Stepping up to the plate

A division of The Drake Group, O’Phee Trailers offers a range of container carrying trailers including skels, flat-tops, dropdecks and sideloaders. The operation is heavily involved in Performance-Based Standards, helping its customers leverage the benefits of higher mass limits and increased productivity.

Over the last decade O’Phee has worked hard to develop a number of innovative PBS-approved designs, with the jewel in the crown being the 30-metre A-double capable of carrying two 40’ boxes at a gross combination mass (GCM) of 85 tonnes.

To date, O’Phee has manufactured A-double combinations in various guises, from the flatdeck and the dropdeck container skels, through to all other semi-trailer models in the range.

“Our A-double design made it possible to halve the number of truck journeys to the port of Brisbane,” says Mick O’Phee of The Drake Group.

“We always knew that to survive in a fast-evolving business landscape, we had to out-innovate the competition and seek new avenues of growth, so we embraced the PBS idea wholeheartedly – not just for us, but for our customers, who had to become more efficient and reduce costs in moving their products,” Mick says – adding that PBS has become vitally important for the economy and assists Australia to continue to compete in the world trade arena.

What’s important to understand, Mick explains, is that moving to PBS wasn’t just a question of adapting to a new engineering model; it was the beginning of a whole new business philosophy.

“As the scheme is inherently complex, we had to create a comprehensive infrastructure around it, from sales consulting through to approval management – effectively paving the way for the whole one-stop-shop idea that is now so prominent in the trailer market,” he says.

The ‘BoXLoader’ Multi-Loader Simplex was developed by O’Phee Trailers together with BoXLoader in France and introduced to the Australian market at the 2011 Brisbane Truck Show.

Going forward, Mick maintains that PBS-approved equipment will become even more prevalent in Australia.

“I think we have only just scratched the surface,” he says. “More and more customers are now asking us about PBS on the first enquiry. Although some say an A-double is just a combination of trailers, a dolly and a prime mover, I believe the PBS process behind it – the design, the build, the productivity gains and the safety aspect – makes it one of the best commercial vehicles available in the world market today.”

Mick adds that it’s important to meet growing demand in the container game with the right equipment and to not take any shortcuts should freight traffic spike.

“Anyone can build a standard trailer, but only a few can design a high productivity vehicle that will last in the high duty cycle of PBS and the trying transport environment found here in Australia,” he says.
“As a long-standing Australian business, we certainly have an advantage in that regard.”

Other prominent products in the O’Phee line-up are the Swinglift and BoXLoader container sideloader trailers.
Swinglift offers greater stability and fast container transfer speed due to the unique design of the single action leg-over stabilisers.

“The Swinglift In-line I Beam is the most popular model in the Swinglift range,” Mick attests. It offers exceptional stability and faster container transfer speed due to the unique design of the single-action leg-over stabilisers.

“The I Beam chassis is constructed from ultra-high tensile steel resulting in a low tare weight with no compromise in strength. The lower tare weight translates to higher payloads.”

It has the ability, Mick explains, to unload a secondary trailer while the primary is loaded with a container, which allows the secondary trailer to be driven off when empty because the cranes do not need to be packed away.

Swinglift’s proven container alignment system enables fast truck to container alignment., with the hardened pivot pins and bushes ensuring a long and reliable service life. There’s also an integrated human machine interface (HMI) system which increases operator protection.

Meanwhile, the versatile and very successful ‘BoXLoader’ Multi-Loader Simplex – developed by O’Phee Trailers together with BoXLoader in France – was introduced to the Australian market at the 2011 Brisbane Truck Show.

O’Phee Trailers became a division of The Drake Group in 2015. One of its products, the Swinglift sideloader, offers exceptional stability thanks to its single action leg-over stabilisers.

According to Mick, it continues to perform consistently and is a favourite with many companies due to its strength in design and special features that reduce downtime and maintenance, rewarding the owner with optimum performance and longevity.

With a lifting capacity of 35 tonnes, the BoXLoader Multi-Loader (either Simplex or Doublex) is capable of double stacking, trailer-to-trailer transfer, and trailer-to-ground transfer.
As an integral part of The Drake Group, O’Phee Trailers will continue to evolve its innovative container handling semi-trailer products including Swinglift and BoXLoader, building on a rock-solid platform that has endured for decades – and will continue for many more decades to come.

Fast Fact
An integral part of The Drake Group, O’Phee Trailers offers a range of versatile and innovative container handling semi-trailers and sideloaders specifically designed to help operators improve productivity and maximise profitability.