The advantage of the so-called Cross-Linked Beverage Trailer is a significantly lower weight compared with traditional truck trailers, which means higher cargo efficiency, less fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs.

The structure of truck trailers has not evolved very much since it was first designed, with two frame beams, axles, wheels and tow hitch, often made with heavy, common steel. Most parts are welded. However, the Chilean company developed an entirely new streamlined structure, the first of its kind in all of Latin America.

The idea to manufacture an optimized beverage trailer wastriggered by Santander Equipos’ motivation to help its main customers –CCU, Chile’s largest beer company, and Coca-Cola– to increase their competitiveness and profitability per unit. Chilean road law caps the total weight of fully loaded trucks at 45 metric tons, so the lighter the truck and its trailer, the more freight it can carry.

“Traditional shoebox-shaped trailers weight up to 15 metric tons and can transport about 30 metric tons,” said said Gonzalo Santander, general manager and owner of Santander Equipos. “Today the optimized trailer, whose front roof curves down to increase aerodynamics at truck’s cruising speed, weighs 5.3 metric tons and can carry around 32 tons.”

Project together with SSAB

In 2013 Santander Equipos and KSC SSAB, led by Anders Ivarson, began developing a new project of innovation in the beverage transport business.

“The trailer’s main characteristic, which uses high-strength steel, is a much lower tare (the weight of a vehicle without considering its cargo),” Mr. Santander said.

“It weighs about two and a half metric tons less than our previous model; 5,300 kilos instead of 7,800 kilos. That’s a significant difference that benefits both the customer and us, because it allows the trailer to carry more freight and puts Santander in a more competitive position.”

This innovation means only ten trips or trucks are needed instead of 11 of the common model to transport the same amount of cargo, a 9.09 % increase in load capacity.

Domex and Hardox

Mr. Santander explained that two SSAB products are used in the new trailer: The main trailer structure is built with Domex 700 MC steel varying from 5 mm to 8 mm, whereas the tow hitch base employs 8-mm Hardox 450. The trailer backbone is a center space frame consisting of three parallel C-beams linked by a diagonal cross member.

Mr. Santander estimates the production of up to 800 Cross-Linked Beverage Trailers for its customers only. Increased competition, the current high prices of oil, and stricter environmental-impact laws are generating a big demand for lighter trailers to replace the heavy, less efficient ones from past decades, despite their long lifespan.

The Swedish Steel Prize Jury Motivation:

Santander has developed a new lightweight trailer for transportation of beverage pallets. The payload has increased so that seven new trailers can transport the same load as eight conventional ones, which means both economic and environmental advantages. A conventional beam design in the main frame has been replaced by a bolted lattice structure made of Advanced High Strength Steel. This new innovative design concept meets high demands on strength, life time and production economy.