Trailer Innovation 2023 award winners revealed

A total of 67 innovations from 35 participants were reviewed by an elite jury for Trailer Innovation 2023 this year.

The winners of the 2023 Trailer Innovation have been revealed.

The Trailer Innovation competition, which started in 2002, is a bi-annual event which generally coincides with IAA events. Most of the registrations for Trailer Innovation reportedly came in just before the end of June.

‘Trailer Innovation’, according to organisers of the competition, is the most important award for the European trailer world.

Europe’s trailer and supplier experts compete in seven categories – ‘Body’, ‘Chassis’, ‘Components’, ‘Concept’, ‘Environment’, ‘Safety’ and ‘Smart Trailer’ – to put the best and most useful innovations for towed and mounted units in the spotlight.

The results of Trailer Innovation 2023:

BODY

  1. TMT Tank & Trailers (IT), Container Moving Floor.
  2. Xbond (DE), Steel swap body XB1212.
  3. Contle Oy (FI), Container lifting device for hook lift vehicles.

CHASSIS

  1. Krone (DE), Box Liner eLTU 50 full automatic.
  2. VDL Weweler & D-Tec (NL), chassis connection air suspension.
  3. Schmitz Cargobull (DE), Ferry underride protection.

COMPONENTS

  1. Van Eck Trailers (NL), Container Locker System.
  2. MB Pneumatyka (PL), Pneumatic fittings.
  3. VDL Weweler (NL), air suspension system MBS OMEGA.

CONCEPT

  1. Langendorf (DE), box trailer City Flexliner.
  2. Krone (DE), eTrailer.
  3. OKT Trailer (TR), Aerodynamic Foodstuff Trailer.

ENVIRONMENT

  1. Schmitz Cargobull (DE), S.CS Eco Flex with Power Curtain and Eco Pack.
  2. Sono Motors (DE), solar vehicle integrated photovoltaics.
  3. Thermo King & BPW (IE & DE), Axlepower System.

SAFETY

  1. Kögel (DE), Blind spot turning warner.
  2. Kässbohrer (DE), Retrofit trailer safety system.
  3. Wielton (PL ), Container Master 20 SL.

SMART TRAILER

  1. Lamberet (FR), LCV Lamberet Control by Voice.
  2. Carrier (FR), trailer refrigeration unit Vector HE 17.
  3. SAF-Holland (DE), spare parts identification via NFC technology.

The Trailer Innovation jury this year comprised journalists from 14 European transport magazines.

TMT Tank & Trailers claims to be the first Italian company to win a Trailer Innovation award in the ‘Body’ category.

“Our administrators Alfredo and Gianluca Spinozzi are happy to receive this award during IAA Transportation,” TMT said in a statement.

The OEM was recognised for its high cube and open top pallet Container Moving Floor which features high yield strength steel.

Transporting bulk materials in rotation with palletised cargo, grouped or mixed cargo and partial loads makes for a versatile semi-trailer.

In second place for ‘Body’, the XB1212 from XBond represents a new era in swap systems.

Full galvanisation ensures a robust build and sustainable corrosion protection for low maintenance and repair costs with high resale value. Also, the two-shell construction of all wall and door elements is ideal for effective dent resistance.

Krone was awarded first place in the Trailer Innovation ‘Chassis’ category for the Box Liner eLTU 50 Traction Automatic.

The key feature of the innovative Box Liner Automatic is the automated pre-settings option. The driver can conveniently initiate the setting of the container chassis for the container transported by pressing a button on the remote control from the truck cab.

The Krone Box Liner eLTU 50 Automatic is the first multifunctional gooseneck chassis to feature automated operation at this level.

It opens up a new dimension of user-friendliness, combined with improved process times in the terminal as well as in the depot. It also saves a considerable amount of time for each container lift operation, which in turn significantly lowers costs for the operator. For the port drayage, the efficiency is expected to increase by about ten percent. This makes it possible to replace six trailers with conventional container chassis with five trailers with the Box Liner Automatic.

Compared to the standard procedure, the new Box Liner Automatic technology from Krone represents a quantum leap. All of the previously required manual activities performed by the driver to adjust the container chassis are now a thing of the past. For the driver, this not only represents reduced physical strain, but also significant safety improvements.

Meanwhile, in the ‘Concept’, the Krone eTrailer took out second place.

The Krone eTrailer reduces diesel consumption and CO2 emissions of the tractor unit by 20 to 40 percent.

In third place for ‘Components’, VDL Weweler wowed the jury with its new MBS OMEGA range which features the lightest 9/10-tonne air suspension in the European market.

