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Philippi-Hagenbuch’s Lowboy Trailer, Vehicle Recovery Tool Ideal for Heavy Transport

Tue November 13, 2012 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The HiVol lowboy trailer-VRT combination provides the capacity necessary to haul ultra class rated equipment, a standard for mining equipment such as drills, loaders and high-capacity shovels.
The HiVol lowboy trailer-VRT combination provides the capacity necessary to haul ultra class rated equipment, a standard for mining equipment such as drills, loaders and high-capacity shovels.

Philippi-Hagenbuch (PHIL) is officially launching its HiVol lowboy trailer and vehicle recovery tool (VRT) system for transporting equipment. The two pieces of equipment are designed to work independently or together as one integrated system to haul the largest, heaviest off-highway mining equipment quickly, easily and safely. The system also is designed for fast return on investment, typically paying for itself within a year, according to the manufacturer.

The HiVol lowboy trailer-VRT combination provides the capacity necessary to haul ultra class rated equipment, a standard for mining equipment such as drills, loaders and high-capacity shovels. The system offers a hauling capacity of 400 to more than 2,000 tons (363 to 1,814 t). Whether providing initial transport into the mine pit, relocating a shovel from one pit to another or hauling a piece of downed equipment to the shop for repair, PHIL’s system is able to move nearly any piece of mining equipment, eliminating the need for multiple vehicles and trailers, according to the manufacturer.

Acting as the intermediary between the haul vehicle and trailer, the VRT is key to allowing up to 22 percent more hauling weight than the trailer alone. The VRT evenly distributes the load over the axles and tires of the VRT, the haul truck and the trailer.

By distributing the weight of the load, PHIL’s ultra-class lowboy trailer is able to haul the larger loads safely.

Transporting large equipment is safe with the HiVol lowboy trailer-VRT combination, as well. The VRT’s wide base provides greater stability and balance for control of the load during transport.

While traditional lowboy trailers use a gooseneck and require more time, manpower and effort to front load the trailer, the HiVol lowboy trailer features a rear-load system, designed for safe, efficient loading and unloading for all sizes of equipment. In fact, most pieces can be loaded or unloaded in less than 20 minutes. The trailer’s rear axles swing out and drop the deck to ground level while rear loading ramps descend. The equipment easily “walks” up the ramp for fast, convenient loading. Additionally, the ramp is designed to maintain a consistently flat plane with the deck of the trailer, eliminating apex loading and potential damage to the idlers and rollers on tracked equipment and the trailer. Once a machine has been secured on the trailer, the ramps raise, and the axles swing back into transport mode, fully containing the equipment for safe transport. At this point, the deck raises and the trailer is ready to move.

In addition to enhancing safety, efficiency and convenience, the HiVol lowboy trailer-VRT combination makes moving large mining equipment less expensive than traditional means. When a machine such as a mining shovel moves under its own power, excessive pressure and unnecessary wear is placed on the undercarriage: tracks, rollers and idlers. Because replacing an undercarriage can cost up to $3 million, in most cases the system easily pays for itself within the first year, according to the manufacturer.

While intended to work as a unified system, the HiVol lowboy trailer and VRT can operate independently of one another for added versatility.

Philippi-Hagenbuch custom builds every HiVol lowboy trailer to fit an operation’s exact needs and expectations. Overall, it is the largest capacity heavy haul unit on the market, with a capacity that can exceed 1,600 tons (1,451 t). When not used in conjunction with the VRT, the trailer attaches to a haul vehicle with Philippi-Hagenbuch’s standard six-way kingpin style hitch. The trailer and hitch feature a low-maintenance design with minimal moving parts, components and hydraulics for high uptime.

In addition to its direct interfacing capabilities when paired with the HiVol lowboy trailer, it can be used on its own as a towing device with the ability to tow inoperable off-highway haul trucks weighing up to 400 tons to the shop for repairs or to any desired location within an off-highway environment. The VRT interfaces with the front bumper of the disabled haul truck and lifts the front tires off the ground, evenly distributing the weight between the rear tires of the disabled vehicle, the VRT and the prime mover. The VRT’s wide wheelbase provides stability and balance, eliminating the need for a counterweight on the tow vehicle’s chassis and ensuring safe towing with no added pressure on the truck or the haul vehicle.

When used as in intermediary between the prime mover and a PHIL lowboy trailer, the VRT conveniently attaches to the gooseneck of the trailer itself through a lowboy interface point located on the top of the VRT. To disengage, the VRT pivot actuation system hydraulically adjusts the height and pitch of the lowboy interface point and the VRT can be moved out of the way, ready to be used for towing disabled vehicles.

Building upon customer feedback, PHIL has enhanced its VRT and lowboy trailer with the ability to have them operate without the need of an off-highway truck. Through the use of a PHIL dolly interface system, a tracked loader can be connected to the dolly with the ability to pull and operate the VRT and lowboy trailer within a minesite environment. This enhancement provides the added flexibility for mines to operate a VRT and lowboy trailer without tying up an expensive prime mover for support operations.

Every HiVol lowboy trailer and VRT is completely assembled and tested by PHIL prior to shipment at its Peoria, Ill., factory. Due to their size, both pieces are fully modular so they can be broken down easily for shipment by legal load and reassembly onsite. In addition, the company offers onsite assembly assistance to every customer with a Lowboy trailer or VRT purchase.

For more information, call 800/447-6464 or visit

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