AL-KO Trailer Control in action at Trebbiner FahrzeugFabrik
In an emergency, everything has to move quickly – this is true for any urgent response service. This often includes trailers for equipment or traffic diversions. However, a trailer can become a safety hazard for first responders when travelling at speed. That is why the Trebbiner FahrzeugFabrik relies on the AL-KO Trailer Control (ATC) anti-snaking system for its designs.
More safety for emergency services thanks to AL-KO's anti-snaking system
Less risk when driving with a trailer
When fire departments receive an emergency call, every second counts. There is no time to search for the equipment needed there and then. A new trailer click system from Trebbin in Brandenburg, half an hour's drive south of Berlin, allows firefighters to get to the scene particularly quickly. The AL-KO Trailer Control (ATC) stabilisation system prevents any swaying or skidding on the way to a fire or accident.
Floods, storm damage, animal rescues, and cars wedged together in accidents – the fire brigade volunteers have done more than just fight fires for a long time now. Their gear, in terms of materials, tools and other equipment, is now correspondingly comprehensive: from portable ladders to emergency inflatable mats, pedal cutters to welding equipment, hazardous substance pumps to life jackets. But while the emergency forces are regularly trained for any situation, no matter how high the risk, the helpers’ vehicles are only rarely up to date. They were also not designed as a permanent storage vehicle for all their different objects and devices.
Fire brigade trailers – time-consuming and difficult to handle
Containers control order
Some emergency operation centres therefore make do with modular, exchangeable containers that hold the material needed promptly for each operation so that it can simply be pushed onto an extra trailer in an emergency. It’s easy, thanks to a technically sophisticated click system for trailers from Trebbiner FahrzeugFabrik GmbH that ensures this process only takes a few seconds. The medium-sized company from Trebbin, Brandenburg, produces car trailers and truck bodies, and specialises in the development of very special trailers weighing more than 2.5 tonnes for fire brigades and the police, among other things.
“Our trailers and trailer system save a significant amount of time. This is especially true for volunteer firefighters who have to travel from home to the fire station,” says Dr Wolfgang Herold, managing partner of Trebbiner FahrzeugFabrik GmbH, which was founded in 1997.
AL-KO ATC in Trebbin
Fast around the curve with a trailer
But because such operations can sometimes involve high-speed turns, it is not just the trailer's click system that has to cope with especially large centrifugal forces. The trailers themselves also have to keep safely upright and on track in snow, rain or traffic jams while the emergency vehicle slaloms quickly between other vehicles. Dr Herold: “Fire brigades do not generally drive slowly to the scene. At roundabouts, for example, the need for a fast response time can result in dangerous situations with a high risk of skidding. The driver is not always familiar with the route, and sometimes the road conditions are dangerous. This can quickly lead to the trailer losing control and skidding.”
To prevent this from happening, Trebbiner FahrzeugFabrik GmbH has brought a specialist in chassis and suspension components on board. “We chose the AL-KO Trailer Control system from AL-KO Vehicle Technology because the system has an anti-snaking system that registers swaying movements via a lateral acceleration sensor,” Dr Herold continues. If the tolerance range for permissible lateral movements is exceeded, the ATC intervenes – even before the vehicle combination starts to rock – by activating the wheel brakes via Bowden cables.
AL-KO ATC in the fire brigade's traffic safety trailer
Already deployed at the Günzburg fire brigade
Briefly braking the trailer stretches out the vehicle combination and pulls it straight again. This reduces lateral acceleration and relieves the hazardous situation – so discreetly that the driver hardly notices anything, if at all. The challenge: For commercial trailers, the gross weight depends on the respective load, which varies for each operation. The ATC bases its response on the trailer’s maximum permissible gross weight and dynamically adjusts the system to the respective load. This means commercial trailers can be used safely even when driving at high speeds and with varying loads. A fact that has already provided great relief for the volunteer fire brigade in Günzburg, Bavaria.
AL-KO Vehicle Technology in action for the fire brigade
Safely ready for anything
For industry expert Dr Herold, this not only applies to fire brigades: Using click trailers from the Trebbiner vehicle factory with the ATC from AL-KO can also offer much more safety on the roads for road maintenance depots, police vehicles or the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief. The managing director knows this from his own experience behind the wheel: “I saw the benefits for myself before deciding to use the AL-KO system for our trailers. We will install the solution in different trailers in the future and even co-distribute it.”
Dr Herold was able to experience the ATC live at the ATC Test Days at AL-KO Vehicle Technology in Kötz. “These test days are particularly important to us as developers. Especially when it comes to safety, trust is supreme. And testing builds trust on the spot. We are proud to have convinced customers like Dr Herold, with his trained eye as an association functionary, that the ATC is right for them thanks to its quality, safety and innovation,” says Lukas Schwehr, Product Manager at AL-KO VT.
ATC under test
Trust is the highest good
“The ATC test days are a good example of how a sale should be made nowadays. You don’t always get the opportunity to convince yourself of a product’s quality and functionality. We are all the happier that Dr Herold has seized the opportunity, so we can continue our good relationship that has existed for many years and expand it with our ATC solution,” adds Pierre Auf dem Brinke, Area Sales Manager North at AL-KO VT.
The ATC is to be seen as an aid for handling vehicle combinations. It is not capable of mitigating grossly negligent driving responses or adverse loading conditions to the extent that accidents can be completely prevented at all times, nor is it designed to do so. The ATC is available in different versions for trailers up to a maximum permissible gross weight of 3.5 tonnes. AL-KO Trailer Control can only be fitted in combination with an AL-KO axle and an AL-KO wheel brake. The system should also only be installed by trained professionals.