“Flatbed Trailers” is a very broadly used term in the trailer industry. Depending on the company or the person making the definition, you can be talking about anything from a small tandem axle trailer with only a few thousand pounds of hauling capacity, all the way up to an over-the-road 48 ft. “flatbed” trailer that is pulled by a semi truck. There are other versions in between this broad range of trailer styles, and again, the definition often depends on the person doing the talking.
Definition of Flatbed Trailer
Because of this, we want to clearly explain Kaufman Trailers definition of “Flatbed Trailer”. On our website, the Flatbed Trailer section is comprised of models that have the following characteristics:
- The floor is over the tires. This terminology is often stated as “Deckover” design. There will either be stake pockets with rub rail down the outer edges, or there may be a heavy channel rail with the “C” turned out and bent d-rings spaced down the length of the trailer to tie down your equipment.
- While a gooseneck hitch trailer can also fit the Flatbed classification because the floor is over the tires, many Kaufman “Flatbed Trailers” are built with a cold formed, one-piece frame and tongue that comes together at the front of the trailer. The tongue is joined to a flat plate or an adjustable mounting rack with holes to attach either a pintle ring or ball hitch. Kaufman Trailers offers a broad range of “pintle ring hitch” models starting at 14,000 GVWR and going all the way up to a tri-axle airbrake model with a 62,000 GVWR.
- We also categorize our “Drop Deck Trailers” in the Flatbed Trailer family. These trailers are made to be pulled with a semi truck and a standard height 5th wheel attached to the truck. These trailers are hooked up by backing the truck with the 5th wheel plate into and under the trailer. The trailer has a flat plate with a king pin down through the plate. The king pin locks into the jaws of the truck’s 5th wheel. On most trucks, this locking is activated by the truck backing under and into the trailer and forcibly bumping the truck hitch into the king pin. This jolt of pressure causes the spring-loaded jaws to snap shut and lock into the closed position. Positive closure is then tested by the driver by gently applying forward pressure with the truck to check that the jaws are locked. All over-the-road semi trailers, both Flatbed and van style, that you see going down the highway use this system. It is very reliable.
Frames and Running Gear
The frame and running gear of every Flatbed Trailer offered by Kaufman Trailers are carefully matched to ensure a compatible package of components on each model. There are two types of frame construction utilized to build our flatbed trailers. First is stacked frame construction. In this configuration, the cross members are welded to the top of the mainframe beams with outer rails, then stake pockets, then the rub rail on the very outside of the stake pockets. Second is pieced beam construction. This is the favored and superior way to build a heavy-duty flatbed trailer. We use this method on many of our heavy-duty Deluxe flatbeds. In this method of building the trailer, the mainframe beams are “pierced” or cut to the shape of the channel crossmembers. The cross members slide through the piercings in the main beams and the entire structure is welded back together into one unit. This makes a super strong and durable frame. You can easily identify a pierced beam frame by looking at the top of the floor – you will see the tops of the mainframe beams running the full length of the floor.
Our lowest cost Flatbed Trailer has a 14,000 GVWR. This model has two 7,000 lb. axles with an 8” I-beam frame in the lightest duty “Standard” version. Stepping up to the “Deluxe” version upgrades the frame to a 10” I-beam with closer cross member spacing. Both of these trailers are built with stacked frame cross members.
Our heavy duty “pintle pull” Flatbed Trailers are built with two or three 10,000 lb. electric brake axles and GVWR’s of 25,900 lb. on two axle and 38,500 lb. on three axles. Our airbrake Flatbed Trailers are a two axle version with 45,000 GVWR and a three axle model with a 62,000 GVWR. All of these models use pierced frame cross members. One of the finest aspects of these trailers is our cold-formed tongue design. The tongue is formed by placing the full length I-beam frame member in a hydraulic press and bending the beam to the required tongue position. The advantage of this is that there is no cutting or heating on the beam to make the tongue. This results in a much higher structural integrity of the tongue/frame design.
We are very proud of our fabricated, full-length frame for our “Drop Deck” Flatbed Trailers! This frame measures 24” of depth in the center span. The frame is one full-length fabricated beam from the neck to the end of the dovetail with camber in the top flange. We use high tensile steel in the flanges, both top and bottom. This frame is offered with two airbrake axles and a 55,000 lb. GVWR or three airbrake axles and a 70,000 lb. GVWR. We would never recommend you to overload one of our fabricated frame drop deck Flatbed Trailers, but in our frame testing process we have loaded and hauled 74,000 lbs. – distributed full length – on a three-axle version of this trailer. There is no better frame currently on the market for this type of trailer. It is superior to all mill beam versions produced by our competitors.
Choosing the Right Type of Flatbed Trailer
Kaufman Trailers offers a Flatbed Trailer for just about every conceivable need. Our 14,000 through 25,900 GVWR Flatbeds are great for general contractors, paving contractors, and farmers. Our experienced sales staff can talk through your use needs and match you up with the right trailer. For paving equipment, with specialized loading requirements, we offer “Paver” Flatbed Trailers with 9’ bi-fold ramps and a 6’ dovetail. This gives 15’ of loading length for a very gradual loading angle for paving equipment. We also offer hydraulic lift ramps up to 8’ long with a fully self-contained hydraulic system. Cleated swing-up loading ramps are standard on most of our Flatbeds or you can order wood-lined ramps as well. Occasionally, we do modifications to the trailer for trucks where the pintle hook hitch is under the bed and there is a long bed overhang.
Contact us by calling 866-455-744 or contact our staff right away via our contact form. Our experienced sales staff will match up your hauling needs to a perfect Flatbed Trailer.