The measure of all things with TSE Trailer System Engineering

With production facilities in Ratshausen and Dotternhausen in Germany, and increasing demand for its rigid body kits, TSE Trailer Engineering has experienced tremendous growth.
TSE Trailer System Engineering

Since 2021, TSE Trailer System Engineering has been offering curtainsider kits and other transport solutions with integrated load restraint technologies. In the first half of 2022, the business recorded a spike in growth, producing 1,000 curtainsiders and material transport kits as well as 40,000 soft top systems.

In addition to this, the OEM committed to a major project for a publicly listed client which is currently being implemented with a further 2,000 bodies. These are designed and certified according to special specifications and are to be manufactured within nine months.

To be able to meet such a sharp increase in demand, the number of employees at the firm has increased by almost 50 per cent to 90 since January last year. Work is carried out in multiple shifts with up to three shifts between six to seven days a week. Depending on the size and structure of the project, TSE can manufacture partially automated series production or individual production.

In 2021, around 8,000 tonnes of steel and around 750 tonnes of aluminium was processed at the two TSE locations in the neighbouring communities Ratshausen and Dotternhausen in Baden Wurttemberg.

In order to be able to offer customers from the vehicle construction industry added value, TSE has further developed its products either in-house or in cooperation with its strong partner network. An example of this is powder coating: Here the process flow includes a previous treatment to cover all cut and milled edges. For this purpose, TSE has set up a lean process in order and production control to be able to continue to meet its short delivery times. This results in several advantages for the vehicle manufacturer: The end user receives a finished product from a single source; all gaps, cut and milled edges are protected against corrosion with coatings inside and outside; and an additional, separate work step for colouring is no longer necessary.

TSE Managing Director, Stephan Girnt.

Another additional benefit for customers is tarpaulin manufacture. The vehicle manufacturers can now also order the tailor-made tarpaulin with their ordered kit and then receive the entire delivery in one shipment as usual.

Series production, individual production and project business complement each other as TSE’s competencies are concentrated in the three areas of serial production, individual production, and project business. Thanks to the growth, investments and innovations in recent years, TSE Trailer System Engineering has been able to expand its series production and is now able to operate with large quantities.

TSE Trailer System Engineering Managing Director, Stephan Girnt, elaborated on the strategy.

“We continuously deliver consistently high product and process quality and know how to deal with tight tolerances on the component,” he said. “In doing so, we rely on our experienced employees and our semi-automated production. Another important factor is our stable supply chain, which can also cushion market fluctuations and individual failures.”

When it comes to one-off production, TSE can use the computer-aided dimension configurator to show at any time whether the system has the desired variant. This allows a wide variety of individual productions to be implemented without losing sight of the costs. Another plus in this area is the flexible and proactive team, which is experienced in various assembly activities and knows how to implement series know-how in individual production.

The third area of TSE, the project business, is characterised by special requirements and requires a very high-performance output from the company in the short term.
Girnt sees additional advantages for the project side of the business: “In the current project of a public client with 2,000 bodies, very high standards are required both in terms of quality and documentation,” he said. “The know-how generated from this has a high impact on the further professionalisation of our previous business.”

As for exports, TSE is prepared to meet technical or approval-related requirements that deviate from European standards. In overseas countries such as Canada or South Korea, bodies with different dimensions are standard. TSE adapts the kits for such markets in its own construction department; then the elements for the kits are manufactured in-house. The necessary logistics are also taken care of: As a customs-approved exporter, TSE can load, clear and ship containers professionally. And if there are more complex transport requirements, a local packaging partner is available in the TSE network.

A new business area that has developed over the past few years through a wide range of projects is the competence of machining. Based on several of its own multi-axis machining systems, TSE Trailer System Engineering has built up a further group of customers in subcontracting. Here, series production runs with quantities in the six-figure range – for a trailer manufacturer as well as in customisation and one-off production. Vehicle construction companies can variably configure the kits in body lengths of up to 9,500mm and with drop side lengths of up to 3,900mm. The TSE subframes or the vehicle manufacturer’s own designs can be used as floor assemblies. Optionally, the load securing system VarioSAVE from Elting can be integrated via ‘plug and play’.

