Trailer Innovation 2021 winners announced

The most innovative trailer and heavy vehicle component manufacturers of 2021 have received critical acclaim.

The Trailer Innovation competition, which has run annually since 2002, highlights tremendous achievements in the trailer and body building industry.

This year, according to the event organisers, 50 innovations from all over the world were reviewed by a panel of journalists from 16 European transport magazines.

The scope of this review encompasses smart, environmentally friendly solutions to complex vehicle concepts and systems. It also considered intelligent, lighter, durable, aerodynamic and economical characteristics.

The 2021 prize winners placed in seven categories: Body, Chassis, Components, Concept, Environment, Safety and Smart Trailer.

The winners received their awards via a live video transmission at the virtual commercial vehicle trade fair, MFB 2020.

The winners of Trailer Innovation 2021 are:


  1. Knapen (NL). Schubbodenauflieger Exside
  2. Kässbohrer (DE). Coil Swap Body K.SWAU.CC/45
  3. Schwarzmüller (AT). Doppelkeil-Tanksattel


  1. Scheuerle (DE). Rotor Blade Transport System
  2. Schwarzmüller (AT). Schubbodenauflieger mit Alu-Chassis
  3. BPW (DE). Light-Tube


  1. Kässbohrer (DE). RUPD-5K1
  2. D-Tec (NL). Extendable Side Protection
  3. Schmitz Cargobull (DE). S.KO Cool Smart


  1. Fliegl (DE). Swap Train
  2. Humbaur (DE). HTD Container Laxo
  3. Schmitz Cargobull (DE). Eco-Duo


  1. Schmitz Cargobull (DE). S.KO mit E-Achse
  2. Emons (NL). Solar-On-Top
  3. Van Eck Trailers (NL). Smart rollerbed vehicles


  1. Krone (DE). Light Safety Sandwich Floor
  2. Schmitz Cargobull (DE). Trailer-Connect-Türverschlusssystem
  3. Schwarzmüller (AT). Electric roller tarpaulin

Smart Trailer

  1. Thermo King (IE). Advancer A-Series
  2. Kässbohrer (DE). Advanced Driver Assistance System
  3. Feldbinder (DE). Silosattelauflieger mit SSCH

Netherlands-based OEM, Knapen Trailers, won first place in Body for its Exside design which was deemed revolutionary as a new, superior concept to all existing moving floor trailers with side doors.

“The jury praised the increase in loading width and the liftable upper-rail above the side doors which creates an impressive 300mm extra working height,” Knapen said in a statement. “We would like to thank the jury very much for this wonderful recognition.”

The RotorBladeTransportSystem (RBTS) from SCHEUERLE, a company of the Transporter Industry International Group (TII Group) of the german Rettenmaier family of entrepreneurs, took first place in the Chassis category of the Trailer Innovation Award.

This means that the highly innovative transport system for rotor blades can now bear the prestigious title ‘Trailer Innovation 2021’.

On behalf of the jury, Philipp Boenders from the trade journal KFZ-Anzeiger praised the innovative concept of the RBTS, which allows rotor blades to be transported safely and in compliance with the law.

“It is easy and quick to load, thanks to the innovative wind vane intake, which can be used according to the plug-and-play principle,” explained Boenders at the award ceremony.

Therefore, transport with the RBTS saves the vehicle operator time and money. Moreover, it is multifunctional due to its intelligent design. It can safely accommodate rotor blades from different manufacturers and even versions with more than 80 metres length. The large stroke of the robust pendulum axle chassis also enables the RBTS to safely travel off-road, as is common on the way to wind farms.

German OEM, Schmitz Cargobull, took our first place in the Environment category with its S.KO box body semi-trailer with electronically controlled generator axle and S.CUe cooling unit.

“With this environmentally-friendly alternative drive system, Schmitz Cargobull makes an important contribution to CO2 reduction and takes responsibility for optimised ecological transport and logistics concepts,” said Roland Klement, Board Member for Research & Development at Schmitz Cargobull.

“We see this award as confirmation of our forward-looking technology and many years of industry expertise,” he said.

