Elphinstone Engineering’s EasySteer concept, as founder and designer, Graeme Elphinstone, reveals, emerged from research and development conducted with logging and pole trailers. From there, it has developed into an innovation recognised industry wide.
“Initially, we were investigating ways to increase the manoeuvrability of our trailers, all the while minimising the ground impact of the trailer and at the same time achieving maximum payload,” Graeme says. “Many of our logging customers haul timber from private tree plantations, and the landowners don’t want trucks and trailers gouging furrows on their land during transportation. More and more, there is an emphasis on minimising the environmental footprint.”
EasySteer has a single articulation point under the centre of the trailer turntable, extending the suspension travel range and creating more even load-sharing characteristics. Elphinstone also connected the stinger pole to the trailer rather than the towing vehicle, enabling EasySteer to work in numerous applications other than just logging. In doing this, the EasySteer trailer can be towed by a standard prime mover.
However, because the steering mechanism results in improved low-speed turning performance, Graeme says EasySteer can potentially be longer than a conventional semi-trailer with more deck length and a greater load volume while achieving a better swept path than a traditional semi-trailer.
The EasySteer trailer axle configuration consists of two axle groups, similar to a three-axle dog trailer, thereby giving the trailer axles a greater weight capacity of 25.5 tonnes compared to a conventional tridem axle group with only 20 tonnes found on a semi-trailer. Therefore, using existing legal limits, EasySteer has a potential gross combination weight limit of 48.5 tonnes compared to 42.5 tonnes for a conventional semi-trailer combination at standard mass limits.
Because of EasySteer’s natural self-tracking ability, when used in a road train configuration, the Low-Speed Swept Path (LSSP) of 8.67 metres improves significantly compared to a traditional road train.
“So, you can quickly see there are significant benefits for operators with EasySteer,” Graeme says. “With increased payload, fuel economy gains from the reduced drag of the trailer and reduction in tyre wear.”
Queensland-based transport and logistics company, Law Transport, recently took delivery of the first EasySteer with Expanda-Skel deck for its pole transport operations. Law Transport founder, Lance Law, says innovation had always been a big part of his business and the EasySteer trailer suited the company philosophy perfectly.
“It is what puts us in front of our competitors, and our customers’ long-standing loyalty is evidence that delivering innovative transport solutions doesn’t go unnoticed,” he says.
Right from day one, Lance says the EasySteer trailer demonstrated superior ride and handling characteristics.
“Our main driver, Shane Palmer, loves the thing,” he says. “One of our other senior drivers, Ken, also remarked how well the truck handles with the new EasySteer trailer.”
Law Transport’s new EasySteer trailer has been on the road for eight months now, hauling poles from Maryborough 1,500 kilometres north to Cairns. So far, Shane has nothing but praise for the EasySteer trailer, confirming a significant improvement in vehicle ride quality and handling. EasySteer also allowed Law Transport to save a significant amount of fuel and carry more payload.
“The trailer uses approximately 178 litres less fuel per round trip, and we’re comfortably achieving a 28-tonne payload,” Shane says.
In the log yard, Shane says the EasySteer left no discernible footprints of its presence in the dirt. Furthermore, when pulling around a sharp left-hand rise onto the weighbridge, the trailer rolled effortlessly on without any requirement for additional power.Image: Elphinstone Engineering.
The trailer’s dominance was also demonstrated in highway conditions – the Bruce Highway provided an ideal opportunity for Law Transport to experience the superior handling characteristics of the EasySteer trailer. With countless road works on different sections, Shane says the unique design of the EasySteer sliding pole system enabled the trailer to continue its steering function at high speed.
“It’s by far the best trailer I’ve ever towed,” he says. “It’s indeed in a league of its own. When the prime mover turned, so too did the EasySteer trailer, and it followed almost the same path as the prime mover.”
EasySteer is especially beneficial to bulk haulage tasks with high product density. Graeme is licencing his patented EasySteer to other trailer manufacturers to enable a diverse range of applications to enjoy the benefits of EasySteer. Law Transport, Lance says, will make the most of what the trailer has to offer.
“EasySteer trailers will play a bigger part in our business in the future,” he says. “In fact, I’m in the process of ordering more now.”
The post Law Transport takes delivery of first Elphinstone EasySteer trailer appeared first on Trailer Magazine.