Economy of scale

The Transporter Industry International Group (TII Group) is a globally operating manufacturer of heavy duty and special purpose vehicles, specialising in the movement of heavy goods and other exceptionally large-scale freight. It produces vehicles for use in logistics yards, industrial areas as well as public roads, supporting a broad portfolio of industries from plant construction to shipbuilding to mining. The company includes SCHEUERLE (Germany), NICOLAS (France), KAMAG (Germany) and TIIGER (India).

The business is ‘globally active’ and has service and sales offices throughout Europe, China, Russia, North America – everywhere. TII Group’s range of vehicles are operated in more than 80 countries worldwide and claims to have produced in total more than 50,000 axle lines of which 20,000 were for its Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT).

The innovative SPMT is a multi-axle platform that can lift, carry and shift just about anything a typical truck-trailer combination is not capable of from a 300-tonne gas turbine to a 15,000-tonne offshore platform.

This modern engineering marvel is a product of SCHEUERLE which in 1869 was founded as a blacksmith’s forge in the town of Pfedelbach. Several decades later, by 1937, grandson Willy SCHEUERLE brought the humble smithy into a modern age of vehicle production and established a production hall on the outskirts of the town. Currently, this factory serves as the OEM’s headquarters.

Of course, transport technology continues to adapt to the ever-demanding industries in which TII Group serves. In more recent times, electronic multi-directional steering made possible with the latest generations of the SPMT design contributes to its success as SCHEUERLE’s best-selling vehicle.

With such a robust, versatile method of transportation, it did not take long for TII Group to receive official recognition for setting records.

In 1987, the OEM confirms the Goliath modular transporter combination transported a petrochemical plant facility weighing more than 2,000 tonnes.  SCHEUERLE’s first entry in the Guinness Book of Records was through a road transport of 1,800 tonnes in the same year. By 1989, SCHEUERLE set a new world record through an offroad transport assignment carrying 6,500 tonnes and moving 5,000 tonnes in 1990 for the heaviest road transport.

The company’s engineers continued to achieve milestone after milestone. In 1991, they constructed what was at the time the world’s largest side girder deck with a span of 43 metres and a monoblock ship section lift transporter – the world’s heaviest payload on a single vehicle: 700 tonnes. In 1994, the record for the heaviest off-road transport was now 11,000 tonnes. In 2004, the best-selling SPMT set the record for an off-road transport with the transportation of an oil and gas platform weighing 14,350 tonnes on 500 axle lines. The salvage of the Sewol Ferry in 2017 marked the last world record to be set. In the process, the modular vehicles of the SPMT and K24 series moved 17,280 tonnes.

KAMAG, which has been a part of TII Group since 2004, attained international acclaim in 1979 for accepting a challenging contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The US space agency required transport solutions for the movement of individual rocket components which were not only highly sensitive but had also to be positioned extremely precisely and with millimetre accuracy. Since then, the US space agency has repeatedly placed orders with KAMAG, for example, to move service towers for the launch pad at Cape Caneveral.

TII Group has been honing its PowerBooster technology which comes in the form of an auxiliary unit for additional thrust. PowerBooster models are equipped with shiftable drive axles and can be towed at 80 km/h, or if required, can be driven by a shiftable PowerPack Unit (PPU).

These units can serve a range of applications such as a pusher machine. Prior to attempting to traverse a critical incline, the vehicle operator can activate the drive unit – as soon as the tractor/prime mover no longer has sufficient power to manage the gradient (i.e. the speed drops below 14km/h) the PPU drive starts automatically and provides additional power. Once the incline is overcome, the additional drive is automatically switched off and the speed can be increased again in accordance with the road conditions.

A PowerBooster can also be used as part of a trailer combination in normal road traffic or even for in-plant assignments where the vehicle can be uncoupled from the tractor and controlled as a self-propelled transport combination by means of a mobile control unit complete with remote control.

