Heavylift / Breakbulk
Powerpacks to replace lorries
Up until now the haulage of exceptionally large consignments weighing more than 2,000 t usually required a number of trucks working in combination; some at the front, pulling and steering, others at the back, pushing and braking. This limits their manoeuvrability. Mammoet and Scheuerle are developing flexible 1,000 hp engines to make some of the trucks superfluous in future.
Mammoet, a Dutch logistics service provider that specialises in engineered heavy lifting and transport tasks, has addressed the problem presented by huge consignments weighing more than 2,000 t. With support from the German firm Scheuerle, which in turn specialises in heavylift transport vehicles, Mammoet has initiated the development of a new solution, called the trailer power assist system (TPA). The Dutch firm based its approach on a Scheuerle trailer.
Traction power of more than 40 t
A so-called power-pack unit (PPU), which is powered by a 1,000 hp MTU V12 diesel engine, which the firm says has a traction power of over 40 t, is one of the central elements of the innovative new approach. A PPU can be flexibly mounted at one or either end of the trailer, and generates propulsion up to a maximum speed of 25 km / h. Another option is to place the PPU on the prime mover, to replace the counterweight for traction.
Once the unit has been mounted, then one TPA can replace at least two trucks, according to Schiedam-based Mammoet. This results in a number of advantages. It reduces the overall length of the convoy, and simultaneously enhances manoeuvrability, by needing only one truck at the front to pull and steer. Mammoet pointed out that this solution additionally cuts fuel consumption by about two thirds compared to using only self-propelled modular transporters.
To the destination by remote control
The approach can also increase the degree of safety of long haul transport contracts, as a just one truck driver can operate the system. This may not completely eliminate communication errors, but nevertheless reduces their likelihood in multiple-operator tasks. Over and above this, power can additionally be multiplied by adding more TPA trailers and PPUs, thus increasing efficiency in comparison with the use of a number of trucks.
Once the convoy reaches the delivery site, then the TPA can be operated by remote control, in so-called creep mode, for maximum manoeuvrability as well as positioning precision. Thereafter a truck can transport the empty TPA unit to its next contracted location in the frictionless free-wheeling mode of the hydraulic drive system, at a maximum speed of 80 km / h.
A prospect for the future
In a joint venture with Mammoet, Scheuerle is now building two such TPA prototypes. They will be field-tested by Mammoet in the course of this year. If larger loads need to be transported over longer distances with safer as well as generally higher average speeds in the future, then the transport of exceptionally large consignments using multiple rows of trailers with a truck at the front and one at the back could become a reality, according to Mammoet.