Strenx® high-strength structural steel helps trailers cut weight and move more freight

Librelato, a prominent Brazilian manufacturer of semi-trailers, produces grain trailers that weigh less, carry more, and meet tough demands thanks to Strenx® performance steel from SSAB.

It is Brazil’s third largest trailer manufacturer, one of the country’s fasting growing companies, and a winner of numerous industry awards. Strenx® performance steels are playing a key role in its growth success story.

How to cut weight and haul more freight
Brazil relies heavily on road transport – trucks transport over 60 percent of all cargo. However, many of its truck and trailer fleets need modernizing are overloaded and exceed limits for vehicle weight on the roads. To tackle these issues, meet the rising demand for transport solutions like grain trailers, and address environmental and safety concerns in the sector, forward-looking companies like Librelato are switching gears.

They rely on Strenx® performance steel to make semi-trailers that are both stronger and lighter than traditional vehicles. How is this done? With properties on par with structural steel, Strenx® steel is helping companies in the transport sector to safely reduce the weight of each trailer, ensure the highest product quality standards and extend service life.

New Pró-Nio grain trailer hauls 780 kg more payload than standard trailer
Librelato believes that only bold companies who invest in state-of-the-art technologies and provide a high level of manufacturing quality will succeed in meeting the market’s changing requirements.

Therefore, Librelato took an innovative leap and initiated a co-development project with SSAB and the Brazilian mining company CBMM, the world’s largest producer of niobium metal. All three companies were involved in every stage of the project, from concept definition, technical design, FMEA analyses, construction, prototype evaluation and field-testing, through to final validation and sales launch.

In October 2019, the project gave birth to Librelato’s new model of grain semi-trailers, the Pró-Nio. The 12.5-m (41 ft.), three-axle grain trailer, which features niobium in the steel formulation, allows the vehicle to take 780 kg (nearly 1,720 lbs.) more payload than a standard trailer. It is the lightest vehicle available in its category in the Brazilian market.

What do customers think?
“Market acceptance has exceeded expectations and sales have been successful,” said Marco Camargo, Chief Operating Officer of Librelato. “Niobium metal, when mixed with steel, makes the alloy much tougher – essential conditions for developing lighter and more robust products and therefore more efficient road transport. This is because the vehicle weight can be reduced while the payload is increased. As a result, greater profitability can be assured for transport operators in Brazil and South America.”

Double or triple the yield strength with high-strength steel
The Pró-Nio’s chassis and cross members use Strenx® 700MC, while the rear underrun protection device (RUPD) is built in Strenx® 960MC. Companies like Librelato are turning to higher-strength grades for improved strength and safety.

“The most common steels currently used in Brazil, which withstand 343 MPa (50 ksi), are being replaced by 700 MPa steels (101 ksi),” said Gilberto Leal, product application consultant at CBMM. “This means twice the strength. In the project, we also used materials that already reach 960 MPa (139 ksi), meaning almost three times tougher than those traditionally found in the segment. This all ensures greater strength and safety. Thanks to the design improvements, we also achieved greater rigidity with the new geometric measurements. And, we saw improvements in the production process so we could optimise equipment manufacture.”

Tougher on the road, gentler on the environment
Because of the trailer’s lower weight, higher load capacity and less steel used in its fabrication, an estimated 27-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions can be achieved over the product’s lifespan.

Using Strenx® performance steel in a new trailer design provides other benefits, too, like enhanced efficiency and higher availability – meaning higher profitability for the carrier in the long run.

Safety first: Strenx® steel in critical safety components in trucks and trailers
Safety is, of course, a major concern anywhere in the road transport sector. Moreover, when safety counts, Strenx® steel in a rear underrun protection device (RUPD) offers a solution that can help save lives.

An RUPD, often made in steel, is attached to the rear of a truck or trailer to prevent smaller vehicles from getting stuck underneath it during a rear-end collision. Stricter regulations for RUPDs from the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) as of 2019 will affect bodybuilders, vehicle owners and fleet managers. For example, heavy vehicles will need to withstand higher forces, have a lower ground clearance, and require tougher RUPDs.

So how can you meet these safety requirements without negatively influencing your transport capacity? SSAB’s technical experts will collaborate with you to create the best design for your particular vehicle using Strenx® high-strength steel in plate, tube or sheet. They will make sure your vehicle achieves the right balance of performance, cost and safety.

Do you want to gear up for the future? Learn more about how Strenx® 960 in RUPDs can be a safety game-changer. Alternatively, learn more about the benefits of Strenx® for your specific trailer type.

About SSAB

SSAB is a highly specialized global steel company develops high-strength steels and provides services for better performance and sustainability. It is a leading producer in the global market of Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS) and Quenched & Tempered Steels (Q&T).
Strenx® performance steel is SSAB´s high strength structural steel brand. It is called performance steel because it adds performance to trailers beyond ordinary structural steel.

SSAB has stood at the forefront of sustainability in many ways. With confidence deriving from our traditions, we now strive to do even more. SSAB’s plan is to offer fossil-fuel-free steel to the market in 2026 and to eliminate all of our CO2 emissions by 2045.

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