From vision to innovation

Founded in 1912, Van Eck Trailers has a strong tradition of innovative logistics solutions which is communicated by its ‘Trailer Made’ slogan. Located in Beesd — in the Gelderland Province of the Netherlands — the company started its operations originally in Lexmond, with wheelbarrows and wagons. More than a century old, Van Eck’s product range started to diversify over the years, from truck bodies to minibuses in the mid-1950s to lighter weight semi-trailers in the early 1970s. By 2003, Van Eck started to build the double deck trailers and expanded its product range with long heavy vehicles (LHV). 

Today, Van Eck summarises its vision as to be the leader for innovation and customer-specific transport solutions with sustainability as its driving force. The company’s management aim to make a substantial contribution to more efficient, sustainable and safer transportation in Europe. Consequently, each customer order is perceived as a unique assignment which bear new challenges and opportunities. To provide the best available transport solution for the customer, Van Eck bundles all its accumulated expertise of custom specialty trailers to explore new possibilities.

In line with the company’s vision, Van Eck Sales Manager, René Oome, describes the customer experience as the following: “The most important advice that has been given to me by Hans van Eck is to listen very carefully to the customer to understand their transport challenges in order to find the best trailer to suit their needs. As a specialist in custom builds there is always more than one solution. With this knowledge and our engineering teams’ years of experience, the customer can take advantage of the best solution”.

At the heart of ‘green innovation’
As Van Eck positions itself as an innovation leader in its segment, it benefits from Dutch Government’s progressive climate action plans. In June 2019, the Dutch government announced its climate agreement which in detail lay outs its plans for a 30 per cent decrease in carbon emissions by 2030. 

“The agreement is based on the principle that reducing carbon emissions must be feasible and affordable for everyone,” as reported in our market report on The Netherlands. “The government, therefore, seeks a cost-efficient transition that limits the financial impact on households as much as possible and implements measures to fairly distribute the financial burden between citizens and businesses. Another key element of the deal is that the Netherlands makes optimal use of available time until 2050.”

Concerning the logistics sector, the Dutch Government plans to create zero-emissions zones in 3,040 municipalities with a necessary incentive mechanism to encourage the integration of zero-emissions technology. 

These plans pose new challenges, as well as opportunities for trailer manufacturers, but Van Eck is remarkably well-positioned to overcome these challenges for the benefit of its customers. 

Van Eck’s Head of Research and Development, Ton Bertens emphasises that Van Eck’s main focus is to maximise the load factor by the optimal usage of the trailer volume – consequently to decrease the trips needed to carry a certain amount of goods. 

“The load efficiency improvements and new innovations can increase the load factor of a trailer up to 60 per cent, which results in a linear decrease in carbon dioxide emissions,” said Bertens. “Our double deck trailer is a good example of our approach. The design can carry 54 euro pallets, which results in the reduction of CO2 emissions by 40 to 50 per cent. Just another example would be the long vehicle we have exhibited on the last IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in 2018. Our long vehicle can carry three units of C745 type swap bodies in one vehicle instead of 2 units which again decreases the CO2 emissions by 50 per cent.”

Another advantage of Van Eck in terms of adopting the new technologies is that Van Eck itself takes an active role in the European Union’s research and innovation programs such as Transformers and Aeroflex.  

For the Transformers project, Van Eck designed the Volume Optimised Trailer with all the available aero dynamic features and with a fully automated roof, which adapts itself to the height of the cargo. When the height of the cargo is low, the roof comes down, and the trailer transforms itself to an optimal teardrop shape. Also, the inner length of the trailer has been enlarged to make it always possible to load 34 pallets in one shipment. Last but not least, the flexible double deck floor has been developed in the Transformers project. The flexible double deck floor can double the number of pallets per shipment but when it isn’t used, the trailer transforms itself back to a standard trailer.

The Aeroflex Project is committed to the study of the best configurations of a long vehicle to meet the goals of CO2 reduction as defined by the EU. Bertens, who is also the designer of the E dolly concept, summarises Van Eck’s contribution to Aeroflex as the following: “Now we are entering the era of longer and smarter vehicles. Van Eck developed the first E dolly, a dolly with electro motor that can recuperate braking energy and can feed it back to the vehicle. First field tests will be done end of this year with a potential of saving up to 15 per cent in CO2 emissions. A side advantage of the E dolly is that it can, with zero emissions, navigate the trailer over the yard at the warehouse, so the truck can do what it is made for, drive over roads. Furthermore, as part of the project, a new software has been developed to be able to optimally load a trailer to the limit. A new cargo cam is integrated that measures the volume of the cargo to optimise the loading space of the double floor capacity.”

Product range
As a fully-fledged partner in transport solutions, Van Eck’s transport solutions are used in a diverse general transport operations. Embodying from foam and race car transportation to airport and retailer applications, Van Eck product range consists of five categories. 
The first category is Eckstreme Series, comprised of double deck trailer applications which stand out with their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) performance. With 60 per cent more loading capacity, Van Eck double deck trailers enable the operator to save on every kilometre while reducing the CO2 emissions. Eckstreme series are available as box, refrigerated box, with 2 or 3 axles, with inner lift or movable platform to make best out of the available loading capacity. 

Van Eck has an extensive experience in long heavy vehicle segment since the Netherlands allowed LHV in 2012.  Named as Ecko Combi Series, Van Eck can build LHVs with up to 25.25 meter length and maximum 60-tonne total weight. Furthermore, Van Eck can offer various truck and trailer combinations, with or without tail lift, according to specific customer transportation need and the goods to be carried.

The Eckcellent Series include box and FRC certified trailers which are customised according to the specific loads. Eckpress Series Air-cargo segment features state of the art Van Eck roller-beds. The very special vehicles such as built as an airport equipment or foam press trailer are segmented as Eckspert Series. Each of these special trailers pushes the boundaries of conventional trailer engineering and demonstrates Van Eck’s resourcefulness.

Fast Fact
In April 2019, Van Eck Trailers has become part of Talson Trailers. The core team continues its activities from the headquarters in Beesd, while Hans van Eck continues to support the company as a Board Member.

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