Everything You Should Know About Flatbed Trailers
Flatbed trailers are amazing for transporting almost any type of cargo. This is because they have a flat base to load freight onto and they’re also not restricted by any sides or roof. They’re entirely open on each side. This makes loading and unloading super easy and it means they can carry wider and taller freight than most other trailer types.
In this blog, we’ll run through everything you need to know about flatbed trucks and trailers including, their uses, advantages, and things to consider when using a flatbed.
Types of Flatbeds
– Standard Flatbed
Your standard flatbed has like the name suggests, a simple flat surface with no sides or roof. They’re super versatile and are a great option for transporting freight that’s large and bulky and perhaps even obscurely shaped that does not require protection from the weather elements. In most cases, this type of flatbed is used to haul construction materials, machinery and other over sized cargo.
– Step-Deck Flatbed
A step-deck trailer has two levels. The level nearest the cab is higher off the ground and the rest of the trailer is lower to the ground like a step down. Making this trailer type perfect for transporting large cargo that has varying heights, while still maintaining the role of a flatbed, with open top and sides.
– Extendable Flatbed
The name says it all. This is a typical flatbed in looks, however it’s ability to extend make it perfect for hauling cargo that’s longer than a typical flatbed. It’s the perfect option for transporting longer oversized freight, like wind turbine parts, etc. that again won’t be affected by weather conditions.
– Lowboy Trailer
Once again, the name is a huge giveaway. A lowboy looks just like a standard flatbed but has an extra low deck, which makes it perfect for hauling cargo that’s particularly tall, like bulldozers, cranes and other heavy and tall machinery. Because of their low deck, it also makes loading and unloading much easier.
Common Uses of a Flatbed
Transporting Construction Materials
One of the most common uses of a Flatbed is for the hauling of construction materials, this included: steel beams, concrete blocks, lumber and other large, bulky and heavy construction-related items. The open design accommodates this type of freight and allows for easy loading and unloading of such cargo.
Heavy Equipment Transportation
Flatbeds have an extremely sturdy structure. Meaning they can withstand the heavy weights of equipment like, excavators, tractors, forklifts and generators, etc. Making them the perfect option to transport your heavy equipment.
Flatbeds are frequently used to transport various vehicles, their structure and simple flat deck makes them perfect to safely and securely haul vehicles.
Agriculture and Farming Equipment Transportation
Tractors, combines and other farming equipment are regularly transported using a flatbed. Their open design makes the loading and unloading of these heavy and oversized machines as simple as can be.
Transporting Oversized Cargo
Almost any oversized cargo can benefit from a flatbed trailer. Due to the open end, sides and top the cargo is not restricted in any way like it would be in an enclosed trailer. Freight like wind turbine components, large structures and large industrial parts can be efficiently hauled using a flatbed trailer.
Advantages of a Flatbed
Loading and Unloading
The open and and flat decks that flatbeds possess makes loading and unloading much easier and time saving. As there’s no walls or roof it’s extremely more efficient for manual and mechanical loading and unloading processes.
Strapping down and securely fastening in freight is done with much more ease when using a flatbed trailer. As again, because there’s no sides it’s easy to maneuver around all sides for access and ultimately strap in cargo to ensure it remains stable throughout the entire transportation process.
Oversized and Over-Dimensional Cargo
Flatbeds are crucial in specialized trucking and logistics. They offer the flexibility to transport freight of various large sizes and shapes. Including oversized and over-dimensional items. With the use of escort vehicles, lights and signs.
Considerations of Using a Flatbed
Load Securing and Tie-Downs 🪢
As you can imagine, especially because this trailer type is open on all sides, it’s super important to safely secure and tie down cargo on a Flatbed. This is properly done by utilizing tie-downs, straps, chains and other safety securing equipment to ensure there’s no shifting of the freight while in transit to keep it from becoming damaged.
Legal Compliance 📃
This is a HUGE consideration, although we have said about how great Flatbeds are for transporting oversized and over-dimensional cargo. There are strict local laws and regulations around transporting these types of freight. It’s important to ensure the cargo load complies with weight restrictions, height restrictions, permits and other legal requirements. We’ve written another super helpful blog post about transporting oversized loads, that you can read here 😁. It sheds some more insight into the legalities and more to consider.
Weight Distribution 🏋️
Flatbed are super stable trailer types. However, it’s important to distribute cargo evenly to spread the load. This helps to maintain stability and safety on the road when in transit and avoids overloading one area.
Weather Conditions ☀️🌧❄️💨
As Flatbeds are entirely open, any cargo being hauled on one of these trailers needs to be hardy and not affected by any sort of weather condition, whether it’s by the sun and heat, or cold and rain or snow. If a shipment has a delicate item that absolutely cannot be caught out in the rain for example. This would effect shipping times or another trailers might be a better option.
Flatbeds play an essential part in specialized logistics and will be the best option for many of your oversized and over-dimensional shipments. They’re one of the easiest trailer types to load and unload from and can accommodate various shapes, sizes and weights of freight. Understanding how each type of Flatbed trailer works, their advantages, the types of cargo they specialize in hauling and considerations when using Flatbeds is essential to transport goods in the safest and most efficient way. No matter what industry you’re in, Flatbeds will always be an invaluable asset to elevate your logistics solutions.
How Can PEI Help?
At PEI we are experts in specialized trucking, especially when it comes to Flatbeds, and we have all of your Flatbed shipment requirements covered. If after reading this blog you have any questions at all or need help with a shipment. Please contact us 24/7/365 on Phone: 888-SHIP-911 or use the link below 😁
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