Drawbar solution improves efficiency
By Christian Shelton27 July 2017
UK infrastructure services company FM Conway has taken delivery of a centre-balanced drawbar trailer specially designed by Andover Trailers to aid it speed up the transport of FM Conway’s range of asphalt chip spreaders to site.
Built by Tex Engineering, the chip spreaders are key to FM Conway’s highway surfacing and maintenance operations. The spreaders are currently supplied with their own purpose-built trailers which, due to a lack of powered braking, cannot be used on EU roads. As a result FM Conway has previously had to load and secure each chip spreader, including its trailer, on to the back of a step frame for transport to site. This process was inefficient and costly, said Andover.
John Tobin, asset manager at FM Conway, explained, “Moving our chip spreaders in the past has always been an arduous procedure that took up time, money and manpower. We’re always looking for new ways to improve the way we work and deliver efficiencies for customers so we asked the team at Andover Trailers to help us design a more suitable solution.
“We’ve worked with Andover for the past 27 years so we knew that if we sent them the machine specs and challenged them to devise a more efficient means of transfer we wouldn’t be disappointed. As expected, they produced the goods and we now have a safe, fast way of transporting the spreaders to site, helping us to continue delivering great projects for our clients.”
Andover Trailers’ design team were given the measurements for two different sized chip spreaders and access to one of the existing trailers to assist with the design process. From there, it developed a road-legal, nine-tonne, tandem-axle drawbar trailer capable of carrying either of the two chip spreader variants.
The finished product has Gigant axles on steel-spring suspension and runs on 235/75 R17.5 tyres. It features a full air braking system, LED lighting and aluminium loading ramps that allow loading and unloading from either side.
The new trailer means either size of chip spreader can be now towed to site using the company’s Volvo FE320 4x2 rigid. Andover said this improvement in operational efficiency translates into significant cost savings for FM Conway and its customers, as the trailer will be in regular use on projects across London and the south east.
Tobin concluded, “We’ve taken delivery of more than 20 trailers from Andover since we awarded them our first order in the 1990s, and currently have six of their step frames in the fleet. We know that everything they build is designed to last, and even though this is something a little different, we’re certain it will still be running ten years from now.”