machinery.

“We shift a lot of crushers and screens that move on tracks and are quite low so I decided to go with the bi-folds to help lower the angle of the ramps and lessen the likelihood of bottoming out,” said Willis.

“It’s amazing how just a few degrees difference in the angle makes loading a machine so much easier.”

Willis said he has a mix of deck wideners and full wideners in the fleet. With deck wideners the deck widens while the wheel track stays the same. Whereas with full wideners the wheels move out with the decks as they widen, substantially increasing the overall wheel track.

“I won’t send my full wideners into tight access places like housing subdivisions to deliver a 30-tonne excavator because they’d end up hopping gutters and damaging rims and tyres,” he said.

“The narrower track of the steerable rear axle deck widener means they can easily negotiate tight corners without jumping the kerb. The rear self-tracking axle helps a lot in reducing trailer cut-in on turns.”

Speaking about the axles, Willis said he continues to use BPW because they have never let him down.

“I’ve always run BPW axles; while they cost a bit more upfront, in the long run they save you money because they last longer and give the trailer better resale value when you’re finished with it,” he said.

“We try to keep our fleet updated and modern, so we replace all our equipment at between five and seven years of age.”

Regular maintenance is a cornerstone of the Ace business and the company employs a number of full-time mechanics who keep the fleet in tip top condition.

“Some of our gear might be four years old but it’s still in as-new condition because servicing and maintenance is always up to the mark,” said Willis – adding that the high quality of the product combined with Ace’s comprehensive servicing regime means the highest possible residual value is realised at sale time.

In other news, a trio of O'Phee 45' drop deck trailers are central to B.J. Matthews' operations.

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