The straight bulkhead is designed for free side loading and provides a grab handle so the driver can climb on easily and safely. The corner posts are made of steel, the filling consists of aluminium snap-lock profiles. The outer frame is bevelled at 35° to accommodate end customer and load securing requirements.

The side walls are available in heights of 800, 1,000 or 1,200mm, which can optionally be equipped with lifting aids. If certification can be omitted, lower side wall heights are also possible without any problems. There are two folding steps on each side as climbing aids as well as side wall stops and side wall locks. Optionally, lashing strips for load securing can be embedded in the side wall profiles. At the rear, the side walls are fixed or foldable, analogous to the sides. Here, too, the vehicle manufacturer has a choice: the corner posts (K20) can be arranged on the side or the rear. The surfaces of the TSE kit are made of anodised aluminium and hot-dip galvanised steel. Alternatively, a high-quality powder coating from the RAL spectrum can be selected ex works.

“Our customers from the vehicle construction sector can also rely on the usual TSE qualities for the new kits for transporting building materials,” said Girnt. “The innovative dimension configurator, the reliably short delivery time, the complete delivery of all components in one batch, the short set-up time and the convenient ‘plug and play’ installation.”

With its portfolio, TSE concentrates on medium-sized and small vehicle manufacturers, who receive a practical and economical alternative to in-house production. In addition to the modular, certified curtainsider kit and the kit for transporting building materials, components such as hoods, subframes, end walls, rear portals or side walls can also be ordered separately.

TSE Trailer System Engineering curtainsider as a complete kit in one complete delivery
The TSE kits for curtainsiders and construction material transports includes the front wall, rear portal, side wall, hood and subframe and are suitable for almost every application and industry, whether it be motor vehicle bodies, articulated trains or semi-trailers. Despite the high level of standardisation, the vehicle manufacturer can access a four-digit number of variants and dimensions. All standard load securing certificates are available for the quickly assembled kits.

To make the ordering process easier, the curtainsider kit is recorded on just two DIN A4 pages. Even more convenient is the dimension configurator developed by TSE which lists all conceivable dimensions that may be necessary for standard and special applications.

The database-supported TSE configurator for measures (online at configurator.tse-trailersystems.de) maps all available variants and options and checks the plausibility of the input so that the vehicle manufacturer can quickly find the right configuration and provide the end customer with information.

Powder coating in the RAL colour spectrum
Since the beginning of 2022, TSE has been offering powder coating across the RAL colour spectrum. As a result, the vehicle manufacturer can further reduce its throughput time, since in addition to the colouring, preparatory and sometimes outsourced activities are also superfluous. It is also possible to order a suitable tarpaulin for the kit. Here, TSE works with a partner who has been established on the market for many years and whose portfolio can serve all technical and graphic requirements.

Two people, eight hours, one setup
The time saved during construction is also an important aspect for customers in vehicle construction. TSE was able to reduce the assembly time of the subframe by 50 per cent through a fundamental simplification. The standardisation of screw sizes and assembly material as well as the reduction of the number of components led to a new clarity, which simplifies and speeds up assembly. Another part of the time saving is due to the ingenious preparatory work, such as pre-drilled assembly and maintenance holes or cable ducts.

Thanks to the standardised TSE modular system, the vehicle manufacturer can concentrate fully on adding value to the body and on the wishes of its end customers, because they no longer have to procure and store raw materials – including warehousing and capital commitments. The TSE kit is configured so that it is easy to handle, so that only assembly work is required, and no adjustment work or welding work is required on site. Highly qualified personnel can thus be used for closer customer support or for other tasks.

The assembly video available on the TSE website shows how two people assemble the body, including the subframe, within an eight-hour working day. The assembly video supplements the bilingual and illustrated assembly instructions from TSE.

Reliable and fast delivery within three weeks is very important to TSE. This allows the vehicle manufacturer great flexibility, short-term decisions, and low capital commitment. The high level of vertical integration at TSE and the long-standing partnership with many regional suppliers have proven their worth. For example, the aluminium profiles are manufactured in a press shop using TSE’s own moulds. The standard complete delivery has also proven to be very practical – without subsequent deliveries or bundling at the customer’s site.

In other news, IAA, last year, transformed its bi-annual exhibition concept to embrace the entire transport and logistics spectrum.