Matty Winterfield of Mount Gambier based Winterfields Float Hire explains that his third hybrid steering widener trailer, featuring a uniquely designed and engineered platform has an added advantage over the earlier two in that in addition to self-steering going forwards it can be command steered in reverse. He says the design combines the stability of a full widener with the manoeuvrability and reduced tyre wear of a deck widener.
“The difference with this new hybrid over the previous two we owned is that we have wireless remote-controlled command steering so we can steer it in reverse which is another key benefit when negotiating tight access locations,” says Matty.
The locking mechanism for the steer axles and also the command-steerability is operated via remote control from inside the prime mover cab or by a switch at the rear of the trailer. Matty says he locks the axles in the straight-ahead position at speeds over 60km/h which means the trailer tracks well at highway speeds.
Other features of the hybrid that he appreciates are the 13-metre deck length and bi-fold ramps, both of which assist in the loading and carrying of plant and quarry equipment including crushing and screening machines that are long and have low ground clearance.
“The bi-fold ramps are longer with less ramp-over angle which is handy when loading long gear with low ground clearance; and the longer deck enables us to position the loads better for ideal weight distribution over the axle groups,” says Matty, adding that a new 2×8 Drake dolly was also purchased to replace a 2×4 unit, raising the payload capacity from 50 to 60 tonnes.
“We carry some machinery that bumps over the 50-tonne mark so it’s necessary to have the extra capacity of the 2×8 dolly,” says Matty. “With the extra metre of deck length over the previous unit, we are able to position heavy equipment to ensure all our axle weights are spot on.”
The hybrid float widens to 3.7 metres and Matty also specified extra tie-down points on the deck s because in his words, “you can never have enough tie-down points.”
He also had extra toolboxes fitted along with three-way container pins which add versatility to what can be carried. There’s also a hydraulic winch mounted at the front which is vital for the truck breakdown and recovery work that the company does.
Chrome plated steel rims of 19.5 inch diameter finish off the look of the float nicely, and it also has wind-down landing legs and hydraulics that operate from a pump mounted on the truck’s engine rather than a power pack on the trailer.
When it came to performance to pull up to 60 tonnes of payload, Matty went right to the top of the Scania totem pole, ordering the R 730 about four years ago which he says is ideal when up on the weight and in heavy going up hills and in off-road forest work.
The Scania has notched up 500,000km in the four years since it was bought new and Matty says the Scania Repair and Maintenance package works well for his business.
“It’s a fixed cost so you don’t have to worry about fluctuating servicing costs which is a big bonus in my book,” says Matty. “I’d sooner pay the fixed cost every month because you can factor that into the business much easier than unpredictable expenses.
“With both the truck and float I need to know that I can hook up and head off to Perth or Brisbane or anywhere in between at a moment’s notice without the worry of something going awry.”
All up, for Matty Winterfield there is no substitute for high quality equipment that enables him to do his job with the utmost confidence, thereby enabling him to get the work done in the most efficient, safe, comfortable and cost-effective manner possible. With the Scania R 730 prime mover and Drake 4×4 Hybrid float, which is command steered in reverse, he truly believes he has the best of both worlds.