As for ‘Chassis’, the MBS OMEGA ‘BLADE’ hanger bracket solution, which VDL Weweler submitted together with Dutch trailer builder, D-TEC, came in second place.

“These awards are a recognition of our continued commitment to providing the market with innovative solutions that optimise chassis construction, reduce overall trailer weight and therefore CO2 emissions,” VDL Weweler said in a statement.

Schmitz Cargobull, once again, secured first place in the ‘Environment’ category with the aerodynamic curtainsider S.CS EcoFLEX with POWER CURTAIN and Eco Pack, a vehicle from the EcoGeneration series.

“With the S.CS EcoFLEX curtainsider, we have brought a vehicle onto the market that makes a considerable contribution to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in road haulage,” said Andreas Schmitz, CEO of Schmitz Cargobull.

“The ‘Trailer Innovation 2023’ award recognises our ongoing work to innovate.

“We accept the challenge of offering our customers solutions for sustainable transport that are not only practical but also pay off for the customer.”

Schmitz Cargobull successfully launched the aerodynamic curtainsiders of the EcoGeneration last year. In practical use, customers have achieved fuel savings of more than 5.0 per cent with these vehicles.

The EcoFLEX with its liftable rear can now also be equipped with the slatless POWER CURTAIN body and the Eco Pack – an aerodynamic stowage box whose design optimises air flow and realises further fuel savings. The Eco Pack provides storage space for spare wheels, pallets and load securing equipment.

The latest award for the aerodynamic Schmitz Cargobull EcoGeneration vehicles follows other accolades such as the ‘German Sustainability Award Design 2022’ and the ‘European Transport Award for Sustainability 2022’.

In the ‘Chassis’ category, the new Schmitz Cargobull Ferry underride guard secured third place.

Vehicle configurations with low tyres, which are often used in combined transport, sometimes lead to damage to the rear of the unit when handling vehicles on the railway, ferry or at unfavourable ramp angles.

To protect them, Schmitz Cargobull has developed the Ferry underride guard with sliding rollers, which fulfils the high requirements of the ECE R58.03 underride guard directive.

In the event of contact, the sliding rollers allow the vehicle to roll and, together with the shock absorbers in the underride guard arm, prevent severe damage to the chassis or add-on parts such as lighting supports. In this way, the new underride guard also contributes to lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for customers.

First place in the ‘Component’ category for Trailer Innovation 2023 was Van Eck for its Container Locker System.

It is designed for the safe and secure transportation of roll containers, most efficiently and sustainably transported with Van Eck’s signature Twindeck vehicles, the innovation award winner in 2005.

Van Eck designed, tested, and finalised a most practical, flexible low-cost device, the Container Locker System that addresses partial loading, load security problems, and their subsequent cost, time, and operational health and safety results.

Previously on the prestigious Trailer Innovation Awards, Van Eck was third in 2005 with its signature Twindeck Trailer, second in 2011 in the ‘Body’ category with its Eckspressive Air Cargo Trailer, and third in 2021 in the ‘Environment’ category with its Smart Rollerbed Vehicles with NMLU (New Modular Loading Unit).

The transportation of goods in roll containers is an efficient method used in the Benelux region and DACH region for a variety of goods such as postal services, laundries, retail, and flower transportation. Roll containers are loaded in all types of box trailers as well as Van Eck signature Twindeck trailers that present 60 per cent more loading capacity.

As Van Eck prioritises not only manufacturing the highest quality long-lasting and least carbon footprint solutions for their customers’ unique transport challenges, it equally develops systems for safe and efficient loading and unloading of goods as well as safety of the cargo.

During operations, the ideal loading of roll containers would fill up the trailer entirely with load securing via security bars at the end of trailers, already designed and built as the trailer is initially designed. However, customers’ operations may require partial flexible loading was already designed and built-in load securing mechanisms would fail short to provide security.

When partially loaded roll containers are not secured and move freely within the trailer knocking on each other and side panels, they damage goods loaded in the roll containers, damage the side walls without risk to road safety, they damage the roll containers themselves. The damages result in, operational inefficiency and extra costs of goods replacement, repair costs of the trailers as well as declining second-hand value, and replacement cost of damaged roll containers.

Van Eck Container Locker System is a light, long-lasting practical solution that accommodated all variations of partial loading of load containers and does not require training or extensive experience to operate.
The Container Locker System is made of light and durable aluminium, and has 800mm in length and 100mm x 100mm (width x depth), and weighs 3.0kg each. The Container Locker System consists of two units of telescopic rods, in combination with a square beam that secures the roll container blocks by less than 10. The maximum amount of roll containers for a box trailer is 44. Van Eck’s Container Locker System works even for 43 roll containers.

