Imagine driving a dump trailer and having to deliver 50 yards of mulch to a nearby garden centre, then 65 yards of gravel the next day.
You fill up your trailer, but it can only fit 40 yards, so you have to take two trips of mulch. Once you get to the garden centre, you have to dump the mulch out in the yard rather than taking it inside because you can’t raise the dump inside the building — the roof isn’t high enough. The ground isn’t level at the garden centre so finding a place to dump takes time. The customer is annoyed because you can’t dump the material where it’s needed. The next day, you have to jump into the dump and clean it out so that you can haul different material. The separate trips, extra cleaning and safety concerns are bound to frustrate the driver and owner.
Many people in the composting, excavating and landscaping industry face these problems every day. Ralph Deveau is a driver for Spectacle Lake, a company based in Nova Scotia that deals in landscaping, excavating and construction. Spectacle Lake was interested in buying a new trailer for hauling materials from mulch, sand and topsoil. But it ran into problems.
“We haul 65 yards. We were looking at dump trailers but most of them only come in 40 yards. Most places it’s not level so with 60 yards it’s impossible to dump in a lot of places,” Deveau says.
When working at excavation sites, dump trailers are dangerous. The ground is often torn up and uneven. The ground has to be even for a dump trailer to unload, because if the load is off centre, there is a possibility of roll over. The centre of gravity has to be perfect and the load has to come out evenly and at a controlled pace in order for the unloading process to be successful. Dump trailer drivers who work in the landscaping and excavating business deal with these problems every day.
Overhead wires are also a concern for drivers. When raising the dump trailer, the area has to be clear of wires. Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid the wires.
“If they want to dump in the driveway, there are wires going to the house,” Deveau says.
George Ing, owner of Zephyr Garden Soils in Toronto, delivers peat moss, topsoil and triple mix to garden centres around the city. He also has problems on the job. His main issues are safety while unloading, the size of a load that can be transported in one trip and unloading inside buildings.
All of these issues were solved when Ing purchased a Trout River live-bottom trailer last year. Unlike a dump trailer, a live bottom does not have to be raised to unload materials. The conveyor belt at the bottom of the tub allows for material to come out cleanly and at a controlled pace. The lower centre of gravity on a Trout River means the chances of roll over are slim because the unit can unload on an uneven space. Ing no longer worries about material sticking in the top corners of the tub and creating a hazard for the driver and people on the work site.
“The material we haul sticks sometimes, so this system is a lot safer. You can off load on an angle. You don’t need to have it level,” Ing says.” For my material, it’s fantastic.”
Spectacle Lake purchased a Trout River live bottom trailer in 2002. Deveau says that one of the advantages from a live bottom trailer is the flexibility for hauling different materials. Spectacle Lake hauls everything from mulch to gravel to topsoil and sand. When switching between materials, the job is made easier because the conveyor belt helps the tub to empty clean.
Ing changes the materials that are hauled on a constant basis but he rarely gets into the tub to clean. When he does, he finds the task easy compared to dump trailers that he’s used.
“It takes a few minutes to clean. That’s all. It’s safe too. If you have to clean out a dump trailer, it’s a lot of work,” he says.
Deveau says his live bottom fits into a lot of buildings, making the unloading process easier and less time consuming for both the driver and customer.
“When you get to the site, usually the material gets dumped at the door,” he says. “But now with this live bottom trailer, most of them have doors big enough.”
Dumping at the door and leaving a pile of material for the customers to clean up and put in the appropriate place is a hassle for the client. Using a live bottom cuts out the extra step and helps the customer to save time and money.
The live bottom also means larger pay loads for the owner. A lot of dump trailers carry 40 yards, but Deveau said his trailer, which carries 65, is handy when trying to save time and get more delivered at once. The three to five minute unloading time also helps to achieve those goals.
Not all the Trout River customers use the live bottoms for farming or construction. The trailer is flexible in that a variety of materials can be hauled. Attachments can also be added on to help people with their hauling needs.
Mlanie Bernard is with Trout River Industries in Coleman, Prince Edward Island. Contact email@example.com