Somerton success story

Melbourne-based Patlin Heavy Haulage has taken delivery of a new Drake Low Height Semi-Modular Steerable with eight-ram steering system.

The latest Drake trailer to join the Patlin Heavy Haulage fleet is a versatile 8×8 unit comprising a 6×8 steerable and a 2×8 clip, with every axle in the combination adjustable.

The trailer is capable of being turned into a 13×8 with the addition of extra clips. It joins another Drake platform owned by Patlin which is a 7×8 extendable.

Sam Drake, Group Sales Manager at The Drake Group, says the trailer doesn’t have a permanently fixed axle, meaning any axle in the combination can be mechanically fixed to suit varying operational needs.

“This is an advantage because you can set the optimum steering configuration for your application,” Sam says. “In other words, you are not limited by a welded fixed axle which determines your steering geometry, and can fix any axle to suit the combination you are operating.”

Sam explains that the eight-ram steering system gives the operator the ability to ‘split steer’ the trailer into those hard-to-reach places as well as ‘crab’ into position for loading when required.

The trailer is also fitted with double-acting suspension rams, making carrying axles when unladen easier, safer and quicker.

Matthew Papaluca (left) and Stephen Papaluca with Sam Drake (centre).

According to Patlin Heavy Haulage Managing Director, Pat Papaluca, the new Drake platform has the dual benefit of being able to carry the heavier loads while being highly manoeuvrable and therefore easily able to negotiate tight construction sites common around Melbourne. It is currently performing night runs between Benalla and Footscray.

“Some of the gear we are now shifting into sites around Melbourne is bigger and heavier which necessitates a highly manoeuvrable platform trailer,” Pat says. “Getting around the city with this sort of gear is pretty tight at the best of times.”

Around 80 per cent of the company’s 45-strong trailer fleet bear the Drake nameplate.
“We have about 18 quad-axle floats – a mixture of deck wideners and full wideners as well as some extendables,” Pat says.“We try to cater for a wide range of the market which is reflected in the diversity of our trailers.”

Patlin Heavy Haulage was started by Pat in 1976 when he was 19, growing from one tipper truck and some earthmoving equipment into the large company it is today. With his wife, Lina, and their three sons, they run the business together as a family.

“Our eldest son Joe takes care of Operations, while our youngest, Stephen, is a driver and Matthew is a mechanic,” Pat says. “I’ve always loved cars, trucks and machinery so I guess it was inevitable that I would end up running a business like this. Fortunately, the boys wanted to follow suit and my wife was willing to back me all the way, which has made the business what it is today.”

Overall, Pat is satisfied with his latest 8×8 Drake platform trailer.

“The Drake Group has always looked after us,” he says. “They build a fantastic trailer and any little niggles we’ve had they’ve always fixed for us. We have maintained a really good relationship ever since we bought our first new Drake trailer in 2002, and we’ve been buying Drake ever since.”