Lowering the load

Two trailers that could cut the number of trucks on the roads by nearly a third have been developed by Scunthorpe-based SOMI Trailers.

Each can carry 31 per cent extra load, all without being higher or longer, hence their name SOMI — Same Outside More Inside. They fit conventional trucks and loading bays, meaning that existing vehicles and plants do not need to be modified to use them.

The vehicles are claimed to have the potential to reduce congestion and CO2 emissions, as well as increasing profitability per trip.

‘Our trailers use the four-metre long space normally left empty beneath the trailer between the king pin and rear axles,’ said Pauline Dawes, founder and managing director of SOMI Trailers.

‘The trailers enable four standard HGV journeys to be replaced with just three which saves £120,000 a truck/year with a corresponding reduction in CO2 of 400 tonnes and a return on investment in under 18 months.’

The Stage Loading Trailer uses load bars to put an extra layer of pallets above those lowered into the space below, while a second design, the SOMI Auto Lifting Trailer, can be loaded without a fork-lift. The core technology behind this trailer involves an air bag that can raise eight tonnes/deck.

As part of the Yorkshire Forward-funded work, a self-levelling system that evenly lifts up to eight tonnes despite unequal weight distribution was developed and patented, as was the air bag. A total of 17 patents have granted for the whole project to date.

The trailer was designed using the principles applied to F1 cars, including transferring forces from one part to another and aerodynamic efficiency.

Julia Pierce