The biggest corporate developments in the special transport industry this year have involved leading family-run companies.

German trailer manufacturer Goldhofer has been converted into a non-profitable trust, a move designed by the Goldhofer family to safeguard the company’s future independence. And in the Netherlands, Mammoet has been taken over by its arch rival, the family-owned (or mostly owned) Van Seumeren. Elsewhere, there has also been plenty of product development.

Broshuis of Belgium has introduced what it claims to be the longest low semi-trailer in Europe. The loader, made for Danish customer Neils Houlberg, has a basic length of 18.2m and has a trailer that is extendable to 42.1m. It is fitted with the easy-slide system to make extending and closing the trailer easier. The trailer, designed to transport wind turbine generator towers and wings, is shot blasted and painted before the final fitting of components.

Also new from Broshuis is the Triple Trailer, a hydraulically steered unit which extends in three stages from 13.5m to 36m. The only disadvantage is an additional 700kg tare weight.

Broshuis has also developed an axle load gauge that is designed to measure the exact load placed on each axle. It can be fitted to existing Broshuis trailers and, the manufacturer claims, eliminates the problem of incorrect loads being placed on axles.

In Germany, Scheuerle introduced its new Flat Combi trailer in June. The Flat Combi is a reduced height variant of its popular Inter Combi trailer. It has a driving height, in central position, of only 1,030mm with axle compensation of 500mm. It is designed to have a maximum load of 23t per axle line. The trailer can also be fitted with accessories including a drawbar, drawbar beam, operating panel and coupling elements. The Flat Combi can carry loads in excess of 700t with the use of longitudinal and side-by-side coupling of the single bogies.

Scheuerle has also continued to produce transporters for shipyards and harbours, something it started in the 1960s. Module transporters with hydrostatic drive systems are used to move entire ships and large offshore modules. The transporters can carry loads in excess of 15,000t by one operator using a remote control system and the SADESS multi-directional steering system.

French company Nicolas has upgraded and improved some of its most popular products this year. A load height control system has been added to the Maxi 2C semi-trailer and the warning lights have been repositioned. It is now capable of carrying Category 2 exceptional loads.

Dutch manufacturer Nooteboom reports success with its NoVAB axle load calculation program that was launched at the end of last year. The software helps to prevent axle overload and helps users to choose the right vehicle combination. Nooteboom claims that sales are rising daily and says it has started to develop the program further. It is now available in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish. It has an added function that enables the user to place several loads on one trailer, as well as view the actual load, by using the new cargo library. The program layout is compatible with the latest Windows software and now incorporates a drawing module that can create unique loads as well as import them from other software programs. Another development to NoVAB is the facility that calculates information needed when applying for transport permits in other countries and prints it in the language of the country in question.

Nooteboom has also developed an electric control system for the hydraulic functions of its goosenecks and lowloaders. The Nooteboom Eurolowloader with removable gooseneck is controlled by a single button switch, which can operate the gooseneck, rear axle assembly and Interdolly.

In the UK, King Trailers has developed what it says is the first plant trailer in the country to be fitted with disc brakes. The King model GTS 44/3-17.5 was sold to Scariff Plant Hire in Ireland. Specialist trailers, such as low-loaders, have been slow to adopt disc brakes despite the fact that most ordinary tri-axle trailers are equipped with disc brakes, King says.

The GTS 44 has a maximum payload of 35.75t and is designed to accommodate any plant machinery with wheels, tracks or rollers. The trailer has a hydraulic side shift and expandable rear ramps that allows larger plant machinery to drive straight onto the trailer. A rear lift axle is fitted to reduce tyre wear when the trailer is operating below maximum capacity.