Lightweight construction is a crucial buzzword in the trailer industry. But what lies behind this technology? What role does it play in Kögel’s trailer manufacture? And how do our customers benefit from lightweight construction? We have put together the answers to these and other questions for you here as a miniseries.
Kögel is already well versed in the future. Because whenever Paul Stempfle, Head of Predevelopment and Supply Chain Management, considers the future of the company, he also considers technology that has been in use at Kögel for a long time now: lightweight construction. “After all, Kögel is one of the first and most active operators of lightweight design in the trailer industry,” explains Paul Stempfle.
Accordingly, Kögel currently offers the lightest vehicles on the market in the standard segment (P90, P120). In this area, the base weight has reduced by around 1 t to just 5.9 t over the past ten years, for example. And in the light segment, the vehicle tare weight is actually under 5 t now. Here, lightweight construction is essentially used in all Kögel models – always precisely tailored to the application and requirements of the respective vehicle, of course. “Because a trailer that is also going to be used in rail or ship transportation, for example, has to satisfy different stability and robustness requirements than a light trailer,” says Paul Stempfle.
The benefits of lightweight construction are clear for Kögel’s customers: lightweight construction reduces the weight of the trailer. Vehicles thereby consume considerably less fuel – especially on empty runs – which saves money for forwarders when fuel prices are high in particular. At the same time, lighter vehicles can carry a higher payload. Sometimes, this means customers are even able to reduce the number of additional trips needed.
For Paul Stempfle, these benefits of lightweight construction also bring additional challenges for Kögel’s manufacturing: “In lightweight construction, it is always about making vehicles lighter without reducing the quality of the workmanship, the service life, the handling and the overall performance of the vehicle,” explains the mechanical engineer. This is why Kögel leaves nothing to chance in lightweight construction and operates, among other things, a comprehensive testing strategy: all vehicles with a lightweight design have to go through elaborate testing – from testing for poor road conditions to stress tests on the base plate using forklifts to body tests for optimal load securing. Only if a lightweight construction model passes all these tests can it go into production.
Want to find out more about lightweight construction at Kögel? In part two of our lightweight construction series, we will present this technology in even more detail.