When the massive components for petrochemical refineries, wind turbines and hydropower plants need to be transported, crews don't have many options. Only a few companies in the world build trailers capable of handling such large loads over the road. Up until now most platform trailers needed to be imported as well, at high costs.
Scheuerle—part of German-based TII Group, along with Kamag and Nicolas—has been selling heavy-transport platform trailers in the U.S. for decades, all made in Germany. Earlier this year, it entered into a deal with Cocoa, Fla.-based The Precision Cos. to assemble its on-road trailers in the U.S. for the first time, cutting delivery times, labor rates and import fees.
"Trailers will be assembled in the U.S. [and] designed in Germany for the American market," says Suzanne Schlegel, president of Scheuerle. "Standards will be synchronized. We have trained The Precision Cos.' staff on-site in Germany and will be supporting them throughout."
The Precision Cos. has a history in supplying transportation trailers to, primarily, the aerospace industry under government contracts. "Our main facility is just off the main gate to the Kennedy Space Center," says Robert Kelly, president, The Precision Cos. "We have a relationship with Kamag dating back to 1980. Recently, when the [NASA] space shuttles were moved to museums, that was done with some of our Kamag units."
The Precision Cos. has dedicated 20,000 sq ft of a new Florida facility to assemble Scheuerle machines. Designed to meet U.S. on-road transportation regulations, the highway trailer can carry a maximum load of 119 tons and telescope to a length of 106 ft.
"We've purchased one of their new nine-axle highway trailers," says Gary Summers, U.S. transportation manager with Dutch-based heavy-transport company Roll Lift. "I don't know if anyone else does these, the way it extends to 100 feet." Roll Lift is using Scheuerle trailers to transport components for two Southeast nuclear plants. "We got loads leaving CB&I in Lake Charles, La., headed to [the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in] Jenkinsville, S.C., and [the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in]Waynesboro, Ga.," he says. "These are 80-ft-long, 150,000-lb loads—not many trailers out there can do that."
On display at CONEXPO 2014 this past March in Las Vegas was a Scheuerle trailer purchased by Bragg Cos.' heavy-transport division. "We have a mixed fleet: Scheuerle, some Goldhofer," says Bob Weyers, general manger. "We bought that one at Bauma, but we're also looking at two machines being made in Florida, if we can get the weights right for California rules," he says. "We keep our machines very busy, particularly the dual-lane trailers. Right now, we're using some to move wind-turbine machine heads for an eight-month project in Texas, and we got a 320,000-lb transformer—for an electric company here in California—moving soon. We like Scheuerle. They stand behind their products."
The trailer supplier increased sales last year in North America, Schlegel says. "It's too early to name figures [for U.S.- assembled trailers], but we have had a promising start," she adds. Plans for the future include expanding the partnership to other TII Group products developed for the North American market.