When it comes to innovation, Van Eck is the company that has the reputation to uphold. Van Eck plays an important role in the Aeroflex project, in which research is carried out with the support of the European Commission in cooperation with other parties into more efficient and environmentally friendly freight transport. Two prototypes are being developed for this purpose.
One of the two prototypes in this project is under construction at Van Eck. And that is only part of the story. “The starting point of the Aeroflex project is to work with larger and heavier, but also more versatile combinations in order to achieve more efficient road transport in Europe. This project also explicitly looks at the intermodal possibilities of the developed vehicles”, says Ben Kraaijenhagen, who leads the Aeroflex project and has a long track record in the development of trucks, trailers and logistics systems.
The trailer that is being developed at Van Eck is a greatly improved version of a trailer that was developed for an earlier project. “As a result, this trailer has become significantly more versatile. In the first place, the trailer is now also suitable for transport on the train,” says Ton Bertens, engineer at Van Eck full title who is working on the Aeroflex file. “Furthermore, there is a coupling at the rear under the chassis, with which a dolly can be coupled, which in turn couples with a second trailer. This creates an A-Double, Twin Trailer or Van Eck Super Eco Combi, of two trailers. This is in line with the goals of Aeroflex and with developments that play a role elsewhere in European road transport.” Bertens further explains that more aerodynamic aids have been fitted on the side and rear to further reduce the tractor’s fuel consumption. “Cargo Cams’ have also been installed at the front and rear of the load compartment. These are cameras to better estimate the loading volume and we have developed a software program especially for this trailer that allows the planner to load the trailer optimally”. These aerodynamic features will also be tested in the intermodal shipment if they withstand all forces coming from the high speeds.
By railway testing
Now that the trailer has been made suitable for transport by rail, we will see when we can start with a test-drive where the trailer will be put on the train in Luxembourg and taken off again at the Spanish-French border. The versatility of the Aeroflex trailer is demonstrated by the fact that it can also be part of a Super Eco Combi or Twin Trailer combination added Mr. Bertens.
“As a project committee, we have always advocated for Van Eck’s involvement in this project,” says Ben Kraaijenhagen. “This company thinks along with logistics systems. You can also see that in their product portfolio. They are better than anyone familiar with the requirements of sub-sectors in road transport and can therefore respond in a practical manner to the questions we are working on with this project, ”says Ben Kraaijenhagen.