TECHNICAL RELEASE 12-R-14
Chip: trailers May 2012 www.forestresources.org/members/serpub/12-R-14.html
INTRODUCTION: Covering and uncovering of tarps on open-top chip trailers is a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous process. Wall Timber Products Inc. of Fairfax, South Carolina has overcome this challenge by equipping his new chip trailers with an automated, hinged tarp system similar to the automated tarps used by some dump trucks and trash haulers.
OPERATION: After the trailer has been loaded with chips or residues from underneath a bin, the driver pulls forward and uses the electronic controls to raise the tarp quickly over the top of the load. This automated tarp-covering system saves time when compared with climbing on the trailer to pull the tarps over the loads, or compared with pulling the tarps over from the safety of a catwalk or other means. In addition, this hinged tarp covering eliminates the situation in which a manually-spread tarp occasionally might snag on a small amount of chips that extend over the top plane of the chip trailer.
The hinged tarp system does not interfere with any action of an automated chip dump. The tarp remains over the load during dumping and when the driver leaves with the empty trailer.
APPLICATION: The driver never has to climb on top of a load or catwalk to deal with any problems with the chips or with the tarp, so it greatly improves safety. In addition, the tarping and untarping process occurs much more rapidly than any manual method. For a driver who hauls a few loads a day, this can amount to additional loads hauled in a week, month, and year. While Britt Wall has not tried specifically to measure the productivity gains, he states that the biggest benefit is in employee safety: lower driver exposure to slipping, falling, and exertion hazards that can lead to torn muscles, ligaments, knees, etc. The result is increased driver availability and fewer insurance claims.
SPECIFICATIONS AND COST: Wall Timber Products purchased the ITI chip trailers from Pinnacle Trailers (www.pinnacletrailers.com) in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pinnacle installed the flip tarp systems. This system costs approximately $2,700, which is about $700 more than a conventional tarp system, according to Britt Wall. The automated tarp system, including the hinged arms and motor, adds approximately 400 pounds to the weight of the trailer. The trash hauling and dump industry has used electric flip tarp systems for many years. Mr. Wall borrowed this idea from his customers in the trash hauling industry.
Reviewed by: Rick Meyer Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager