Optimizing trailer life and service with doors, lift gates and floors

Optimizing trailer life and service with doors, lift gates and floors

By nature of their application, trailers tend to spend more time away from the home base than in residence. For that reason, it becomes very important to mitigate the wear-and-tear damage related to cargo shifting, loading and unloading, all of which can have a direct impact on doors, lift gates and floors. You can do this by knowing what kind of flooring to spec.

Flooring options
Chris Lee, vice president of engineering at Great Dane Trailer, says that “at Great Dane, we take many factors into consideration when recommending a flooring option to our customers.” Some of the main considerations he mentions include:

  • Forklift truck axle weight (load): The industry usually uses TTMA RP 37.
  • Number of load cycles per day: For high cycle loading conditions, Lee recommends a higher floor rating.
  • Fail safe design: The entire trailer deck system, including the floor, crossmember fastener connections and rails, must be designed and assembled to withstand both concentrated and fatigue load. Any one component failure can lead to entire floor system failure.
  • Wood spices: In general, hardwood spices are used—oak, maple, apitong, etc. The spices play a major role in the durability of the floor.
  • Moisture permutation for water tightness: Glue and sealant applied on floor planks is critical to preventing water leaks.
  • Coating (both top and bottom) needs to resist damages from weather and road debris.
  • Maintenance: The individual boards need to be designed and assembled for easy replacement and availability.
  • Weight: This is an important factor since the floor takes up a big portion of trailer weight. Today, composite floors can provide significant weight savings.
  • Floor thickness: This affects floor weight and load rating. The right floor thickness needs to be determined for particular options and weight.

“The primary things to consider when choosing the right trailer flooring are the overall weight of the payload, the type of product getting loaded and how the product is getting loaded,” says Steve Zaborowski, senior vice president with XTRA Lease. “Fleets should look at all of the items contributing to the usage of the trailer, including the forklift weight, pallet weight, freight weight and the number of cycles you’re operating to load the trailer. Some product applications require more durability and strength than others, such as beverage products, rolled paper and heavy industrial products.”

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