Extendable trailer specs

How to determine the actual capacity of your trailer

There are several options when choosing steel, but for the greatest capacity and the smallest impact on trailer weight, reputable manufacturers use T1 material with a minimum rating of 100,000 psi. T1 has maximum strength versus ductility and equates to a lighter and stronger trailer frame.

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A trailer is never just a trailer, it can be made to many different specifications. The end result must always be perfectly suited to the specific loads of an operation. To select a trailer that will require the least maintenance, provide the longest life and provide the best possible return on investment, it is essential to understand the true capacity of the trailer.

There are five contributors to capacity ratings, and each can be modified to meet a carrier’s specifications. To select the right trailer, operators should consider these factors:

1. Load concentration

There are no industry standards when it comes to determining capacity ratings. To ensure maximum utilization, operators should pay particular attention to load concentration or the length of the bed that can support the rated weight.

Obviously, a 50 ton low loader can carry 50 tons. But the amount of deck that those 50 tons take up is just as important as the weight itself. While one trailer might need the entire 26 feet rated at 50 tons, another might carry the same weight for half the length of the deck.

Since loads are rarely 26 feet long, these ratings give a more realistic indication of the concentrated loads the trailer will be able to handle safely and without structural failure.

2. Load distribution

How a load is distributed across the deck and the number of axles required are also important considerations when selecting the right trailer. Axle weight laws and regulations vary from state to state. Fleet managers and operators must therefore work with manufacturers to define the best cargo trailer and axle configurations to maximize the load in their area of ​​operation.

There are many options for achieving the best possible axle weight distribution, depending on specific state regulations and the nature of the load. For example, carriers can vary gooseneck lengths at the front, change distances between axles and axle groups, move the load closer to one end or the other, or use a jeep dolly to add additional axles. However, these options must be included in the initial trailer design – even adding them later compromises the structural integrity of the trailer and the safety of operators and the public.

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3. Speed

Another determinant of capacity is speed. While some manufacturers rate their trailers at 55 mph, others rate them at 65 mph. The slower a rig moves, the less additional weight or stress is placed on the trailer. This is because although road dynamics such as potholes, train tracks, etc. always comes into play, the impact on the trailer decreases with speed.

4. Security

A trailer’s safety rating also comes into play when it comes to capacity. A safety rating is an indicator of the level of stress a trailer can safely withstand. It encompasses factors such as the strength of the raw materials used in the construction of the trailer and the configuration of the beams and cross members.

The widely accepted average magnification of payload weight on a trailer due to road dynamics is 1.8 to 1. However, on any given haul, the stress on the trailer can exceed this level many times over. If no cushion is built in to manage these stress peaks, there is a risk of long-term progressive structural damage. That’s why some industry-leading manufacturers use a 2.5 to 1 ratio, which is considered sufficient cushion for even the most extreme road dynamics a trailer might encounter.

Not only does the safety rating tell the carrier how strong their trailer is, but it is also a very good indicator of the potential lifespan. Generally, the greater the difference between the static design factor of safety and the dynamic average multiplier of 1.8, the longer the useful life expectancy of a trailer.

TalbertTrailer decking is continually exposed to the elements, making durable decking with a long lifespan crucial. Tightly woven and incredibly dense, apitong decking provides a stronger and more durable wood than other varieties, such as oak or pine.Talbert

5. Materials

Safety factors are strongly related to the quality of the components incorporated into the trailer, such as steel and deck material.

There are several options when choosing steel, but for the greatest capacity and the smallest impact on trailer weight, reputable manufacturers use T1 material with a minimum rating of 100,000 psi. T1 has maximum strength versus ductility and equates to a lighter and stronger trailer frame.

Trailer decking is continually exposed to the elements, making durable decking with a long lifespan crucial. Tightly woven and incredibly dense, apitong decking provides a stronger and more durable wood than other varieties, such as oak or pine. It is also less susceptible to chipping and cracking and provides some traction compared to a smooth metal surface.

Help to have

Buying the right trailer can be complicated, but help is available. Many manufacturers have experienced personnel who can help select a trailer with the optimum combination of load concentration, load distribution, speed, and safety rating for specific applications and load types. Knowing a trailer’s true capacity will help ensure an investment that leads to a long, smooth ride.


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