Future-proofing UK transport

Almost two years after the fateful Brexit referendum and despite increasing pressure on the UK parliament to outline the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of an eventual EU-exit, the 2018 Birmingham CV Show came and went without consensus on the country’s trade and customs relationship with the continent.

With Brexit still up in the air, the Show proved less political and more technology-focused than the previous instalment, prompting Show Director, Rob Skelton, to point to the broad variety of industry segments represented at the event. This year’s 400-plus exhibitors covered “every aspect” of the road transport, distribution and logistics industry, he confirmed – ranging from truck, van and trailer manufacturing, fork lift and load handling equipment, insurance, tyres, telematics, fuel and lubrication through to training.

Without touching on the delicate political subplot that is Britain’s affiliation with the EU and Ireland, Skelton emphasised that the 2018 CV Show was very much about setting the scene for the future evolution of road transport at large.

“Increasingly, the CV sector is leading the way in the development and use of technology to improve operational efficiency to make our roads safer and our environment greener,” he explained – adding that the event was able to showcase some of the “latest technological innovations” and advances in design, concentrating especially on flexible double-deck technology and urban transport solutions.

Echoing Skelton’s sentiments, Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said this year’s Show reflected the “huge amount of innovation” taking place in road transport to help operators get the most out of their fleets and deliver the “safest, most efficient and value-for-money” services. “From the latest advanced low-emission vehicles and driver-assistance systems to aftermarket products and logistics software solutions, the cutting-edge tech on display re-affirms the CV Show’s place at the heart of our industry,” he insisted.

In line with the overarching innovation theme, Northern Irish OEM, SDC Trailers, used the 2018 CV Show as a stage to unveil a new Hydraulic Lifting Deck Curtain-sider model, which has since been labelled one of the “most innovative, exciting and industry-changing trailers” on the UK market.

“The design of this trailer was one of the largest projects the engineers at SDC have worked on,” SDC CEO, Enda Cushnahan, revealed at the Show – explaining the unit not only featured a lightweight deck design suitable for 52-pallet operations – a new trend in the UK market that picked up pace in 2017 – but also a side-mounted wander lead installed for ease of operation and a multi-position ratchet deck system locking in increments of 120mm.
“We are always looking for solutions to meet the needs of operators…and we are very confident that this trailer is one of the most innovative and industry-changing trailers on the market today,” Cushnahan explained.
Awarded for innovation in April with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Transdek UK also aimed the at the 52-pallet double-deck market.

The company’s new ‘Fixed Double Deck Wedge’ can reportedly accommodate taller loads, including roll cages or pallets measuring up to 1862mm high, on both decks. To do so, Transdek integrated a distinctive, patented ‘kink’ in the chassis that adds additional height at the neck, allowing for extra volume and payload compared to the company’s standard powered deck model. The Wedge Trailer can also be fitted with V-Glide sash type rear doors – a patented feature developed for faster and safer loading and unloading.
Just 12 months after launching the brand’s first 52-pallet straight frame double deck trailer at the 2017 CV Show, Tiger Trailers also returned to the double-deck segment. In Birmingham, the OEM showcased a new, three-quarter length moving deck curtain-sider model.

“With 30 per cent of the company’s manufacturing output now double deck trailers, Tiger has built a wealth of experience in the sector,” the company explained.

Cheshire-based Cartwright Group also revealed a new multi-deck model, albeit with a lifting roof feature. Slated to go into production later in 2018, the prototype double-deck van trailer on show could reportedly accommodate up to 95 roll cages, as opposed to the standard 75, and achieve fuel savings of up to about five per cent.

“The benefits of a ‘lifting roof’ are considerable – operationally, environmentally and economically, with less fuel used as a result of less miles on the road and more pallets being carried,” the Cartwright Group announced at the Show. “The trailer is expected to appeal particularly to the parcels sector.”

Also showcased on the Cartwright stand was the company’s latest ‘Fleet Triaxle’ model, a tandem-axle double-deck trailer measuring only 4m in height. “The Fleet Triaxle is a significantly more aerodynamic version of the trailer that Cartwright first took to the CV Show three years ago, with a tapered chassis and a bowed roof that remains lower than the front bulkhead without compromising on inside space,” the OEM explained – pointing out that the trailer on show featured a changeable clip-on livery, allowing operators to display a new message on the side of the trailer each day.

Long-standing OEM, Don-Bur, meanwhile, put emphasis on the ongoing Longer Semi-Trailer (LST) trial with a new ‘low height’ model featuring a step-frame chassis. The new spec will be available in both sizes approved under the trial – 14.6m and 15.65m.

Catering to the industry’s increased interest in sustainability and aerodynamic efficiency, Gray & Adams’ CV Show stand included two new, temperature-controlled low-impact models: To reduce drag, the new ‘Ultra-low Carbon’ trailer featured a boat tail with slightly tapered side walls and a smooth underside, as well as large-radius panel cappings and side skirts. The Carrier Vector 1950 on board could also be powered electrically from compressed natural gas (CNG).

Built for high-profile Newmarket-based haulier, Turners, the Gray & Adams’ second 13.6m trailer boasted an aerodynamically efficient sloping rear roof profile and was fitted with a Thermo King SL Spectrum multi-temperature refrigeration unit.

Unfazed by a potential diplomatic ice-age post-Brexit, Kögel brought the new Cargo model to England and promoted the new Kögel trailer axle (KTA) at the CV Show, a captive axle series first launched at the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show.

According to the southern German OEM, the tare weight of the new Cargo range is up to 150kg lower than the previous generation, with the Coil model coming in at 6.65 tonnes, and the Rail version at 6.9 tonnes. Compared to the last generation, 435mm side members are now meant to generate additional payload by increasing internal height.

Also making its way from the mainland was French OEM, Chereau. Responding to fleet requirements for cleaner, more fuel-efficient road transport, the company unveiled its first new generation refrigerated semi-trailer to use Controller Area Network (CAN) bus technology. The aptly named ‘Chereau Next’ can boast systems that communicate with each other for the purpose of automating numerous functions and developing new ones while increasing comfort, efficiency and safety for European transport businesses.

“The process involves grouping the vehicle’s key components into a single network using sensors, enabling all the data relating to their use to be gathered at a single point, from which these components are able to interact,” according to Chereau. “Although, at a glance, the vehicle does not appear to have changed much, its multiplexed architecture has revolutionised everything.”

On the home delivery and urban mobility front, UK company, Paneltex, took the covers a range of new temperature-controlled body designs. Here, the 11.4m twin-axle dual compartment ‘Urban’ model took centre stage – boasting self-tracking rear axles as well as a Dearman undermount refrigeration unit with dual evaporators and a zero emission nitrogen expansion engine.

Also for the last mile market, Paneltex presented a special side-loading body kit for the Ford Transit. With a low access height, the unit doesn’t require a side step anymore, while the triple compartment body covers ambient, chilled and frozen goods in a single body.

With so much innovation on show, Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the UK Road Haulage Association, said that the CV Show has now well and truly become the barometer for an industry responsible for moving around 90 per cent of the UK economy – fuelled not only by local UK regulations, but European initiatives as well. At least for now.

“The constant flow of new legislation from Brussels, Westminster and the Mayor of London’s office means visitors….see that the sector no longer revolves around the truck,” he commented. “The traditional haulage enterprise is now equally reliant on vans and it’s great to see a range of smaller commercial vehicles among exhibitors.”

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