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Ohlmeier and AL-KO: working together to keep the boat from rocking

As the old Chinese proverb goes: “Not the wind, but the sail determines the direction.” And this is exactly how the company Ohlmeier Anhängercenter GmbH sees things. The family business is based in Leopoldshöhe in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and manufactures boat trailers tailor made to customer requirements and in line with the highest quality standards. And AL-KO has been part of the crew for over 20 years, providing top-quality components.

Tailor-made boat trailers are the order of the day at the Ohlmeier factory. | © Ohlmeier Anhängercenter GmbH
Tailor-made boat trailers are the order of the day at the Ohlmeier factory. © Ohlmeier Anhängercenter GmbH

Tailor-made boat trailers

Ohlmeier has been manufacturing high-quality boat trailers for more than 45 years

Tailor-made boat trailers have been the order of the day at the Ohlmeier factory for more than 45 years now. Boat owners can find everything they need and more at Ohlmeier: from 500-kilogram trailers to Slipmaster trailers, Ohlmeier’s groundbreaking, hydraulic boat storage system that can carry a total weight of up to 10 tonnes. The long-established trailer designer from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia can also be particularly proud of the fact that their designs can be customized to specific customer requirements right down to the very last detail: every trailer is devised and developed together with the boat owner and/or retailer to fit the individual boat. “Here at Ohlmeier, individuality knows no bounds,” explains Nils Stamp, Junior Managing Director at Ohlmeier. Working closely together with boat designers, trailers, and water sports associations, the company has really made a name for themselves on the European boat scene, paving the way for innovation in boat trailer design for decades now.

From automotive engineering to boat trailer manufacture

Top quality since 1963

August Ohlmeier founded the company Ohlmeier Bootsanhänger back in 1936 as an automotive engineering smithy, and it still operates at the same site to this day. At the start of the 1970s, the company entered the second generation and switched their focus to boat trailer design. Quality and longevity have always been at the heart of the brand’s philosophy. As the company entered the third generation with Martin Ohlmeier back in 1989, this philosophy also expanded to include paving the way for innovation in the sector.

AL-KO makes customers’ wishes comes true

Flexibility for a wide range of uses

Ohlmeier has been relying on AL-KO’s expertise for two decades now: “We foster a close partnership with AL-KO, not only when it comes to axles, but attachments and winches too,” explains Stamp. One of the main reasons the two companies work in such close collaboration is the individuality Ohlmeier strives for in their trailer design. Before things can get underway with trailer production, information about the specific boat has to be collected. “The weight, size, height and shape of the boat and even the contour of the hull all play a decisive role in terms of how the trailer needs to be designed.”

Factors like helm position and weight distribution come into play, too, depending on whether the boat has an inboard or outboard engine, for example. Stamp explains that these aspects determine the boat’s center of gravity and therefore have a decisive influence on how the trailer and axles should be designed. According to Stamp: “A sailboat’s center of gravity is relatively central, whilst a motorboat’s is further to the rear.”

In Stamp’s own words, the company needs “a partner with a high degree of flexibility” for the vast array of specific customer requirements to be taken into consideration in trailer design. For example, axles with waterproof bearings are particularly important for slipping, when the boat is launched into the water backwards from the trailer. If this is done frequently, it can cause wheel bearings to corrode and heat up due to the friction created. According to Stamp: “Fitting waterproof bearings means that it happens much less frequently that bearings have to be replaced due to corrosion.” “Quality, safety and individuality. That’s what customers expect from Ohlmeier boat trailers – and that’s what they get too.

Boats are in the very best hands with Ohlmeier and AL-KO

A close and successful cooperation

AL-KO VT works closely together with the family-run Ohlmeier business to help them deliver on this promise, and doesn’t just drawn on their own expertise to do so, but that of DexKo Global, too,” explains Pierre Auf dem Brinke, Northern Region Sales Manager at AL-KO VT. “Boats are precious cargo and customers can be rest assured they’re in safe hands with Ohlmeier and AL-KO.”

AL-KO’s expertise helps create custom products

Driving safety and comfort rank highly for customers

The trailer specialists at Ohlmeier produce around 500 trailers a year and, to this end, they always keep a stock of AL-KO products in their warehouse, including chassis components from 750 to 3,500 kilograms, cable winches and stabilizers. For highly specialized custom products, Ohlmeier gets into direct contact with the AL-KO experts to devise designs together. “For example, this is the case when a customer requires axle blocks that can be adjusted to counterbalance weight.”

Stamp is very aware that AL-KO components are indispensable. “Our customers expect high quality and we, in turn, expect such quality from our suppliers, and we know we can rely on AL-KO.” AL-KO also provides top class when it comes to safety and driving comfort. “At the end of the day, boats are precious cargo. Say a boat costs around 250,000 Euros, then if it ends up falling down, things can get very expensive.”

Boats are high-price cargo that require a high-quality means of transportation. | © Ohlmeier Anhängercenter GmbH
Boats are high-price cargo that require a high-quality means of transportation. © Ohlmeier Anhängercenter GmbH

AL-KO Trailer Control for commercial trailers

An anti-snaking system for safe trailer maneuvering

Safety is particularly important when it comes to maneuvering trailers, which is why AL-KO has also designed the ATC for commercial trailers. ATC (AL-KO Trailer Control) is an anti-snaking system that uses sensors to detect when trailers are making any dangerous lateral movements. This means that as soon as a trailer starts to sway slightly due to excessive speed or a gust of wind, the sensors will detect this and gently apply the trailer brakes via Bowden cables. Thanks to this short but effective intervention, the vehicle-trailer combination is extended and stabilized. ATC is available in different designs for trailers with a maximum laden weight of up to 3.5 tonnes. AL-KO Trailer Control can only be mounted in combination with an AL-KO axle and AL-KO wheel brake.