Through this, the hydrostatic drive, lifting and lowering function, hydraulic steering, braking system as well as the electrical power supply are then controlled. Small, manoeuvrable and extremely flexible according to TII Group.

For internal transport operations, it is possible to couple mechanically side-by-side. Due to the wider support base, loads with a high centre of gravity can be safely transported, while end-to-end mechanical coupling is suitable for extremely long combinations (with or without decks). A PowerBooster in this configuration can be used at the front of the tractor and at the rear as a pusher machine.

Executive interview with Dr Gerald Karch

Q: Firstly, congratulations on your appointment in June 2018 as the new TII Group CEO. Did you enter the role with any specific goals or ideas in mind?
A: My major goal is to add value to our customers and make their lives easier with innovative solutions. My team and I do this by strategically developing our leading position in heavy and specialised transport. We also develop the potential of our well-established and reputable brands. This contributes to the growth of the value of the company. As a family owned mid-size company of the ‘German Mittelstand’, we will continue our success story by tapping the potential of new technologies such as digitalisation for our customers and our company.

Q: Do you have any comments to share regarding Group performance for 2019?

A: For 2019, we are very satisfied with our performance so far. The first two quarters have been better than expected and better than planned. Earlier this year, we were named the world market leader for heavy duty vehicles with hydraulic pendulum axles. So, all in all, it’s been a good year so far.

Q: SCHEUERLE celebrates 150 years of innovation in 2019 while KAMAG celebrates its 50th anniversary. Do you have any comments about these key business milestones?

A: Both companies SCHEUERLE and KAMAG are pioneers in modern heavy-duty transport and are world leaders in their respective segments. Both are family-owned businesses that are known worldwide for their innovative heavy-duty transport solutions. Groundbreaking innovations such as the hydraulically supported pendulum axle and the self-propelled modular SPMT have given SCHEUERLE a unique reputation. The swap body carrier of KAMAG named ‘Wiesel’ (german for weasel) is a well-known brand of its own. I’m proud to celebrate these milestones with all colleagues. That success has been created by the loyal and highly skilled staff of our group. SCHEUERLE and KAMAG belong to the german TII Group (Transporter Industry International), that is owned by the family of founder Otto Rettenmaier. Looking to the future, SCHEUERLE and KAMAG will continue to develop new innovative products and smart solutions for our customers.

Q: Has TII Group changed under your leadership? Do you work closely with owner Otto Rettenmaier?

A: As a family owned business with a high engagement of the owners it is essential to work closely together. I personally enjoy this cooperation very much. TII Group currently is realigning itself as part of our strategy to adapt the companies’ offerings to the ever-changing needs of the markets. One element of the strategy is the streamlining of the production concept into an integrated setup that covers all our four brands SCHEUERLE, KAMAG, NICOLAS and TIIGER. Another important element is the development of new products – we have introduced many innovations recently: the new Rotor Blade Transport System, the EuroCompact – a one of its kind low bed semi-trailer and the new generation of Wiesel. We will continue to adapt our product portfolio to the current and future needs of our customers.

Q: Can you comment on any production numbers or milestones achieved in 2019?
A: This year marks many milestones for us. At the transport logistics show in Munich, we introduced the all-new Wiesel. We designed a tailor-made cabin for it and provided our Wiesel with an engine that meets future emission regulations. At Bauma we proudly presented our new solutions for the wind industry: the rotor blade adapter ‘Blade Lifter’ and the rotor blade transport system ‘Blade Runner’ for current rotor blades of up to 80m in length. The Blade Runner has been designed to even transport future rotor blades of up to and above 100m.

Q: Is there any particular product in high demand at the moment?
A: Our product portfolio is vast. We offer transport vehicles from a payload of 32 tonnes to over 17,000 tonnes and serve as diverse industries as construction, airports, oil and gas exploration, shipyards, logistic hubs, metallurgy plants. Even spaceships and huge satellite dishes are transported on our vehicles.

