Trailers with ramps for transporting plant and machinery
Plant carrier trailer is a name for a trailer with a main deck which is lower than the height of the tractor unit’s fifth wheel height. A plant carrier trailer is a Drop / Step frame trailer with ramps and may also be called:
- Swan’s neck trailers
- Machinery carrier
- Plant carrier
- Machinery trailer
- Plant trailer
- Low loader
- Step trailer
- Semi trailer
- Beaver tail
- Hydraulic ramp trailer
The name ‘Semi trailer’ is short for semi-lowloader. Plant trailers with hydraulic ramps are not low loaders proper, but have a lower deck height in common with low loaders.
The kingpin of the trailer is attached to the underside of the step frame trailer’s upper deck, enabling the trailer to be coupled to the tractor unit’s fifth wheel. The upper deck is built sufficiently high to accommodate the tractor unit.
The lower deck of a machinery carrier trailer is built at a lower level than the upper deck, enabling high loads to be moved without the total height of the loaded trailer exceeding the legal limits for normal road transport. The lower deck height with hydraulic ramps is generally 0.95m. They often have a beaver tail at both the rear of the trailer and also at the neck of the trailer. Plant trailers with hydraulic ramps are also fitted with built in pop-up neck ramps or a set of loose neck ramps to enable the loading of wheeled vehicles up on to the top deck of the trailer. The lower deck height of a machinery trailer with hydraulic ramps is wholly above the height of the trailer wheels, giving an uninterrupted flat lower deck. This make the trailer useful for moving a wide range of loads ranging from tractor units and excavators, through to JCB’s, road planning equipment, crushers, access equipment, forklifts, military equipment and vehicles.
Plant trailers are distinguished from low loaders by having a single lower deck height. In contrast, low loaders have three deck heights: the upper deck above the kingpin, the lower load-carrying deck, and a third deck height above the wheels. See low loader trailers.