Strenx in numbers

With a direct correlation between equipment weight and operational costs, more and more trailer manufacturers want to understand how to improve and lighten their offerings. One Colombian trailer company’s extensive research has discovered the answer, completely changing how it builds trailers.

It was just over a decade ago when the Hidroamerica team realised they needed to start making some changes and embrace innovation. It was a time when strong and robust equipment was the trend, but as the Bogota-based trailer manufacturing company noticed, that same equipment was also extremely heavy. The search began with a trip.

“We visited factories in the United States and learned about T1,” said Hidroamerica General Manager, Felipe Guerrero. “We started looking for this type of material and in 2013 we found SSAB, who we knew would be able to supply special steel in Colombia.”

Since that time, Hidroamerica has worked exclusively with SSAB’s Strenx and Hardox steels, considered to be among some of the strongest in the world.

Image: SSAB.

“Today, these materials are our standard,” said Guerrero. “They have a very large repertoire, which we have used throughout our entire portfolio of semitrailers, flatbeds, tippers, cement hoppers, low-beds and chassis equipment.”

In its quest to reduce weight while still offering customers good performance, the Hidroamerica team produced a prototype – a 60-tonne low-bed with a detachable gooseneck. The goal was to create a much lighter trailer and increase the payload capacity, in other words, make every trip more profitable. The result was a flatbed trailer fully constructed with Strenx steel that was 36 per cent lighter when compared to the same semi-trailer using ASTM A36, a commonly used steel alloy.

Within the design, the flatbed frame is made completely of Strenx 700 as well as all structural components and even the stamped steel floor, which has a cross-hatched surface and a reduced weight of 300 kilograms. In fact, the entire trailer had weighed 7,500 kilograms whereas with the use of Strenx, its weight was 4,800 kilograms, but has all the same benefits.

For Guerrero, the benefits of using Strenx steel is in the customer’s profitability.

“If you need a robust frame, we offer a higher strength steel that adds durability without increasing the weight,” he said. “Conversely, if the customer wants a lighter frame, they will get a lighter rig without sacrificing on the frame’s strength.”

Having done the math, Hidroamerica said after approximately five years, the increased payload capacity alone pays for the entire cost of the trailer because of this additional tare weight.

As Hidroamerica continued to use Strenx and it became their standard, the company began investing in the product by converting its entire manufacturing process to SNC plasma cutting and submerged arc welding for chassis beams. As the team learned and became more adept at using Strenx over traditional steel, the trailers became entire made of the material.

“Today, Strenx® steel is used in more than just the main beams. It’s in the entire frame –, every beam, strut, even the floor, is manufactured in Strenx 700,” he said.

Looking back, the introduction to SSAB and its products, as well as the innovation and design changes the Hidroamerica made, Guerrero is pleased with the direction the company decided to go.

“We wanted to stand out from the competition, and this is what sets us apart,” he said. “Today we are positioned as the only Colombian company to use 100 per cent Strenx in our production and the only Colombian company with My Inner Strenx certification.”

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