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Science behind the transportation of 2 steel coils in large trailers

The trailers carrying steel coils, often referred to as coil carriers or coil haulers, are specifically designed to transport large steel coils

A trailer transporting steel coils

You have probably encountered large trailers carrying large steel coils on one occasion or two.

In many instances, the trailers would only take two or sometimes three coils, despite the trailer having space to accommodate more.

Transporting steel coils using long trailers, and often carrying only one or two coils, involves carefully considering the physics of load management and the potential dangers these heavy cargos pose to other road users.

In this article, we look at the scientific reasons for making such logistical choices and the dangers these coils pose to other road users.

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Steel coils are extremely heavy, with each coil potentially weighing up to several tons. The distribution of this weight is crucial for maintaining the balance and stability of the trailer.

Overloading or improper loading can lead to an imbalance that might cause the truck to tip over during manoeuvres or in strong winds.

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The placement of steel coils is strategic to keep the trailer’s centre of gravity low and centred between its axles.

This reduces the risk of rollover and improves handling. Loading the coils towards the centre of the trailer also helps in distributing the weight evenly across the truck’s axles.

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Trucks must adhere to axle weight limits, which regulate how much weight can be carried on each axle.

Properly placing steel coils is critical to ensure the load does not exceed these limits, which could lead to fines or forced unloading.

If steel coils are not secured properly, they can shift during transport. A shifting load can change the balance of the truck dramatically and unexpectedly, making it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle.

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This can lead to dangerous situations, especially on curves, inclines, or in sudden stops.

In cases of improper securing or collision, there is a risk that steel coils could break free from their restraints.

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Due to their immense weight and momentum, steel coils can cause severe damage and injuries in the event of an accident.

They can crush vehicles, barriers, or anything else in their path, posing a significant risk to other road users.

The heavy weight of steel coils means that trucks carrying them have significantly longer stopping distances.

If other drivers are unaware and fail to maintain a safe following distance, there can be an increased risk of rear-end collisions, especially in sudden traffic stops.

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To mitigate these risks, several measures are taken:

  1. Specialised equipment: Trailers that transport steel coils are often equipped with specific features like cradles or saddle mounts that help in securing the coils more firmly.
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2. Rigorous securing protocols: Strapping, chaining, and using wedges or chocks to prevent rolls from moving are standard practices. Regular checks during transport ensure that the securing mechanisms remain tight and effective.

3. Driver training: Special training for drivers who transport heavy loads like steel coils is mandatory in many places. This training includes safe loading and unloading practices, emergency handling, and securing techniques.

4. Regulatory compliance: Compliance with transportation laws and regulations designed to ensure the safe transit of heavy loads is strictly enforced through checkpoints and weight stations.

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