Freighter’s ingenious solution to the time-consuming task of undoing and fastening trailer buckles
With most industries under the pump in the modern era, saving a few seconds or minutes in any process has become almost an obsession.
It’s no different for the road transport industry. Deadlines need to be met – while at the same time maintaining a safe working regime.
Freighter, part of the MaxiTrans group, has come up with a product to meet both needs in the form of the T-Liner Mark II.
Aimed at customers who are looking for a more cost-effective trailer, the T-Liner Mark II’s major talking point is the reduction from 22 buckles to six. And that, according to Freighter general manager Mario Colosimo, equates to a saving of roughly 10 minutes per drop.
Freighter has combined the technologies from existing innovations to come up with the T-Liner Mark II. Importantly, MaxiTrans’ patented EziLiner ‘curtain arc’ system uses high-strength nylon rope running through a series of arcs at the bottom of the curtain to create vertical tension quickly.
“It’s easy to maintain, because each arc has its own piece of rope and that piece of rope can be repaired and replaced if necessary,” he says.
Colosimo points out that previously it wasn’t possible to reduce the number of buckles on a curtain without loss of vertical tension.
“It’s vital to ensuring the curtains stay safely closed and don’t flap in the breeze when in transit.
“What we’ve had to do is make a buckle that applies more force to the strap,” he says.
“On top of that, by attaching the buckle around the tie rail, it gives us extra leverage in pulling down the curtain. So it’s a bigger buckle with a longer handle.”
Assisting the buckle is the inclusion of a non-slip clamp which ensures the high forces that the buckle produces are held in place while in transit.
“With curtain-side trailers, ever since they were invented, and that’s anyone’s trailer, buckles have had a tendency to loosen,” Colosimo continues.
“Most buckles require adjustment when you open and close them. With this particular buckle, we’ve given it more stroke so it doesn’t need adjustment when you open and close it, and we’ve clamped the tail of the strap so it won’t go out of adjustment.
“Every time you open and close it, it goes back to the same spot. You won’t have loose curtains. That’s a major improvement, and that’s a patented feature,” he says.
“In a nutshell, we’re combining two technologies that we’re very comfortable with – the buckle and the arc style curtain – making it a trailer that will ensure you’ve got a tight curtain all the time. The curtain won’t go loose, and it’s easy to use.
“If you’re a driver that’s got to open and close curtains all the time, you don’t do them tight because it’s just harder to do up and undo.
“So if you’re going to open and close a 22-pallet trailer with 44 buckles, four or five times a day, you won’t do them tight.
“The T-Liner Mark II’s design means it will always go back to the same spot – it will always be the same tightness; there’s no excuse.
“Plus, when you’re going to six buckles a side, you’re using less buckles anyway, so the likelihood of them being used properly to create an adequate curtain seal is much higher.”
This delivers OH&S benefits, with the chances of repetitive strain injuries being reduced.
Moreover, safety has become an important part of MaxiTrans’ doctrine in-house, according to group general manager sales and distribution Andrew McKenzie. And customers are also benefitting from the company’s safety strategy.
“Starting with about 2006 to where we sit today, we’ve been able to reduce lost time and injury frequency rate by about 80 per cent,” he says.
“In more recent times we’ve engaged the services of a company called DuPont to come and help us further reduce that to the next level, which has been fantastic and we’ve seen some great results from that.
“From that, we were able to sit back and look and go: ‘What’s the next step? How can we take that same philosophy to the market? And how can we try to design better, faster, safer trailers for both truck drivers and operators but also the broader community?’”
The Freighter T-Liner Mark II is certainly fulfilling that obligation, while giving budget-conscious customers an ingenious option in the competitive tautliner trailer market.
The curtain won’t go loose, and it’s easy to use.
1. Freighter’s new T-LinerMark II2. Mario Colosimo outlines thefeatures of the big buckle 3. The buckle is attached to the tie rail, so no chance of coming loose4. The new T-Liner features Freighter’s ‘curtain arc’ technology