Poland-based manufacturer, MB Pneumatyka, secured second place in the ‘Components’ category for its pneumatic fittings.

“The distinction of our products in this year’s edition of the Trailer Innovation competition is extremely important to us,” the company said in a statement, emphasising its connectors which are used to connect the installations of pneumatic trailers. “These have been fitted with double-sided main seals, the tightness of which can be turned 180 degrees in case of use or loss of the main seal. The solution allows the connection to be twice as long. Couplings also have an initial filtration system, which increases the life of the main filter and prolongs the life of the connector. Equipped with by-pass couplings in case the filter is clogged ensure that the connectors continue to work. Users of the new solution get greater safety of their vehicles and the ability to respond faster to existing and possible malfunctions on the route.”

First place for ‘Concept’ was Langendorf’s double-deck internal loader, the City Flexliner.

Langendorf has been developing, producing and selling Innenlader trailers for 40 years. The Flexliner supplements the product range with a double-deck Innenlader, which convinces with its two loading levels as well as the innovative independent wheel suspension, which makes it possible to use the space between the axles.

Up to 66 per cent more cargo can thus be transported with just one vehicle. The Long-Range Flexliner, which Langendorf developed a few years ago, was perfectly designed for hub-to-hub logistics with its three axles.

At IAA Transportation, Langendorf presented a new version of the double-deck internal loader, which is adapted to the cramped and heavily frequented urban rail transport.

Thanks to its two-axle design and steered axles, the new City Flexliner is more manoeuvrable and, thanks to a special lift system, does not require any additional loading ramps on the part of the delivery point.

Due to the larger usable area, more cargo can be transported with a double-decker Innenlader, which not only saves costs for fuel, tolls and personnel, but also reduces CO2 consumption by 60 per cent. Thus, two Flexliners can replace three conventional semi-trailers and additionally relieve the traffic volume. No special permits are required, neither for the short version with a length of 11,000mm or for the long version of the Flexliner with a total length of 16,500mm.

“We see it as our responsibility to help shape the future, and this includes issues such as the use of natural resources and the adaptation of logistical processes,” said Langendorf Managing Director, Dr Klaus Strautmann.

“The Flexliner paves the way to a greener logistics and transport industry.”

OKT Trailer’s new generation Aerodynamic Foodstuff Tanker secured third place in the ‘Concept’ category.

It reduces air friction while driving with its design lines. The most important feature that OKT Trailer wants to impress its customers is its easy-to-use products. The herringbone rear spoiler is designed with a form to transmit the wind to the rear so that the on-vehicle equipment does not disturb the aerodynamic structure and under-vehicle diffuser channels. Bumper air outlets increase road holding by reducing the air pressure as well.

Aiming to achieve a user-friendly and perfect fit for its driver, the tanker aims to help reduce carbon emissions by providing fuel savings to the truck due to its aerodynamic structure. With its unique features in its design, its technology and its unique appearance makes the award-winning tanker one of the most popular models of the trailer industry while it’s emphasising the outstanding features of its class.

Munich-based solar mobility OEM, Sono Motors, was recognised for its solar vehicle integrated photovoltaics across buses, electric transporters and refrigerated vehicles.

The company’s innovative solar technology has been engineered to enable seamless integration into a variety of vehicle architectures and even curved surfaces like a bus roof shoulder for example. For cargo box type vehicles Sono Motors is developing flexible and lightweight sandwich panel body parts that ensure seamless integration and optimal heat-distribution.

For the first time at a public event, Sono Motors also presented the in-house developed solar charge controller, the MCU (MPPT Central Unit).

The MCU has an intelligent algorithm that optimises the PV modules’ energy yields.

Work less, do more, with Johann Strasser of Wingliner.

Austria-based manufacturer, Wingliner, also produced a solar trailer specifically for IAA Transportation with foldable hydraulic side walls. It featured 16 modules, a solar area of 25 square metres (roof only). The total power installed was 3.43kWp.

The refrigerated trailers from CHEREAU, Kögel and MTTE feature customised vehicle-applied solar solutions that help to partially cover the trailers’ energy and refrigeration needs with renewable energy. Full solar integration on the roof and sides of a 40′ semi-truck trailer is expected to cover up to 50 per cent of the cooling units’ yearly average energy needs.

Learn more about BPW and Thermo King’s award-winning collaboration here.

