A skeletal trailer is also known as a ‘chassis trailer’ (or indeed ‘trailer chassis’).
Skeletal trailers can be fixed in length or can be extendable to provide additional versatility in terms of what cargo and container size / combinations they can carry. Fixed skeletal trailers have no moving parts and so are usually associated with lower costs compared to extending skeletal trailers (or sliding skeletal trailers). ‘Skeletals’ can also have an extending neck.
20, 30, 40 and 45 foot containers can usually be accommodated. Skeletal trailers have twist-locks so that containers can easily be secured and removed.
Tipping skeletal trailers can be used to ‘tip’ containers.
‘Gooseneck’ skeletal trailers have a stepped-neck design to provide additional flexibility and, in particular, enable transportation of containers throughout Europe by meeting the height restrictions imposed.
Multi-functional skeletal trailers can be ‘split’ to provide additional flexibility when delivering or picking up loads. Typically, the rear chassis can be left at a delivery location together with its container, with the front section continuing on the journey, saving in drop-off time and fuel costs.
Skeletal trailers can be specified to meet ADR requirements to accommodate the transport of hazardous goods.
‘Skellies’ can also be used to transport more specialist cargo such as timber in the form of tree logs; such variants will usually have been designed with a specific operation in mind, for example, operating ‘off-road’ or accommodating cranes.
Skeletal trailers are manufactured in the UK and Ireland by SDC, Dennison, Montracon and Don Bur and also by Krone, Germany.
Skeletal specifications can vary according to a customer's needs but a typical one has:-
- Sliding or fixed frame designs
- 4 twistlocks - 14 twistlocks
- ADR options
- 4 axle multi-functional options
Fixed skeletal or sliding skeletal?
A sliding skeletal provides increased versatility when it comes to the type of loads they can carry when compared to fixed skeletals. More specifically, a sliding skeletal enables operators to configure the trailer so that it can carry 20, 30, 40, 45 or two 20 foot containers. Sliding skeletals generally require additional maintenance, due to the moving parts of the chassis, whilst pricing / hire rates can be higher when compared to fixed skeletal trailers.
Are there advantages of fixed versus sliding skeletals?
Yes, in addition to reduced pricing and maintenance, fixed skeletal trailers are generally lower in height, which can mean better fuel economy and also increased stability, due to their lower centre of gravity. Fixed ‘skellies’ are also generally lighter in weight in comparison to ‘sliders’ and this can also translate into fuel savings.