The Malta Independent 18 November 2017, Saturday

Express Trailers builds world’s first side-loader

Monday, 11 September 2017, 15:15 Last update: about 3 months ago

Express Trailers has delivered its latest re-conditioned side-loader, an ADR-approved Hammar 195 HC which is radio-controlled and equipped with automatic steering, parking sensors, reverse sensors and many other features, making this model the first of its kind in the world. This side-loader has now been shipped to its client in the Canary Islands.

This is the 11th commissioned side-loader since Express Trailers' appointment as Hammar's European base for the re-building and customisation of Hammar side-loaders for the global market a year-and-a-half ago. Express Trailers in fact has already delivered, rebuilt and re-conditioned side-loaders to clients in the UK, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, the United States and the Canary Islands.

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Side-loaders or side-lifters, enable transport companies to load and unload containers and out of gauge cargo onto flat-bed trailer trucks without the use of cranes but instead, with the use of a specially mounted hydraulic-powered mechanism installed on the trailer chassis. These hydraulic structures can also be telescopic, adjusting to varying sizes of containers and can handle weights of up to 33 tons without any counter weight.

"This new milestone is another feather in Express Trailers' cap and confirms how the company is keeping to its commitment to deliver the highest level of service for its clients round the world," said Franco Azzopardi, chairman and CEO of Express Trailers.

"We have invested a lot in this collaboration with Hammar to re-build and re-condition side-loaders on behalf of its clients, operations that effectively saw Express Trailers moving into the manufacturing business. The result of this investment is that we have already seen a successful year-and-a-half and we are already envisaging more business in the coming months that will see us working on an even bigger order book," added Azzopardi.

Work on this latest side-loader started 10 weeks ago and saw the involvement of two welders and three mechanical assemblers working non-stop to finish this commission on time. After the dismantling of the old chassis, it was sent for sand-blasting. Back at Express Trailers' garage, all technicians went through the plans and drawings sent over by Hammar, started welding while the mechanics refurbished the brakes and all mechanical systems. All the metallic paintwork was also carried out at the paintshop followed by the assembly process. Upon completion, the side-loader was tested by an independent engineer.

"Re-building and reconditioning of side-loaders is a service we are delivering in collaboration with Hammar, a world-known brand in the side-loader business. We have been offering this service for a year-and-a-half now and prospects of increased business required us to invest in our workshops to be able to cater for the demand. The newly installed roof and mobile crane system not only helps us reach new efficiencies but provide a safer working environment for our employees," said Noel Vella, director at Express Trailers who oversees the management of the fleet and the side-loader business.

"We currently have a team of very talented workers who are doing a fantastic job but as we expect business to grow, we know we will need to recruit more workers especially welders. We need people who are passionate, want to learn and are willing to be part of a successful team. From our end, we are ready to offer them all the required training."

"Availability of capable and talented workers in this field however, remains an issue and it is proving to be very difficult to find these types of workers. Unless we find more tradesmen, we will not be able to meet the growing demand," concluded Vella.


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