The new Pacton/Floor crane trailer (type TZD.454.L) for transport company John van Limpt from Lage Mierde is downright unique. The robust, extendable trailer has four axles, three of which are hydraulically steered. Together with control system supplier Tridec, Pacton trailers from Ommen took care of RDW testing and approval for the crane trailer, which is literally the only one of its kind.
John van Limpt, the owner of the eponymous transport company, has had an extendable Pacton Floor crane trailer with three axles for several years. All three of those are steering axles, but - then again - there is nothing unique about three-axle trailers with three steering axles. John van Limpt’s new four-axle truck with three steered axles, however, is more rare: because the trailer is nearly a metre shorter than standard, the axle distances are different than anything that anyone has ever made. As a result, the control system first had to be registered and tested for RDW approval.
Shorter is better
Van Limpt knew exactly what he wanted: a robust trailer with four equal axles, with the first serving as a lifting axle and the others being hydraulically steered. With a retracted length of 12.65 metres, the trailer would also have to be a metre shorter than its regular cousins. Van Limpt: “Trailers are always too big for their surroundings. Given the space required for the crane and the fact that we want to transport our loads as efficiently as possible, 12.65 metres was a good choice. The 11-metre load length - the remainder is for the crane - is perfect for transporting 5-metre products. Guardrails are usually 12 metres, which we can solve by extending the trailer. In fact, it’s not uncommon for construction materials like girders to span up to 20 metres. It doesn’t matter to us: we can load and unload them like any other cargo.”
Van Limpt made inquiries with several trailer builders for his custom trailer, all of whom passed on the order. Some claimed that it would be impossible to include a 1.30-metre crane track, while others believed that the trailer would never be approved in Germany or thought that the shorter four-axle trailer would be difficult to produce, due to the closely spaced axles. Pacton Trailers from Ommen did go to work for him and delivered a special four-axle, extendable Floor trailer, with three hydraulically steered axles, entirely up to spec. The first axle of the new trailer is rigid and equipped with an axle lift, while the three rear axles are hydraulically steered with a fifth wheel assembly. Given the special shaft spacing, this was the first trailer of its kind. Before being delivered, the trailer was put through its paces and subjected to extensive testing and inspections on the test track in Lelystad. The result is a unique, steered, four-axle, extendable crane trailer.
The air-suspended, extendable chassis has a retracted length of 12.65 metres retracted and can be extended up to 19.15 metres The extension slide is located just behind the landing gear. The 24-tonne/metre crane was mounted on the rear section and can be moved along the 8.5 m x 1.3m crane track installed on the rear deck. Given the fact that Van Limpt generally transports long loads, this configuration was the optimal solution.
For Van Limpt, the new trailer is worth its rated gross vehicle weight in gold. With an aggregate gross axle weight of 36,000 kg and a tongue weight of 18,000 kg, the trailer boasts a rated gross vehicle weight of 54,000 kg. Technically speaking, the trailer would be capable of bearing much greater loads, thanks to the impressive 12,000 gross axle weight of each of the four axles (AGAW: 48,000kg) and the 30 tonne tongue weight. However, Van Limpt's Scania tractor unit has been rated for 66 tonnes, making this the maximum weight on permit and on private property.
Van Limpt nonchalantly recounts why he decided on the heavier axles anyway: “I want to have the trailer axles rated for 10 tonnes each, so I could have opted for lighter axles in the end. Seeing as I’d already put in the order, I decided to leave things this way for maximum flexibility and robustness. We regularly transport road plates for festivals, for instance, and have the driver control everything from the crane with a remote control unit. The extendable three-axle Pacton/Floor crane trailer we bought several years ago also has 12-tonne axles that have been rated for 10 tonnes each. The new four-axle trailer is largely identical to its three-axle cousin. They’re the same length, they have the same axle ratings and even have the same empty weight, because the three-axle trailer is equipped with a 30-tonne/metre crane while the new four-axle trailer has a 24-tonne/metre version.”
The new Pacton/Floor crane trailer features ample LED lighting, including headlights and work lights, side lights and wide beams. The trailer floor is made of 4mm Hardox steel, while the steel headboard is 1.20 meters tall and TUV-certified. There are connections for wide-load-signs, a pair of stainless steel containers and a wheel chock bin. Van Limpt also requested several series of stake pockets, as well as lashing eyes in the side beam. The steering mechanism and shafts are equipped with an SKF lubrication system, and the trailer also features a towbar and rear Orlaco camera.
The work we do requires heavy-duty equipment, Van Limpt explains: “We do a lot of work for the construction industry, Rijkswaterstaat and events. We only transport heavy objects, ranging from road plates and steel parts to concrete elements and slabs. That is why the new Pacton/Floor four-axle trailer is equipped with a powerful crane with a 12-metre boom.”
Van Limpt immediately opted for the dual-air version with 16 22.5 x 7.5 Alcoa aluminium rings. “Single-air trailers have been a thorn in my side for too long and I was ready for a better solution. If a single-air trailer gets a blowout, you’re stranded, full stop. With a dual-air version, you have the luxury of bringing the lorry to a stop in a safe location.”
John van Limpt transport is a family business that has become a household name in the south of the Netherlands over the years. John van Limpt founded the company in 1991, which now specialises in special transportation services, road plate rental, concrete elements, silo walls, stacking blocks and more. In addition to the Pacton/Floor crane trailers, Van Limpt has a tipper truck and a lowloader semi trailer with a crane in its fleet, as well as three Scania trucks. Van Limpt is fully aware that his new acquisition is rather remarkable: “Our new Pacton-Floor crane trailer is anything but run-of-the-mill. If it was, I’d have been able to buy it everywhere.” Is he satisfied now that he has been using the trailer for some time? “It’s all absolutely perfect.”