Q: TII Group supplies transport solutions in four distinct segments (transport vehicles for on-road applications and Gross Vehicle Weight < 100 tonnes; > 100 tonnes; 100 tonnes / modular transport; industry vehicles and special vehicles; and logistics vehicles via Wiesel swap body transporter). Are there any major projects over the years that you are most proud of? Why?
A: The TII Group holds the current world record – over 17,000 tonnes – for transporting extremely heavy goods by vehicle. What we are also really proud of is the fact that our vehicles are operated in many ‘cool’ applications and sites: in Peru at elevation 6000m, in Siberia at -40°C, all over Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia. In mines, at airports, at shipyards, even in the air and space industry.

Q: The hydraulic pendulum axle was first introduced in 1957. Today, SCHEUERLE is a market leader in the Self Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT). Do you have any comments about the SPMT market?
A: We invented the SPMT. It completely changed the transport sector. SPMT are used for many different applications: plant construction, mining, aerospace industry, shipbuilding industry, wind energy industry, construction of large bridges and tunnels. Due to the project character or the business the market is quite volatile. At the moment sales of SPMT is above our expectations.

Q: Are there any recent product innovations you would like to discuss?
A: Indeed, many of our products are unique. Like the Wiesel for example. In Central Europe, it has become an indispensable element of efficient yard logistics since its market launch in the 1970s. It increased the efficiency of yard logistics. No wonder that many leading logistic hubs and e-commerce companies rely on the Wiesel.

Q: What is TII Group doing to ensure a sustainably successful future?
A: The key of sustainable success is to add value to our customers. Listening to their needs and combining those needs with our technological competency leads to real innovations. In parallel, we have to do our homework to improve the efficiency of our internal processes. Delivering an excellent service, improving the speed in reacting to customer demands are two examples of fields we are working on.

Q: Do you have any other comments you would like to share?
A: I’m happy and proud to guide our company with extremely engaged and loyal staff into the future.

Vestas orders transport systems from SCHEUERLE

Danish wind turbine company, Vestas, ordered nine wind blade transport systems from Germany’s SCHEUERLE, part of Transporter Industry International (TII Group) earlier this year.

The vehicle system was jointly developed by Vestas and SCHEUERLE and debuted at Bauma 2019. The future-proof series solution is tailor-made for the transport of the latest generation of wind blades.

“Together with our partners from SCHEUERLE, we have developed this new transport solution to improve our ability to transport our longest blades over large distances in a flexible and cost-efficient way,” said Vestas Head Specialist WTCC Product Critical Functions Engineering, Kim Bredo Rahbek. “This solution is the result of our constant effort to challenge and rethink our current logistic setup to develop new technologies that help drive the industry forward.”

The system comprises a two-axle jeep dolly with a free-turning device and a four-axle trailer. The mounting of the wind blade works according to the ‘Plug and Play’ principle. Unlike conventional systems, the TII solution only requires a few tools. With a special lifting device, the wing root is picked up comfortably from the ground. The quick coupling solution consists of a root adapter and a root frame. The free-turning device is pre-assembled on the latter, and then the frame with root is coupled to the adapter in the twinkling of an eye.

Compared to conventional vehicle types, the new combination has maximum manoeuvrability and guarantees a high level of safety for the load. The intelligent arrangement of joints in the bearings ensures gentle transport of the sensitive rotor blade. With the help of a simple plug-in connection, a manufacturer-independent friction clamp can be fitted to accommodate the wind blade at the rear end.

The new vehicle combination offers maximum flexibility on bumpy roads or obstacles on the road. The lifting height can be varied up to two metres at the front and up to one metre at the rear end of the vehicle.

An economic plus: for return transports, all parts can be shortened to a compact semi-trailer combination with a total length of only 16,500mm and a weight of less than 60 tonnes – eliminating the need for special permits for return transport.

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