At a short distance from my place, there’s a big manufacturing plant where all kinds of concrete paving materials are produced. It’s situated in the river forelands and only one road leads to the site. You just have to walk alongside that road to catch the dedicated semis, used for transporting the heavy end products.
The flatbed semi-trailers come with tall dropsides and are always equipped with a diesel powered rolloader crane. A wide spread tridem is the most common axle configuration; the first axle is liftable, whereas the second and third axle are steering axles. The payload capacity for such a set-up is somewhere around 40 metric tons (88,000 lbs).
Here’s another loaded Henken rig, thundering down from the top of the river embankment. It seems to be identical to the one in the first picture. This 2017 Scania S500 tractor is towing a 2019 KWB semi-trailer.
Next is a DAF XF – Floor combination. Only the semi-trailer’s rearmost axle is a steering axle. You can tell by the spacing between the Floor’s axles. Way back, the Floor company also assembled Mack trucks and tractors for our market, these were supplanted by their own FTF branded vehicles.
I mentioned the tridem axle configuration. How about a quad axle group with two liftable and two steering axles? Coupled to a 4×2 tractor, you also get six axles in total. Pictured a 2018 Scania R450 with a 2016 KWB.
This 2000 Pacton-Kennis is today’s only semi-trailer with dual wheels. The tractor is a 2019 DAF XF 480 FTS, that’s a 6×2 tractor chassis with a liftable tag axle.
A 2018 Scania R650 V8, coming from the other direction, so driving empty. The axles are lifted, the rolloader crane is driven forwards.
Manufacturer Excluton also has a whole fleet of big rigs to distribute their own concrete products. They rely on MAN and DAF tractors.
This 2017 MAN TGX is in full swing, rounding the roundabout to return to its homebase. The steering axles prevent the semi-trailer from taking a shortcut when the tractor turns, something that standard semi-trailers inherently do.
A 2019 Volvo FH16 (as in 16 liter displacement) 4×2 tractor with a 2007 Vogelzang quad axle semi-trailer. Stomping Swede, with almost 2.7 liter displacement per cylinder.
A.E. Hoogendoorn’s splendid, seven axle combination. A 2018 Scania R580 V8 (Hammering Swede), towing a 2008 Kennis. This tour’s winner, in my book.
An other walk, an other location. Late March, I shot a few combinations that were also used to get a load of paving materials at the same plant. Here’s a 2016 Volvo FM 4×2. The FM is the smaller brother, especially cab-wise, of the FH-series.
A DAF XF and MAN TGX, respectively. Both with a liftable and steering pusher axle.
The last one, Van Essen’s 2012 Volvo FM 4×2 with a rather short semi-trailer, yet still with the usual tridem axle set-up. Undoubtedly, this combination is also used to deliver the goods at the customer’s doorstep. I like the color scheme, combining silver with shades of blue always works out well.
Related articles (similar rigs, standing still):
2017 Volvo FH16 6×2 Tractor And 2013 Vogelzang Semi-Trailer – Prize-Winning Brick Hauler
Heavy Brick Haulers Photoreport – The River Delta Is Their Homebase
Old Truck Guy says, COOL STUFF, JOHANNES!” THanks
Quads are common here I dont like them much only rear axle steers on ours multi steering axles proved to dangerous and were banned some time ago Only our tanker has a liftable steer axle and only when its empty the theory is when you shift into reverse the axle locks automatically and you can back up safely it doesnt always work on some of our trailers
I would love to see some photos of those steerable trailer axles. You don’t see this stuff over here in the States. We had tow plows with two steerable axles for plowing snow in the lane next to the lane the plow truck is clearing. The steering is hydraulic and in manually controlled by the operator and you got to be careful or you end up doing some real damage.
Steering semi-trailer axles go back decades. The “oldest” systems work with long rods or with a cable, both guided by the position of the tractor’s fifth wheel coupling. Proven technology and still highly common now. Later on, electro-hydraulic systems became available.
Steering wing-long rods:
Cable-system (often used when conditions can get a bit rough):
And the website of a manufacturer of electro-hydraulic systems:
Johannes Dutch, thank you for posting those links. Very interesting stuff. I had never thought of steering by pivoting the whole axle. It would be a job getting an alignment done. I did alignment work on twin steer concrete pumpers. no manuals on how to do it. I would have to study the layout and then figure out where to start. One manufacturer went thru three different configurations before they got as system that work properly loaded, unloaded and on/off road. Those concrete pumpers are beasts.
You see, we love brick houses and concrete.
That is why these factories are situated on the river banks, the silk that the river would deposit was used as raw material to literally bake stones and cobbles.
Here’s the plant. Sitting high, as it will be fully surrounded by the river when its level is high (normally at the end of the winter). I took this picture 5 years ago.
If I’m not mistaken, it used to be a brick works, a long time ago. Modernized and expanded in the past decades..
As an aside, the company owner has a massive and impressive collection of classic cars and big trucks: https://www.metropoledruten.nl/