Trucking is the most common form of inland freight transportation and seems to be gearing up for continued expansion globally. At the same time, truck and trailer OEMs, logistics providers and other market players are facing a heavy load of challenges and uncertainties such as stricter emission standards, driver shortages, digitalization, inefficient processes and high fleet operations costs. One thing is certain: companies must take action soon, or risk being driven from the market.
How can a high-strength steel help steer businesses in the right direction?
According to the 2018 market study, “Trends in the truck & trailer market” by Roland Berger, technical capabilities and power to innovate are essential competitive factors that are gaining importance in the industry and will have the ability to make or break a business. Innovations are not limited to the truck and trailer market, tremendous innovative efforts are also put into high-performing, high-strength steels that can make trucks and trailers stronger yet lighter. Strenx® performance steel from SSAB is one such innovation. Strenx® performance steel is used in trailers to address key challenges through the production of more competitive and cleaner running transportation vehicles.
Design engineers can achieve impressive results by upgrading from conventional steel to Strenx® performance steel, which provides opportunities to develop equipment in a way that was not possible before. Strenx® steel in trailers helps significantly reduce the weight which translates into increased payload, fuel cost savings, lower life cycle carbon footprint and an increase in a company’s bottom line.
The most common grades used for trailers are Strenx® 100, Strenx® 700, Strenx® 900 and Strenx® 960. SSAB’s customers successfully use these steels in trailer flooring and siding, in rear underrun protection devices (RUPDs), kingpin assemblies, drawbar couplings, and timber trailer stakes and bunks as well as main load carrying structure (cross members and longitudinal beams).
Oftentimes, trailer and tipper components made of Strenx® in thinner dimensions compared to conventional steel are both stronger and lighter. Stronger and lighter implies that they can take higher payloads, which reduces the number of trips required to move the same material. When the vehicle is unloaded, there is less overall weight, reducing fuel consumption bringing environmental benefits and reducing the life cycle carbon footprint.
Strenx® performance steel has extremely consistent properties, ensuring precision and efficiency in the workshop. It is delivered with a set of guarantees for tight thickness tolerances, tight flatness tolerances and bending guarantees. These guarantees act as a safeguard for trouble-free production with every batch of material. In addition, the steel can generally be processed by the same kind of machinery and technology used for conventional steel. Moreover, as an added benefit, using thinner-gauged steel in the workshop can reduce the cost of cutting, bending and, in particular, welding because less weld consumables are needed and weld speed can increase.
Customer support and services drive innovation in steel technology at SSAB. We are passionately dedicated to the business success of each one of our customers. This is why we provide not only high-quality steel, but also a high-quality relationship built on trust. SSAB conducts local customer visits and offers seminars and development projects. In collaboration, we help companies develop products that are stronger, lighter and deliver more value.
We support customers throughout the process, from material selection of specific products, collaborative design and innovation recommendations to production efficiency recommendations, specialist advice and best-practice guidance.
SSAB’s specialists also provide support and know-how to ensure a smooth production processes and help customers get more value from their vehicles. Support here includes recommendations on welding and forming, tooling advice and the provision of trial material for testing or prototyping.
SSAB’s My Inner Strenx® brand program allows certified members to market their equipment using the My Inner Strenx® sign of quliaty on their products. This assures customers that their qualified products have been certified to meet the strictest quality control standards and highest published guarantees for high-performance steel. When end users see this sign of quality sticker, they know it is made with superior steel and quality-controlled production techniques for their demanding applications. Products in the My Inner Strenx® program also have a higher resale value.
The Italian trailer manufacturer Mantella revolutionized the design of its Stratosphere tipper trailer by implementing major design advances in the use of high-strength steel. The company’s innovative trailer chassis in Strenx® 960 weighs in on par with aluminum, and has all the durability, fatigue strength and production advantages of steel. By upgrading to Strenx® 960, Mantella not only offers its customers a chassis that is 145 kg (320 lbs.) lighter, but also has superior mechanical properties and improved road handling. The design made Mantella a winner of the international Swedish Steel Prize in 2018.
“By lowering fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per ton kilometer, we are contributing to a more sustainable world,” said Gregorio Mantella, Plant Director at Mantella S.r.l. “To successfully develop this lightweight trailer, the entire company has been involved – design engineers, production, management and purchasers. The Stratosphere trailers make use of all the benefits obtainable from SSAB’s high-strength steel grade Strenx® 960. Naturally we are also in the process of implementing stronger and lighter design solutions for our other trailer series,” Mantella said.
To find out what stronger and lighter trailers can do for your business, contact us today or learn about how Strenx® performance steel performs in trailers.