Trailer Productivity - Doors and Lifts

Trailer Productivity – Doors and Lifts

While systems and components on commercial vehicles are carefully specified to maximize efficiency on the road, the specification choices fleets make also can greatly impact productivity during loading and unloading operations.

While systems and components on commercial vehicles are carefully specified to maximize efficiency on the road, the specification choices fleets make also can greatly impact productivity during loading and unloading operations.

One of those choices involves trailer doors. Traditional swing-type rear trailer doors offer the widest opening for maximum loading. But, for fleets that make multiple deliveries and pickups, roll-up or overhead rear doors may be a better solution. By lifting up and out of the way, these doors allow drivers to back up to a dock or into a tight loading area and then open the door.


Whiting Door Manufacturing Co. offers a range of roll-up doors for dry freight operations. The manufacturer’s premium model features 7-ply, 3/4-in. panels laminated with a medium-density overlay. Options include aluminum or stainless-steel-clad panels or 1-in. thick plywood. Whiting’s CargoGuard door is designed with 3/4-in. plywood bonded to aluminum to form rigid structural panels that are designed to withstand load shifts. The doors also have vertical rub rails that act as cargo guards.

Whiting also offers insulated roll-up doors. For loads requiring transport temperatures below 20 ºF, the Whiting Coldsaver door for trucks and trailers features extruded aluminum panels with foam-in-place urethane insulation. TempGuard insulated doors from Whiting can be specified for trucks and trailers carrying food at or above 20 ºF. These doors feature an aluminum exterior facing and a one-piece pultruded fiberglass shell with foam-in-place urethane insulation.

Todco Manufacturing offers 2-1/2- and 1-1/8-in. PolarGuard insulated roll-up doors with pultruded fiberglass panels and moisture-resistant polyurethane foam cores designed to prevent BTU loss and add strength. The 1-1/8-in. PolarGuard door requires a minimum of seven inches, and the 2-1/2-in. model requires 9 ins. of headroom.

Todco also offers its DualTight door that features 24-mm pre-painted aluminum that is rolled on and crimped to a 3/4- or 1-in. marine plywood core. For added moisture resistance, the inside surface is sealed with ToughShell, Todco’s primer coating.


Liftgates are another choice made by fleets to enhance productivity in loading and unloading operations, which can enable drivers to deliver greater quantities of cargo in less time than it would take to load and unload the same product manually. The use of a liftgate also may eliminate the need for helpers, minimize cargo damage and, by eliminating the need for some heavy lifting, reduce injuries and workers’ compensation claims.

Holland USA has begun offering two of its Truck Master liftgate series in the United States . The DH Series of Direct Hydraulic Twin Column liftgates offered in 4,500-, 5,500- and 6,600-lb. capacities feature a level-ride system that ensures the gate completes its cycle, even in low voltage or off-center loading conditions. In the system, twin pistons in a flow-dividing cylinder are locked together to feed each of the lift cylinders equally.

Also featuring the level-ride technology are Holland TL Series heavy-duty foldaway liftgates in 4,000- and 5,000-lb. capacities. The Truck Master TL4000 and TL5000 series with extra-large 88-in. flat “zero taper” wedge design platforms are designed for heavy loads. Twin cylinders and wide-spaced lifting arms are designed to provide stable handling of heavy off-center loads, the company notes. The TL family also has wear-resistant, pre-lubed composite bearings at all key pivot points and anti-rust undercoating on all steel platform cross members.

Available this year from Maxon Lift Corp. is the newly designed TE-25/TE-25L Series of liftgates. Designed for handling heavy loads, the single cylinder TE-25L series replaces the company’s TKL product line. Engineered to provide greater platform space to handle consolidated loads on small trucks with low beds, the new TE-25 Series features a 48- x 78.5-in. platform, a wedge flip section that allows for more loadable space, a torsion assisted flip-over that reduces the force required to fold the larger platform area and a revised extension plate for greater clearance.

Recently introduced by Maxon, as well, is the new FL7 Freight Lift Series for Sprinter and Hi-Top vans. The lightweight liftgate has a 33- x 53-in. mesh platform that lifts 800 lbs., and its universal design fits floor heights up to 48 ins. The FL7 also features a “Brain Box” that monitors voltage and current draw and warns of improper grounding.

Liftgate manufacturer Waltco offers a broad selection of products, including more than 50 standard models ranging in capacity from 1,000 to 6,000 lbs. Most of the company’s liftgates fall into one of the following six categories:

• Rail-type gates, available in medium-duty and heavy-duty models with capacities of 1,250 to 6,000 lbs., feature wide platforms and all-steel, steel-and-aluminum, or all-aluminum construction. Options include retention systems for specific applications.

• Conventional liftgates with 1,000- to 6,000-lb. capacities that require only minimal mount-frame clearance.

• Flipaway gates in capacities from 1,600 to 5,000 lbs. designed to flip under the bed for unobstructed dock loading and out to raise and lower loads from ground level.

• Level liftgates in capacities from 2,200 to 4,400 lbs. with tilting platforms that can double as a rear door.

• Sideloader liftgates in capacities from 2,000 to 4,000 lbs. for curbside pickups and deliveries.

• Pickup gate models with capacities up to 1,250 lbs. feature all-steel or all-aluminum construction and a low-profile platform that folds against the rear of the truck.

Anthony Liftgates, a full-line manufacturer, offers its Magnum RailTrac Liftgate for heavy-duty applications. Features of the model include standard dual pump and motor units, machined fittings, SAE “O” ring and JIC hydraulic connections and factory-installed cold weather hydraulic fluid. Other standard specifications of the design include no roller bearings to replace, platform lift cylinders mounted on self-aligning swivel ends that prevent sideloading and service-free bushings at all critical pivot points.

Thieman Tailgates markets a full line of hydraulic liftgates for light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and trailers. From a 1,000- to 6,600-lb. lifting capacity, Thieman prides itself on providing a liftgate for every application. A case in point: The company announced that the Thieman Tailgates TT-16, with a 1,600- lb. capacity, is now available as a TT-20 with a 2,000-lb. capacity. The TT-16/20’s large platform, available as 80- or 86-inches wide, and the 1,600- to 2,000-lb. lift capacity make awkward material easy to load and unload, the company says.

In addition, Thieman introduced a new addition to its M-Series liftgate line, the MDC (dual cylinder), which features an available platform size of 84- x 42-inch with a 10-inch retention ramp, or an 84- x 48-inch wedge-style platform. The MDC is available with a 2,500- or 3,000-lb. capacity.

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