Having been in this business for some time now, we have witnessed the evolution of trailer designs and applications. Reviewing the different types available can help you better understand the kind of aluminum extrusions you need.
This is the most common type of trailer type on the roads. It is typically about 50 feet long and carries items that people use daily. Boxlike and enclosed, these trailers are popular with leading franchises. Since they are designed to keep the items inside safe, their design must take into account the strength and versatility of the construction material. That’s why many van trailer bodies and the accompanying safety accessories are made from aluminum extrusions.
The aluminum tank trailer or bulk handler is larger and typically comprises of the body, axle, frames, suspension system, safety devices, electrical systems and other parts. Some trucks will come with a custom chassis that houses dangerous items. This calls for side guardrails, toolboxes, gas tank enclosures, fenders, and many other safety accessories. Most of these accessories are built from aluminum extrusions and aluminum panels.
The 6000 series aluminum alloys, particularly 6061, are common for the extrusions used in various tank trailer parts. The 5000 series grade is also extensively used.
This market segment is extremely weight-sensitive, so the lightweight feature of aluminum extrusions is highly rated here. These extrusions feature prominently in cross members, sills, and frames (front and rear).
Why would flatbed trailer designs prefer aluminum alloy extrusions over other materials? The principle idea is to optimize the payload. It is common to find some of these trailers 100% built from aluminum alloy. Some will combine aluminum extrusions with steel depending on the desired payload.
Flatbed trailers carry all manner of goods, from sheet metal to vehicles. Aluminum alloy extrusions make great choices for making these trailers, especially the floors, for the following reasons:
- Easy to integrate anti-slip features into the design
- Production of long straight extrusions is possible
- Combines stiffness with durability
- Corrosion-resistant surface
- Payloads are higher because the material is lightweight
Grain trailers are also sometimes called dumpers. They feature a hydraulic system that helps offload grains at the back. Grain trailers are synonymous with cross members made from aluminum extrusions. These extrusions tend to be U-shaped, which is necessary for spreading out the weight. Such a design prevents the formation of stress points that would render the trailer prone to failure.
Other types of trailers
Other options include utility trailers, car haulers, equipment trailers, etc.