Wingliner image AThe side-opening “door walls” are constructed of aluminum-skinned, honeycomb-cored panels, supported with aluminum extrusions, and powered with a simple electric/hydraulic power system.

JOACHIM “Jo” Richter was faced with a logistics challenge at the Kankakee, Illinois, facility of chemical company BASF. His product had to stay clean and dry as it was transported from a batching plant, where there was no dock, to another building on the BASF campus.

Richter remembered seeing a European vehicle that combined side and tailgate access with hard sides for security and weather protection. It was a Wingliner, a patented system developed in Austria in 1996 by Johann Strasser for a beverage distributor. They are now produced in Holland, Michigan, by Wingliner North America Inc.

Enter Holly Hale, president of Country Supply Inc of Manteno, Illinois, who was asked to give a quote for a 28-foot, single-axle Wingliner semi-trailer. Working with B&R Repair of Lemont, IL, they assembled the Wingliner for BASF.

“BASF was really happy with the service and the way the trailer went together, and we ended up doing another one for them,” she says.

Today, BASF has four of these trailers in its Kankakee facility, all produced in the US. Wingliner North America Inc builds the Wingliner kits and distributes them to body builders throughout North America.

The 28-foot trailer side-loads at the batching plant and then offloads via rear doors at a loading dock. Typically, the side-opening “door walls” are constructed of aluminum-skinned, honeycomb-cored panels, supported with aluminum extrusions, and powered with a simple electric/hydraulic power system. With a push of a button, the entire sidewall swings up and completely out of the way, folding flat on the roof of the truck body or trailer.

The units are available with one side or both sides operational and in lengths ranging from 16 feet to 53 feet. Each kit is designed with the end-user's criteria in mind.

Wingliner image BWith a push of a button, the entire sidewall swings up and completely out of the way, folding flat on the roof of the truck body or trailer.

“The application could be wood products, beverage products, chemicals,” Hale says. “In Europe, loads must be secured according to DIN EN 12642. With a Wingliner, they don't have to secure the load because the sides exceed even DIN EN 12642 Code XL, so that's the plus. Wingliner NA is working to have similar certification to US standards soon. The other plus over a soft side is that it is actually secured. You can't get into the trailer. It's like a van trailer except it opens up at the side.

“The biggest key with Wingliner is for people who have 15 to 30 stops a day. That's where it's most economical and pays for itself the quickest. In Iceland, the body builder Vagnar (www.vagnar.is) approached Coca-Cola regarding the Wingliner for deliveries. Coca-Cola agreed to purchase a unit for their fleet of 22 trucks to prove the concept. When the first unit went into service, that particular driver returned from his run 2½ hours earlier than the rest of the fleet every single day. After two months of this, Coca-Cola ordered more units and reduced their fleet to 12 trucks due to the increased efficiencies the Wingliner provided.”

Hale said Country Supply, now a dealer for Wingliner, and B&R Repair are displaying one of BASF's trailers at the Mid-America Trucking Show March 22-24.

“There has never been a Wingliner at this show before,” she said. “Hopefully, after the show we'll be able to put more together for chemical companies. In Europe, the Wingliner brand is a good chunk of the market, especially in beverage. It's a very common trailer in Europe.”

There is also new design coming from Wingliner International where either side and the roof can open to facilitate loading by overhead crane.

Normally used for standard-route deliveries, this is not the first time the Wingliner has been chosen as a strictly “on-campus” solution. ZF, the German transmission company, uses specially designed Wingliners to shuttle materials around its vast campus. During the design process, ZF asked Wingliner what the life expectancy would be for opening/closing cycles. After an outside engineering firm determined 300,000 would be a conservative number, Wingliner warranted 250,000 cycles with nothing more than annual oil changes. The radio-controlled ZF units are now into their fifth year, averaging an opening and closing every three to five minutes. That's close to 280 opening/closing cycles a day, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and no failures.

Isuzu Mexico (IMEX) decided to put a Wingliner on its new F-series, or forward chassis, and display it at the Expotransporte ANPACT 2010 and 2011 in Guadalajara.

“I sincerely believe that the Wingliner system will grow rapidly in the upcoming years in Mexico,” says Jorge Murakami, marketing and public relations manager for IMEX.

Bay-Lynx Manufacturing Inc of Ancaster, Ontario, sold a pair of the very first two-door 53' Wingliners ever built anywhere in the world.

“In Europe, Australia, and South America, you see a lot of 44- to 49-foot units, but never a 53-footer,” says Bob Hakken, president of Wingliner NA.

Just over a year ago, Bay-Lynx sold the first Wingliner in Canada to PacLease for use by Rona Corp., a major retail building materials dealer. It is a 24' unit, which is in service in the Montreal area.

“The Canadian market is starting to recognize the value that a Wingliner can bring to the market place,” says Jim Kranendonk of Bay-Lynx.

Wingliner image CThe units are available with one side or both sides operational and in lengths ranging from 16’ to 53’.

“The units open in seconds. It's simply amazing to watch,” saysTyrone Doyle, president of T Doyle Transport, which owns the pair of 53-footers. “In our operation, this will save us time, while increasing safety without sacrificing any security. And we all know that in the trucking business, saving time saves money. In addition to that, it adds greatly to our flexibility. We can haul anything that goes on a flat, in a curtain or in a dry van, all with the same unit.”

Says Hakken, “Bay-Lynx, our Canadian partner, has several units now operating in the Canadian market and will be showing one at Truck World 2012 in Toronto. We also have units operating in Mexico and the United States. We are excited about the opportunity for our product offering in North America. The trucking market needs new technologies that will provide increased efficiencies along with all the additional features and benefits a Wingliner can offer.”

For more information about Wingliner product offerings, contact Wingliner NA at www.winglinerna.com. In the greater Chicago area and central Illinois, contact Hale of Country Supply at www.Country-Supply.com or Randy May of B&R Repair at www.bandrrepairinc.com. In Canada, contact Jim Kranendonk of Bay-Lynx Mfg at www.bay-lynx.com.