With this vehicle, Schmitz Cargobull has developed an equipment concept that will make a significant contribution to reducing pollutant emissions. The electrically-powered S.CUe cooling unit with integrated power electronics omits a combustion engine, and is designed to cool and heat without generating any emissions. Instead of a diesel tank, batteries are now installed on the landing gear. In addition, the system is equipped with an electrified Schmitz Cargobull trailer axle, which recuperates energy during braking, for example, reducing the time required to recharge the battery via mains power.

Schmitz Cargobull also placed in other categories.

For example, the TrailerConnect door locking system took an excellent second place in the Safety category. This ensures that the goods are protected against unauthorised access. Via the TrailerConnect portal, users can define loading and unloading locations where the door locking system automatically unlocks the trailer on arrival or locks it when leaving.

In the Components category, the new air distribution system in the S.KO COOL SMART box body semi-trailer took third place. Preventing ‘heat nests’ and simplifying handling to improve efficiency in everyday transport were the primary goals.

Schmitz Cargobull won a further third place in the Concept category with its EcoDuo transport concept, which has already won multiple awards. The EcoDuo system comprises two standard curtainsider semi-trailers connected via a dolly trailer and coupled to a tractor unit. With this vehicle combination, Schmitz Cargobull is advocating for the Europe-wide introduction of a transport concept that reduces the demands on existing infrastructure, reduces CO2 emissions and takes into account current transport industry standards.

“We are very proud of all of the placings as they show that we are the leading trailer manufacturer when it comes to reliable transport solutions and innovations and that we are working on the right mobility concepts and innovative vehicle solutions to extensively support and continue advancing future transport and logistics activities for our customers with our products and services,” said Schmitz Cargobull CEO, Andreas Schmitz.

Netherlands-based OEM, Van Eck, placed third in the Environment category with its Smart Rollerbed Vehicles with New Modular Loading Unit (NMLU). This design is a new concept that focuses on fast automated loading and cargo security. Van Eck said NMLUs present loading capacity increase of about 20 per cent and overall system efficiency gains of 50 per cent.

Kässbohrer also scored a number of victories in this competition.

The OEM won the Component category with its Multifunctional rear underrun protection device, RUPD-5K1. This device features secure and foldable design advantages. It can also be adjusted at different positions while fulfilling its protection task in accordance with CE.R58.003 Regulation for the Type Approval and providing solutions to operational efficiency in 5 different operations, preventing docking, ferry, intermodal, discharge and tyre change problems.

The company secured second place in Body with its first and only 45′ Coil Swap Body K.SWAU CC and also placed second in Smart Trailer with K-ADAS, Kässbohrer Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (KDAS)

The K.SWAU CC presents an integrated coil well and is developed for intermodal coil transport all made possible by its innovative chassis design with total capacity of 30 tonnes. The tests performed during the development have proven safer swap designs and resulting design changes are now the technical requirements for UIC 592/IRS 50592 and IRS 50596-5 certification mandatory for all swap bodies.

K-ADAS makes a difference with its four features composed of seven technologies of which more than 50 per cent is new to the trailer industry and are compatible with existing truck ADAS systems, contributing to the development of the smart trailer that will be necessary when fully autonomous driving becomes standard.

German OEM, Krone, received the Trailer Innovation 2021 award in the Safety category for its Light Safety Sandwich Floor.

The jury was convinced by the new foamed floor, which comprises high-strength special foam with stabilising GRP top layers. For example, the 30mm thick Light Safety Sandwich Floor has a coefficient of sliding friction of about µ = 0.6 (when loaded with a wooden pallet). The new floor also saves time and money, as the driver does not have to lay out any additional anti-slip materials or can dispense with the lashing equipment that would otherwise be necessary. Krone recommends the use of the new Light Safety Sandwich Floor especially for open building material trailers.

By using the new floor, Krone was able to achieve a weight saving of around 100kg on the vehicle, which means an increase in payload. In addition, swelling of the core (as is the case with wooden floors) is avoided; likewise, detachment of the coating is prevented – both factors stand for a long service life.

Thermo King Europe, Middle East and Africa, Francesco Incalza, is thrilled by this response to the company’s vision for the future of trailer refrigeration.

“With Advancer, we have created a trailer refrigeration unit that features innovations never before seen on the market,” said Incalza. “A completely new architecture that incorporates the expectations of our customers along with decades of Thermo King’s knowledge and experience.”

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