Peter Röskes, third-generation manager of the eponymous family business, has grown up in the paper transport industry and cut his teeth on that special trade since his childhood, making him one of the few acclaimed expert in Europe.
According to Röskes, industrial paper rolls are “sensitive heavyweights” only a highly specialised fleet can handle. Weighing in at five tonnes or more, they make for an extremely heavy and concentrated load and require great care as they can be damaged easily. Not to mention the complex load restraint necessary and the just-in-time mantra of the media industry.
On that account, the German-based logistics expert is quite particular about the transport equipment bearing the long-standing family name. Most recently, he teamed up with German trailer expert Krone to develop the new generation of the company’s Paper Liner Ultra model, assisting Krone with hands-on advice from start to finish.
“The best possible utilisation of the total allowed weight of 40 tonnes is key to achieve maximum cost-efficiency,” he says. “For example, adding or taking off 200kg of tare weight can determine whether we can transport five or just four paper rolls in one go – a 20 per cent difference.
“And the requirements continue to grow. Over the past few years, paper rolls have become larger and a lot heavier in order to reduce the amount of time-consuming roll changes at the printing house,” the 43-year-old adds. “As a result, our entire fleet is on a permanent ‘diet’ – all unnecessary weight, even spare tyres and jacks, is removed to save as much weight as possible.
On the other hand, Röskes does not want to compromise on safety and stability. Having dealt with paper manufacturers and printing houses since the 1960s, he is always trying to achieve the “perfect balance” between low tare weight and maximum stability.
“There is no use for a lightweight trailer when heavy loads quickly lead to bending or other structural problems,” he explains. “We use our trailers for seven to eight years on average and need a long-lasting, solid construction.”
That’s why Röskes didn’t think twice when offered the opportunity to contribute to the development of the latest Krone Paper Liner model. The project kicked off in spring 2011 with an intensive brainstorming session, focusing on achieving the highest possible load capacity while maintaining the overall stability of the design.
According to Krone, Röskes’ real-life experience was “most welcome” during that phase, as there was a wealth of questions to be considered – for example which height would make sense; which materials would be suitable; how to shape the top; where to install lashing straps and what kind of axles to use. “We discussed everything, right down to the last detail, until the concept for the Paper Liner Ultra had been created,” says Röskes.
Krone’s local sales representative, Claus Hütten, adds, “People like Peter Röskes have the right instincts, derived directly from everyday operations. They are extremely helpful to us, especially in such a specialized market segment.”
According to Hütten, it’s a classic win-win situation. “Our customers will receive a trailer that meets their exact expectations, and we can strengthen our position as a provider of specialized transport equipment even further.”
Even after the first drawing had been done, the Paper Liner Ultra project was far from over for Peter Röskes, as he wanted to be the first to test the prototype on the road. Given Röskes valuable input, Krone supplied the test vehicle for a year, and it covered some 150,000km under the Röskes banner during that time. The result? Very little room for improvement and a high degree of satisfaction for transport business and drivers alike.
“It’s interesting to see the result of being actively involved in developing your fleet. The Paper Liner Ultra turned out to be very robust; and with a tare weight of just under six tonnes – including all paper roll equipment – it could set a new benchmark for this kind of vehicle in the industry.”
Naturally, optimizations have since been made and will continue to be made right down to the last detail, as Röskes points out. “The developers are now planning to reduce the trailer weight by a further 120kg, using new generation SAF-Holland axles and selected alloy wheels. It’s work in progress as technology is advancing at a rapid pace too. But from a fleet point of view, the prototype is now ready for volume production.”
Röskes Transport will even keep the test vehicle, which has been branded it with the company’s distinct blue livery over the course of the trial. Hence, it’s no surprise the Paper Liner Ultra will also be considered for a future fleet expansion.
After all, only on-going specialisation will help companies like Röskes’ survive. “To survive in the business, you have to be reliable and fast,” he explains. “Short reaction times and rapid availability have become standard in the printing trade. Printing houses have cut back significantly on the amount of paper that they store, and even paper factories often only manufacture to order.
“So when an electronics manufacturer wants to have its brochures distributed all over Germany, it's all systems go on that day,” he adds, emphasizing that the company offers a whole range of paper logistics solutions and takes responsibility for overall timing as well.
“Modern logistics management is much more than just transport freight from A to B. We offer our clientele real added value by streamlining and optimising processes. For instance, we take on complete platform and warehouse logistics for the customer and provide logistics management from paper ordering and delivery right through to the distribution of brochures and advertising leaflets. In that sense, there is absolutely no room for using equipment that isn’t up to the job.”