A trailer must also move with time. With a recyclable composite floor, Wagenbouw Hapert takes an important step towards a sustainable trailer.
Constructed as a lasagna, of different layers of fiberglass and polypropylene. Light weight and yet strong. The composite floor in Hapert Trailers is a novelty in the industry.
The plastic material has been used for some time in planes, boats, buses and trailers. Hapert’s market leader in trailers in the Netherlands also believes the time is ripe. “We have started to think more sustainably. This also applies to contractors and landscape gardeners, “says director Ad Keeris.
Sustainability is a hot topic across the entire transportation sector, Keeris says. “Over time, the wooden floor must therefore give way to composite. Wood is a beautiful material, but composite weighs half the weight, can be used longer, is more durable and is easily recyclable. ”
At present, wood is mainly used, which is composed of glue and a plastic or chemical top layer. The composite material, on the other hand, has the advantage that it is simpler and fully recyclable due to its composition, explains Lenard Kuklewski, who is responsible for the company’s supply chain. “After crushing by injection molding, this composite can be used to make plastic products such as plastic caps. This floor is also not sensitive to weathering and temperature differences, and the top layer is easy to repair. The trailer can last a lifetime.”
The composite floor is produced locally according to the Hapert builder’s specifications of Compoform, which with its new factory is located in Ospel. They have set up a special production line about 70 meters long for these floors.
The first cars with the new floor were installed in Hapert. Series production of the floors for the first hundreds of cars will start in Ospel in July. The developer does not immediately expect to be able to celebrate a box office success. The traditionally oriented industry needs to get used to it. “We will offer the composite floor as an option. We are not moving completely away from wood yet. We want to let the market taste this product and experience its benefits, ”explains Kuklewski.
He is convinced that the buyer with the composite floor will eventually get cheaper. The trailer is a few percent more expensive to purchase, but it is offset by the longevity and lower fuel costs. »The wood material weighs ten to fifteen kilos per square meter, the composite material four to six kilos. The use of composite material can make a closed trailer a total of about 250 kilos lighter and a tipper truck with a steel floor about 120 kilos. ” With a lighter trailer, you can drive more economically, and you also generate fewer emissions.
The extra reinforced top layer makes the floor super strong and could also lead to a lighter construction of the car. “We may need to use smaller support steels due to the properties and strength of the floor.”
For the company, which has about 100 employees, the composite floor is the prelude to more, explains director Keeris. It is being tested whether composite can also be used for the walls of the caravan.
The various current challenges in the supply of traditional materials such as steel, wood and plastic provide an extra impetus for the search for alternative, sustainable solutions.
Wagenbouw Hapert is also looking at whether it can find as many sustainably functioning suppliers as possible. “We already use aluminum from a supplier that only uses electricity from renewable sources in its production. For example, the energy from its own hydropower plant is utilized. We want to produce the most sustainable cars. The composite floor is a long-term investment. Ultimately, this will result in further growth of the company. “