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Steel and Aluminum Drop Decks Serve Different Needs

Although regular semi trailers and flatbeds handle most of the nation’s freight, drop deck trailers are an indispensable part of the trucking industry. Typical drop decks offer approximately 20-in more vertical space which helps to accommodate:

  • Larger steel and aluminum coils
  • Farm equipment
  • Aircraft engines
  • Oversized electrical equipment
  • Large mechanical components

Steel, Aluminum or a Combination

Every kind of drop deck trailer offers its own advantages. Steel is super-rugged, aluminum is lightweight and steel-aluminum combos offer some of the advantages of each. For example, an aluminum trailer weighs roughly 1,200-1,500 pounds less than a comparable steel trailer. Although aluminum designs typically require a larger initial capital outlay, increased payloads generate more revenue over time.

However, steel drop deck trailers that stand up to particularly rugged duty are often preferred in the construction and oil/gas industries. Specially designed steel drop decks are also increasingly popular for the transportation of towers and blades used in giant wind turbines.

Design Considerations

Steel is hard enough to accommodate 90-degree bends, while softer aluminum must be more carefully engineered to distribute weight and avoid stress fractures. Since steel has the edge in terms of pure strength, aluminum cross members have to be both taller and thicker. This is not an issue with a standard flatbed, since the added width is easily accommodated under the trailer. However, this is not true with a drop deck. Therefore, it is important to consider that an aluminum drop deck trailer is about one inch taller than a steel one.

Country Supply offers quality drop deck trailers manufactured by Doonan, XL Specialized and others. For friendly and professional assistance, please contact us today!


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