For those of you who flunked truck Anatomy 101 here’s a quick review. The front of the truck where the driver sits is called the cab the back that carries the cargo is the trailer. A semi-trailer is a type of trailer whose front end goes on the same wheels as the rear end of the cab. This type of semi trailer is called a van it has a closed-in compartment for transporting cargo that needs protection from the elements. To make the coupler plate the part that attaches the van to the truck cab they submerge steel plates and water to avoid the smoke that metal cutting generates.
They use a computer-guided plasma cutters, powerful torch jets hot gas at high pressure slicing through the metal with detailed precision elsewhere. In the factory meanwhile they take pre-painted aluminum panels and rivet them onto aluminum or steel support posts. The same way drywall goes onto two-by-fours and house construction these thin lightweight panels will be the fans exterior walls plywood on the reverse side its interior walls. A computerized sensor guides the robotic drills to drive screws through the
plywood into the support posts underneath for heated or refrigerated bands. There’s a layer of insulation in the walls the floor is made of either laminated hard wood or aluminum screwed onto narrow steel beings after assembling the walls. The steel door frame and doors workers install a steel floor plate at the doorway.
This protects the floor from damage when truckers load and unload their cargo by forklift. Workers fold aluminum flashing over the roofs perimeter to prevent water infiltration. Fiberglass roofing like this allows daylight into the van. Aluminum roofing doesn’t so those vans sometimes have electric lighting another type of semi trailer is the flatbed an open trailer used mostly for hauling raw materials such as logs and pipes heavier flatbed models are made thick higher grade steel. Workers cut the bulkier parts using what’s called an
automatic oxy Qatar it combines two gases to create a flame intense enough to slice right through metal. Once cut the parts have to be formed to the required shape to do that workers use what’s called a press brake a machine that applies up to 300 tons of pressure to bend the steel.
They measure the results to ensure it meets design specifications. The chassis will have two main beams running the length of the flatbed a semi-automatic robot welds together. The various welded sections that make up each beam a worker follows behind inspecting the joints and removing welding residue. Now they position those two main be side-by-side inserting steel cross members through them support the floor. They install the coupler plate and other components then weld everything together flatbeds come in extendable versions designed to accommodate loads of various lengths they extend and retract on steel rollers operated by controls located inside.
The truck cap with the chassis complete they can now work on the axle assembly semi trailers have an airbrake system when the driver applies the brakes there’s a release of air pressure into the break chambers triggering the brake shoes bear down on the brake drums and stop the vehicle. Once the wheels and suspension system are in place workers install the axle assembly under the trailer. The average semi trailer weighs between 5 & 6 metric tons and can haul up to five times its weight.