Together with its technology partners, Kögel has developed the Kögel Road Safety (KRS) assistance system. The aim was to improve road safety for ‘vulnerable road users’. KRS does this by sending a warning signal to smartphones with the KRS app or a special wristband via the indicator on the trailer. These devices, which will in future include smartwatches, warn cyclists, scooterists and pedestrians in the direct vicinity when the truck is turning right. The expert jury of the renowned Trailer Innovation Award has highlighted the relevance of such a system by awarding it first place in the ‘Safety’ category for 2023.

KRS is based on an assistance system that Kögel developed together with the start-up, Flasher, and vehicle lighting manufacturer, Aspöck. KRS warns pedestrians, cyclists and other road users when a truck in their immediate vicinity is turning right. To do so, the trailer sends a special signal to its direct surroundings when the driver uses the indicator. The signal is picked up by a device that almost everyone carries with them at all times nowadays and that can also be secured to the front of a bike or scooter: the smartphone. An even more effective alternative is a specially developed wristband for cyclists and scooterists, which not only warns against trucks turning, but can also serve as an indicator and brake light for these vulnerable road users.

One of Wielton’s products to reduce the carbon footprint is the lightweight semi-trailer Container Master Super Light (SL) which took out third place in the ‘Safety’ category. The vehicle is dedicated for transport of 20′ sea containers.

The semi-trailer is equipped with state-of-the-art automatic locks, controlled electrically either by remote control or through a panel placed on the frame, which allows the container to be fastened quickly without the driver having to leave the tractor unit. With future market needs in mind, the system will allow locks to be operated via a telematics system. The vehicle is one of Wielton’s many responses to the needs of its customers, aimed at increasing ergonomics and improving comfort and safety for professional drivers.

Meanwhile, taking first place in the ‘Smart Trailer’ category, Lamberet was recognised for its voice control innovation fitted to the SR2-E electric reefer.

SR2-e is a ‘rechargeable electric’ multi-temperature refrigerated semi-trailer whose energy needs are provided via a battery pack. This pack is recharged during driving sequences by energy production, or on standby with the possibility of performing a static pre-charge (as for a plug-in hybrid vehicle). The TRAK’r electric generator axle supplied by SAF is integrated into the chassis of the semi-trailer manufactured by Lamberet.

The use of this semi-trailer is optimised by the Lamberet bodywork voice control system. Based on the Multiplex Lamberet connected application, the ‘OK Lamberet’ voice command is used to control the raising of the tail lift, the opening and closing of the lifting door, the lighting and so on.

This is reported to make delivery operations safer, faster and more comfortable for the operator.

The voice control system developed by Lamberet is a breakthrough innovation for the benefit of drivers, whose daily operational life has not fundamentally changed over the past 50 years.

Carrier took second place in the ‘Smart Trailer’ category with its Vector HE 17 trailer refrigeration unit.

The new Vector HE 17 unit, which combines variable frequency drive technology on the compressor with proven E-Drive all-electric technology, enhances the company’s range of Vector high efficiency (HE) systems. Achieving both best-in-class fuel consumption and total cost of ownership, the Vector HE 17 unit delivers improved refrigeration performance.

The new variable frequency drive technology on the compressor continuously alters the motor speed to match the cooling demand, increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. The Vector HE 17 is also available in PIEK (City version) and silent variants, offering improved sound performance over the standard unit, making it ideally suited to both long haul and urban operations.

Carrier’s stand at IAA Transportation also featured the Vector eCool all-electric engineless refrigerated trailer system – which will now be available with the latest SAF TRAKr e-axle. Designed and tested specifically for the system, the new axle offers excellent operational efficiency, lower weight, and a longer maintenance interval. The SAF TRAKr will sit alongside the legacy Vector eCool axle, providing customers with a greater choice when specifying the system.

 

Third place in the ‘Smart Trailer’ category, SAF-Holland impressed the Trailer Innovation jury with its spare parts identification capabilities by harnessing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

The SH Connect app, in the near future, will utilise NFC to turn smartphones into workshop assistants for the reliable identification of spare parts.

For all cases where the previously standard QR Code on the suspension cannot be scanned or no inspection pit is available, SAF-Holland already uses the widely accepted NFC standard technology. The NFC chips are installed in both hub caps of the axles, reliably protected against external influences. The chips are read out with the SH CONNECT app. If the application is open and the NFC function is activated, the smartphone will detect the NFC chips at a distance of a few centimetres. The app provides users with all available product information, such as installation, operation and repair instructions as well as certificates and brochures, documentation and videos for correct installation and removal of the identified product.

 

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