The UK & Ireland’s largest trailer producer SDC has launched their Freespan Curtainsider to operators in the UK following years of building it solely for the Irish market. Featuring a clear side aperture for ease of loading, the Freespan is packed full of innovation that will enhance efficiency in everyday loading and logistics operations.
The launch is driven by a market need for locally produced Freespan trailers, manufactured to the high level of exacting standards which UK operators demand. While SDC previously provided a Freespan solution in conjunction with Lawrence David, this arrangement came to an end when Polish manufacturer Wielton purchased a 75% stake in Lawrence David, with chassis now being imported from Poland for their pillarless model.
Built on SDC’s robotically welded chassis with over 150,000 units manufactured, the EN-XL rated Freespan Curtainsider is an evolution of their diverse curtainsider range which continues to dominate the market. SDC’s COO Paul Bratton said: “We are delighted to finally release the Freespan trailer in the UK after years of building it solely for the Irish market, providing a reliable solution for customers who require a side loading operation.”
The ‘Rail’ Solution
A big advantage of SDC’s Freespan is the ease of operation, featuring 5* ‘Easy-roll’ curtain rail technology, a low-friction track system for optimum trailer performance. Designed in-house by SDC’s engineering team, the technology has been proven on their curtainsider range over the last 40 years. The curtains glide effortlessly along a clear side aperture and specially designed low friction alloy roof rail, ensuring maximum safety during loading and unloading. SDC is the first manufacturer to offer the unique curtain rail in the Freespan market, with Paul revealing that the Easy-roll curtain rail technology has “revolutionised trailer performance, delivering significant savings and advancing safety with its robust design and reliable operation. The alloy rail features a curved design so that there is no ledge for dirt to gather, which would otherwise impact the function of the curtain.”
Manufactured in high tensile steel, the Freespan incorporates SDC’s unique bolt on body which relieves stress on critical parts of the trailer and allows for ease of repair in the case of accident damage. The bodywork and curtains have been independently tested by TUV Nord to EN 12642 XL standard and a 29,000kg payload, guaranteeing the structural build. Paul added:
“We carefully designed and tested every element of the Freespan model using FEA analysis and prototype testing to ensure the product was consistent and reliable, providing long-lasting durability and ease of operation with minimal driver intervention at the roadside. Our trailers are wholly UK manufactured using the highest quality materials and our state-of-the-art robotic welding technology ensures unrivalled precision.”
Another benefit is SDC’s ability to design and manufacture to the customer’s exact specification and transport requirements. A straight or step frame option can be customised to any length, with any combination of door, floor, storage and load restraint, as well as aerodynamic aids for optimised performance and efficiency. Paul explains that bespoke manufacturing is something that SDC do very well; “it lets us provide a competitive advantage to the customer, regardless of whether they are running a small operation or large vehicle fleet.
By combining bespoke manufacturing with volume production, we have gained a leading share of the domestic market, where many European manufacturers struggle to provide the same level of added value. SDC’s customer driven product development not only delivers a rapid return on investment; it has allowed our engineers to continually review our products and develop solutions in line with changing market trends. While a curtain-side trailer without supporting side posts is not new, SDC’s Easy-roll curtain-rail technology is a significant development in this market, which will benefit our customer’s business operations for many years over the trailer life.
As other manufacturers shift to a more standardised European model, SDC intend to maintain their customer base with the flexible manufacturing process they have perfected over the years. Selling direct to customers in the UK market, SDC has a new competitive advantage, with locally produced manufacturing that can easily be adapted to industry demands. Customer feedback has been excellent, and we are confident that the consistent quality, build strength and longevity will see SDC’s Freespan curtainsider succeed in the market.”
Tried, Tested, Trusted
Supplying some of the industry’s leading road haulage and logistics companies, SDC’s Freespan is now in full production with over 600 trailers already on the road. Eurof Owen, Owens Group commercial director commented: “SDC’s Freespan trailer has been an excellent addition to our fleet, the trailers perform extremely well with minimum downtime and have allowed us to improve productivity with faster loading/unloading and reliable, safe curtain operation. Owens are committed to the welfare of our drivers and the Freespan trailers will help us achieve our goal to significantly reduce the risk of accidents / injuries to our drivers. We have also seen a reduction in claims for damaged stock with the new Freespan trailers, which was another key reason for choosing SDC. The attention to detail is evident throughout the design and will support Owens general haulage fleet and pallet network operations for many years in the future, ensuring we deliver the most efficient, competitive and safe service to us customers.”
TIP Trailer Services has taken delivery of the Freespan, with Karl Davies, UK & Ireland commercial director adding; “Our customers are delighted with SDC’s Freespan Curtainsider, the chassis and curtain technology are some of the best we see on the market, providing an excellent addition to the TIP fleet. TIP has purchased in excess of 1,000 SDC trailers over the last year and the level of quality is unwavering throughout their range, I look forward to working with Paul and the team more in the future and providing SDC’s innovative Freespan trailer to our UK customers.”
Source: Uk Haulier
SDC’s Freespan Curtainsider launches in the UK