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Cartwright Trailers and Fowler Welch collaborate on innovation that reduces carbon footprint

Cartwright Trailers and Fowler Welch collaborate on innovation that reduces carbon footprint

Cartwright Trailers has won an order from logistics expert Fowler Welch for 10 innovative new trailers that can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint per pallet/mile.

The companies collaborated on the design which is a first for the industry – a versatile refrigerated trailer which can be loaded either by Automated Pallet Delivery or by slower methods such as forklift trucks.

The new trailer offers the huge commercial advantage of making it far easier to find back loads for return journeys. Trailers fitted with APD often run empty on return, which is neither cost-effective nor environmentally-friendly.

The potential for reducing carbon emissions per pallet/mile is enormous – up to 40% depending upon the weight of goods on the pallet for a fully-laden journey in both directions compared with a fully laden outbound and empty return trip.

Finding backloads for APD trailers is challenging because they are restricted to picking up loads at bays fitted with matching APD equipment, thus reducing the range of potential customers. There is a risk of damaging the APD slip-chain mechanism inside the trailer if forklifts are used.

Cartwright’s new trailer gets around this difficulty because it has a drop-down floor that is stored at ceiling height then lowered to cover and protect the slip-chain mechanism whenever loading by forklift truck is required.

Cartwright Trailers Technical Director, Lionel Curtis, said: “When Fowler Welch approached us and proposed a drop-down floor as a solution for making APD trailers more flexible and efficient we were delighted to take on the project.

“We have substantial experience in designing drop-down floors and this innovative use of appropriate technologies is a real breakthrough in the sector which will deliver cost and environmental benefits.

“By making it easier to find back loads we can help our customers run more efficient operations and meet their corporate social responsibility to reduce their carbon footprints.”

Head of Fleet at Fowler Welch, Paul Allera, who first proposed the drop-down floor, said: “Empty running is to be avoided if at all possible because it is an extravagant use of resources – it wastes fuel and adds to greenhouse gas emissions for no extra benefit.

“We approached Cartwright because we knew they had the right pedigree for the job and we are delighted with the results. We will run the trailers on 180-mile round trips for a customer that is seriously committed to carbon reduction.”

Each 13.6 metre trailer can carry goods at temperatures ranging from minus -6°C to ambient and can be fully loaded with 26 pallets in just 90 seconds by APD. The slip-chain mechanism is protected by a drop-down floor constructed of aluminium alloy which contains an open mesh arrangement at the front to ensure adequate air flow from the refrigeration unit when this floor is in its normal raised position. When required, the protective floor is lowered using a hydraulic system.

Fowler Welch is a leading fast moving consumer goods chain organisation that moves ambient and temperature-controlled products 365 days a year. It moves 150,000 pallets a day to customers.

Altrincham-based Cartwright Trailers, which is entering its 65th year of manufacturing in the UK, has a long history of engineering excellence and innovation and works closely with its customers to produce bespoke designs.

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