Kässbohrer - Champion of innovation

Kässbohrer tippers and trailers have been around for quite a while. In fact, it is 127 years, to be precise, since Karl Kässbohrer established the company in the German city of Ulm, the birthplace of Albert Einstein.

The world’s most famous physicist would no doubt have approved of Kässbohrer’s innovation, not least because of his work on the laws of motion and the company’s own ground-breaking work in manufacturing high payload-carrying vehicles - including its first 40-tonne semi-trailer in 1938.

Kässbohrer clearly knew its stuff, and continues to develop trailers that push the boundaries of expectation for the business and its customers.

“We’re really excited to be taking a new style of trailer with EU vehicle-type approval with permissible weights of up to 29.5 tonnes,” Ian Nolan, national operations director, Kässbohrer UK says.

“When we [MM Acquisitions] took over the franchise, we had to go backwards and talk to the people who’d bought them before. There wasn’t enough service support or back up, so we’ve now got a partnership with service providers and have 828 locations in the UK.”

This new structure has already begun to reap rewards, says Nolan, with a 30% increase in sales thanks to the new support network. “If you can’t work your vehicle it’s catastrophic,” he adds. “We realise that downtime is the negative side of haulage and that it is our job to prevent that as much as we can.” 

The new unit is the Kässbohrer K.SKS, ahigh-strength steel trailer that threatens to mak traditional 8-wheelers redundant. It’s 4.9m wheelbase and 6.3m overall length (from the king pin to the rear axle) combine with BPW air suspension axles rated to 9-tonnes.

However, the important feature of the K.SKS is that it’s overall payload can reach 29.5 tonnes without overloading the 8-tonne legal maximum of any one axle.

If paired with the right lightweight tractor unit, it can prove more productive than a traditional 8-wheeler with its payload and 24cu m capacity.

“We’ve done exhaustive testing and have found we can carry 8 tonnes over each axle and provide a payload of up to 29.5 tonnes with the correct towing vehicle. I’d like to see this type of vehicle become the majority vehicle on the highway, helping to reduce emissions,” Nolan says. 

Customers are already finding the trailers to be a major benefit for their work, achieving higher payloads and reducing carbon emissions in the process.

Darren Colderley, transport manager at family-owned earthworks and demolition contractors Fox Brothers, explains: “We’ve used them to increase the fleet size and grow the business, because they are suited to a lot of the jobs. The smaller trailer size helps with access and can go a lot of places that the 8-wheelers would struggle.”
Fox Brothers has seen a large increase in demand for brick, reclaimed brick and other quarry stone to sites and has expanded from just four vehicles to a fleet of 66 within the last five years.

The Kässbohrer trailers have enabled it to carry more product and complete larger jobs quicker and more efficiently. “You still need the 8-wheelers for some of the other sites, where the artics aren’t as capable,” Fox continues.

“They don’t have the four-axle spread and the weight spread that a tipper does and they only have the one drive axle, but they carry more weight, which suits the customer. The price is cheaper, it suits
every one. They’re getting an 8-wheeler and a half every time. It’s really good for the carbon footprint and if they want 500-tonnes you can do it a lot quicker in an artic.”
Colderley’s fleet of 12 artic tippers are pulled by a mix of Volvo and Scania tractor units that have sleeper cabs to enable the drivers to work away on larger jobs.

Nevertheless, trailers are still hauling 28,500kg, a significant improvement upon the payloads seen in the company’s rigid fleet.

Appeal fails for fronting operation


An appeal from a Hull operator whose licence was revoked for operating as a ‘front’ has been dismissed after the upper tribunal found the traffic commissioner had given a “conspicuously clear and well-reasoned decision.”

Terence Hebden was disqualified indefinitely and found to be no longer of good repute following a PI in August 2019.

The deputy TC for the North East concluded that Hebden’s vehicles were not using authorised operating centres and PG9s and fixed penalties had been issued for dangerous loads, having an AdBlue emulator fitted, not having tachographs fitted and for vehicles not having insurance cover.

The DTC also said there was an overarching issue, in that Hebden’s licence was being used as a front by RM Group Hull and its controlling mind, Michael Holgate.

A written decision on the case said: “Terence Hebden deserves some sympathy, given his poor health – but not much, given his willingness to abdicate his responsibilities as a director and transport manager and to participate in a pretend arrangement whereby his operator’s licence and vehicle authorisation could be absorbed into Michael Holgate’s business.

“He did this for anticipated financial gain although he is unlikely to achieve any gain.”

Hebden appealed this decision, claiming that his “voice has not been heard in the long run up to the public inquiry.”

He also stated that the DVSA was not in full knowledge of all the circumstances leading up the PI.

However, the tribunal panel rejected Hebden’s argument. It said that further evidence provided by the operator was not admitted, but even if it was it would not have helped him.

“In the panel’s view, the deputy traffic commissioner was undoubtedly entitled to take the view which he did of Mr Hebden’s complicity in such a serious arrangement,” wrote judge Ward.

“Neither for the reasons advanced by Mr Hebden in his grounds of appeal nor as a result of the panel’s examination of the case can it be said that the decision of the deputy traffic commissioner was ‘plainly wrong’.

“Indeed, it is a conspicuously clear and well-reasoned decision, one which he was undoubtedly entitled to come to and which the Panel considers to be correct.”