Customer case

6 min read

Case details

Country United States
Industry Trailers and body builders

Armor Lite Trailers adds service life for half-round dumpers with an easy upgrade to Hardox® 500 Tuf

How to make a high-performing semi-trailer

Armor Lite is a Missouri based semi-trailer manufacturer with a home market covering the Midwest and Texas. The company was started in 2012 by Wesley Graviett, Tom Seyer and Jim Pharris. They all have extensive industry knowledge from the trailer industry and set high goals for the business: making the industry’s best trailers and to always exceed the customer’s expectations.

The company is experiencing healthy growth, so it looks like it’s on the right track. What’s the secret?

“We’re always eager to explore new materials and production techniques that will give our customers more value for their money. We are focused on high-end trailers for the toughest jobs and choose materials to match. One example is that we upgraded our half-round semi-trailers from Hardox® 450 wear-resistant steel to the new Hardox® 500 Tuf grade,” says Jim Pharris, Senior Partner at Armor Lite.

Armor light trailer

How did the customers react to the change?

“I would say we have carved out a reputation for making trailers that stand up to the toughest jobs. Of course, we needed to confirm the steel’s performance in real life before going all in. When the new grade became available two years ago, we started by making two similar half-rounds, one with Hardox® 450 and the other with Hardox® 500 Tuf which is a harder material that still has a high toughness. They were used by a local company for about a year in really rough conditions and the outcome was positive. The customer was happy and we were confident that this was the future. Today, we have made 30 half-rounds in Hardox® 500 Tuf. Just by looking at them we can see that they stay in better shape, with much less denting even after transporting large stones and big chunks of concrete,” says Jim.

Upgrading made simple

Armor Lite has not come across any technical obstacles in the workshop when processing Hardox® 500 Tuf. Welding works in the same way as for Hardox® 450, no preheating is needed to get high-quality welds. Bending the plates into the half-round shape required a change in rolling parameters since Hardox® 500 Tuf is a stronger material with higher springback. Once this was sorted out, production runs smoothly. Hardox® wear plate is a very stable material and this is confirmed by the repeatable performance Armor Lite experiences in the workshop.

Armor light trailer
Armor Lite makes its half-round dump trailers in the new Hardox® 500 Tuf wear steel.

What’s the future look like?

“So far, we make half-round dump trailers in both Hardox® 450 and Hardox® 500 Tuf with the same thickness. This naturally adds service life to the ones with Hardox® 500 Tuf. We are looking into going down in thickness on Hardox® 500 Tuf to save weight. This would be interesting for many customers since it allows for more payload without exceeding the total vehicle weight,” says Jim Pharris.

Why the half-round makes a difference

In many ways, a half-round dump trailer is the optimum design when handling rocks and other large and heavy objects. Compared to a traditional box shaped dumper, the half-round structure actually becomes stronger from the lack of external reinforcing beams. The large free steel surface with a top rail allows the steel to flex when hit by a rock.

The impact forces are distributed over the plate, resisting dents and cracking. Fewer dents means less wear for a longer service life of the trailer – with the added bonus of giving a higher resale value.

A design without stiffeners is lighter and gives the opportunity for higher payload. The amount of welding is also drastically reduced, saving time in the workshop and cost for welding consumables.

The half-round body improves road handling since the load is automatically centered on the trailer even if it is loaded over the side. Another advantage is that the shape makes for faster discharge of the load.

Armor light trailer welding
Hardox® 500 Tuf hasn’t given Armor Lite any challenges in the workshop.

WearCalc calculates the service life

SSAB, the manufacturer of Hardox® wear steel, has developed an app called WearCalc. Armor Lite uses the app to quickly show customers how the wear service life increases when using a harder abrasion-resistant steel. WearCalc is available from Apple and Android app stores for free.

WearCalc mobile app

When hardness meets toughness

SSAB is steadily pushing the envelope of steel production with its range of Hardox® wear steel. The latest grade – Hardox® 500 Tuf – has a unique mix of hardness and toughness. Compared to a traditional abrasion-resistant steel, Hardox® 500 Tuf can also work as a structural steel. This offers new opportunities to reduce or exclude supporting structures, allowing Hardox® 500 Tuf to take the load instead.

When upgrading to Hardox® 500 Tuf, manufacturers can choose to increase wear life or increase payload – or both. Using a thinner plate in Hardox® 500 Tuf can easily give 10-15% greater load capacity for a dumper or container. Staying with the same thickness on the other hand can give a 30% longer service life or more, depending on the abrasive material.

“We had great expectations of Hardox® 500 Tuf. It combined the hardness of Hardox® 500 with the toughness of our worldwide bestseller Hardox® 450. I’m sure Hardox® 500 Tuf will be the new standard for premium heavy-duty tipper bodies, containers and buckets,” says Jenny Brandberg Hurtig, Product Manager for Hardox® wear plate.

Ready to upgrade?

Request a trial plate or to learn more about Hardox® 500 Tuf and its use in dumper bodies, email: contactusa@ssab.com or call us at 800 442 7369.

Armor light trailer welding

Find out how upgrading pays off

Please complete the following information so that we may contact and support you with any upgrading questions: