Crouching tiger01 November 2017

13.6m tri-axle, step frame fixed double-decker

An expanding trailer builder is Tiger Trailers, which is planning to start construction of a new, 125,000ft² factory in Cheshire at the beginning of next year, in a £14 million initial investment.

A phase two expansion will add another 100,000 ft² with the right business demand. Once completed, the £22 million factory will have a production capacity of 120 trailers a week and will measure four times the size of Tiger Trailers’ current base in Winsford.

John Cartwright, joint managing director, said: “The current factory, although one of the most modern in Europe, was adapted to suit our requirements. The ability to design and build a new factory from the ground up will be hugely advantageous for us.”

An extra 270 staff would be employed once the factory reaches full production, taking the company’s total to more than 500, and there are plans for a dedicated training centre to double Tiger Trailers’ current apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Warrington & Vale Royal College (formerly Mid Cheshire College). The first cohort of the three-year Level 3 engineering manufacturing apprenticeship, which has enrolled more than 30 apprentices, recently completed the course. Each one learns the skills of the industry on the shop floor, working with a mentor for four months on each of the major manufacturing stages; from body building and welding, through to auto electrics and pre-delivery inspection.

This year, the latest recruits are tackling a two-year, Level 2 programme, leaving off the mostly classroom-based third year in response to apprentice feedback. (Tiger will continue to support individuals to Level 3 on a case-by-case basis.)

Fellow joint MD Steven Cartwright says: “We want to build a passionate, skilled workforce here at Tiger, and our apprentices are very much a part of that. We put a lot of effort into the programme and are willing to invest in every single person who joins the course.”

Meanwhile, in production, the company continues to innovate; it has recently delivered the first batch of 40 of a new type of double-deck trailer to customer Maxi Haulage, specifically designed for customers delivering to the Republic of Ireland (pictured above). The new 13.6-metre tri-axle, step frame fixed double-deck trailers will be used to transport retail cages between the UK and Ireland. Tiger Trailers was tasked by Maxi Haulage to develop a solution that would offer a completely flat lower deck while also meeting the 4.65-metre Irish height restrictions – which it believes to be the first time such a combination has been successfully achieved.

Andy McGuire, general manager at Maxi Haulage, says: “In the past, the 4.65-metre trailers we’ve taken to Ireland have had to include wheel boxes within the load space on the lower deck. We wanted this to be completely flat so that we could carry more cages per load. Tiger stepped up to the challenge and the result has been an increase of seven cages, or 10%.”

Tiger’s design also moved away from independent suspension, the only way such trailers were previously able to run low enough. This made them significantly more likely to sustain damage, which in turn increased running costs. These low-running trailers also made ferry loading and unloading much more difficult, so Tiger and Maxi Haulage consulted the ferry companies during the development stage.

Now, it has installed BPW eco plus drum brake axles fitted with 215/75R 17.5in tyres. The trailer design has a fifth wheel height of 1,250mm.

In addition to the flat deck, Tiger included other bespoke elements in the design, including gates on the neck of the trailers to help secure all available load space and a sloping rear floor to simplify loading and unloading.

Steve Banner

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