Goldhofer & Universal Transport 40-Year-Old Tie Becomes Stronger

The oversized load and heavy hauling company Universal Transport of Paderborn is modernizing its wind power transportation fleet with 62 THP/SL-S (285) axle lines from the house of Goldhofer. With a vehicle width of 3,000 mm, axle spacing of 1,500 mm and a higher bending moment, the single wheel modules have been ordered as a replacement for the current Goldhofer THP/ET modules.

Markus Frost, Managing Director and Frank Rakowski, Fleet Manager, Universal Transport GmbH, Paderborn, discuss the new contract signed with Goldhofer on the sidelines of the handover of the first vehicles in Memmingen.

Your company has placed its trust in Goldhofer’s products and services since 1980, and you have been collaborating on vehicle development for 20 years. What is the basis of this 40-year relationship?
Markus Frost: There are several reasons: Goldhofer stands for outstanding product quality, intelligent transport solutions, long years of experience and close customer relations. We know that we will get exactly the solution we need. So, it is not surprising that more than one third of our heavy-duty fleet of over 500 vehicles are from Goldhofer.

Universal Transport will soon be transporting turbine blades, nacelles, and tower sections for wind power plants on 62 new THP/SL-S (285) axle lines supplied by Goldhofer. Do you need to increase the size of your fleet for wind power transportation and what has prompted your decision?

Frank Rakowski, Fleet Manager, Universal Transport GmbH
Frank Rakowski: With the THP/SL-S series vehicles, we are completely replacing the Goldhofer THP/ET pendular axle modules which we have been using to date. In concrete terms, this means lower deadweight, very high payloads, 1,500 mm axle spacing instead of 1,400 mm, and greater lateral stability, thanks to an increase in vehicle width from 2,750 mm to 3,000 mm. What’s more, with a suspension stroke of 600 mm we can now raise the maximum loading height to 1,600 mm above the axles – an enormous advantage in terms of extra height for negotiating obstacles. With this unique constellation, we can comply with Germany’s strict regulations for transporting heavy loads, including weight limits on bridges. It also enables us to provide safer, more flexible, and, above all, more economical delivery of wind power plant components. The new single wheel bogies with four 19-inch tires per axle line and the above-average loading height available are exactly the right solution for us in the context of construction site traffic for wind power plants.

The reason we are going for a full replacement is to have a high degree of standardization with regard to the axle systems used. This is the key to simplified and flexible solutions in choosing the right combination for the operation involved.

Markus Frost: The changeover also enables us to anticipate the increasingly strict regulatory requirements in Germany – because technically speaking, there is no such thing as an “old” Goldhofer vehicle; they are too good for that and have such a long service life. At all events we are convinced that the THP/ET heavy-duty modules we are selling will continue to provide reliable service to their new owners for many years to come.

To what extent are your 20 years of cooperation with Goldhofer reflected in vehicle developments?

Markus Frost, Managing Director, Universal Transport GmbH
Markus Frost: As far as I can judge, Goldhofer has brought a number of vehicles to the market that were directly influenced by our requirements and brain-stormed together. Some of these advances were subsequently adopted by the competition. A case in point is the design of the first railway vehicle transporters with two pendular axles right behind the gooseneck, followed by a bogie with steering knuckle axles. Goldhofer dispelled the doubts raised at the time as to whether the combination of these two steering systems was possible by developing the project with us and then simply implementing it as a first mover. Today, they all use this system because of the better load distribution that it offers.

24 axle lines in Goldhofer’s THP/SL-S (285) seriesReady for delivery: 24 axle lines in Goldhofer’s THP/SL-S (285) series, here fitted with Goldhofer’s RA 3 tower adapter (photo: Goldhofer)

To what extent does Universal Transport take advantage of the Goldhofer service?
Markus Frost: For us, the unparalleled quality of Goldhofer’s vehicles is beyond question. We use them not only in the wind power sector but also for transportation in other industries, including locomotives, railway vehicles and streetcars. In the harsh environment of heavy-haulage, wear parts must naturally be replaced from time to time. And Goldhofer's service organization does an exemplary job in this respect – for both parts and maintenance. As a result, some of our Goldhofer vehicles have been in continuous use for almost 20 years. It should also be mentioned, that, for all our requirements, we have one and the same contact person at Goldhofer, who takes care of everything.

Frank Rakowski: Another aspect relating to service, and one that is eminently important to us, is the support available with Goldhofer’s software tools EasyLoad and EasyTrack, which greatly facilitate the planning process for complex transportation operations with heavy and oversized cargos. With EasyLoad, for example, which has full TÜV certification, we simply combine a cargo with a vehicle to find out which model in which combination will be the best solution – at a professional level of detail that is simply unique. And the data has the same status as a certified weighing slip. When applying for permits, e.g. using Germany’s new VEMAGS application system, we can attach everything in analogue or digital form, as the data is certified. In short, this enables us to comply with the transport process planning requirements pursuant to the German VDI Guideline 2700 Part 13 within the shortest possible time. Just as useful and indispensable in our everyday work is Goldhofer’s cornering simulation software, which delivers a realistic picture of the narrow passages to be negotiated on the planned route.

Markus Frost: Frank Rakowski and I could of course have summarized our remarks in one succinct sentence: we are satisfied with Goldhofer in every respect!

UTM and Goldhofer employeesMarkus Frost (front row, 3rd left) and Rainer Auerbacher (front row, 4th left) with UTM and Goldhofer employees at the handover of the first THP/SL-S modules (photo: Goldhofer)

What does the business portfolio of Universal Transport comprise of and what is its current fleet size?

Frank Rakowski: Universal Transport of Paderborn is a leading operator in the field of heavy-duty logistics. The haulage expert with more than 60 years of experience primarily serves companies in the construction, wind power, rail, and manufacturing industries. The company’s portfolio includes project consulting, organization, and implementation at numerous locations in Germany as well as in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, and Egypt. UTMs’ diversified fleet comprises about 320 tractors (trucks) and over 500 trailers.

Lifting & Specialized Transport, October-December 2020

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