Low loader industry showing muscle

From the June 2012 issue.

The low loader may be a less common sight in every day life, but it is arguably the most remarkable construction when it comes to the load it is able to carry.

A low loader, also known as lowboy or float, is a variation of the classic flat bed design specially engineered to carry indivisible freight. It can be loaded from front or rear – depending on design and local legislation.

Featuring a significant drop in height just after the gooseneck, it is extremely low compared to the standard flat platform design and can accommodate even the most challenging freight, such as construction and mining machinery, wind farming equipment and prefabricated sections for a building site.

Most often, the main loading space, located between the gooseneck and the trailer’s axle group, is hovering less than a metre from the ground, and the area above the fifth wheel and gooseneck is used for equipment storage.

Most low loaders are supported on a multiplicity of tyres small enough in diameter to fit beneath the platform. It is common to use 32 wheels, often arranged in four rows of eight wheels each. A complex system of load-equalisation apparatus then connects the wheels to ensure that the load is spread evenly across the wheels and avoid any mismatch.

Due to the unusual freight task it has to handle, the design of a low loader can vary widely.

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