Patten Pavement buys Drake 4×4 Hybrid Steering Wideners
Published:2021-02-11 08:28:29    Text Size:【BIG】【MEDIUM】【SMALL

Long-time Drake trailer proponent, Victoria-based Patten Pavement Services, has received two identical 4×4 Hybrid Steering Wideners and matching dollies.

The company specialises in pavement profiling of airport runways and roads at locations all around Australia. The profiling machines are used to remove between 40 and 70mm from the pavement, after which it is resurfaced to provide the perfectly level tarmac essential for runways.

“We transport our profiling machines to places like Darwin, Rockhampton, Cairns, Adelaide – wherever profiling is needed we go,” said Patten Pavement Services Director, John Patten.

Patten initially worked for a pavement profiling contractor for 15 years in the 1980s and ‘90s where he worked his way up to become Supervisor.

In 1998 he left the company and entered into a partnership where he managed a profiling business until 2003 when he decided to strike out on his own.

Since then, Patten Pavement Services has gone from strength to strength and Drake trailers have been central to the business – performing admirably in the critical role of shifting the large profiling machines – which are 15m long and weigh around 50t – all over the country.

The company has four Drake trailers – two of which were purchased in 2004 and the other two delivered this year.

The initial two are 4×4 steering Deck Wideners while the latest two feature Drake’s innovative Hybrid design which is basically a blend of Deck Widener and Full Widener.

The rear two BPW steering axles are a fixed width while the forward axles widen along with the deck. This combines the added stability of a Full Widener with the manoeuvrability and minimal tyre scrub of a Deck Widener.

“I went for the Hybrid because it is a bit more stable when carrying the crushing plants and profilers,” said Patten.

“My float driver reckons the Hybrid design is the best thing since sliced bread.

“We do a lot of civil construction work in Victoria where we need to negotiate tight suburban streets to deliver the machines and the Hybrids make it so much easier.”

Special features of Patten’s new Hybrids include timber inlaid bi-fold ramps, with the timber surface necessary for safe loading and unloading of asphalt machinery.

“We have about 10 double drum rollers and the steel rollers on steel ramps can slip quite easily, whereas steel on timber grips much better,” said Patten. “We have a wide variety of gear, so I specified the trailers to suit our overall needs.”

With the operation running around the clock, rows of lights along each outer extremity of the deck provide additional safety when loading or unloading at night.

Hydraulic landing legs are another safety and convenience feature Patten specified on the new units.

“We can have a 30-tonne machine on the back and put the legs down to uncouple the trailer before unloading – it makes life a lot easier for the boys,” said Patten.

Similarly, he appreciates the bi-fold ramps which are 5.65m long and provide a low ramp-over angle of nine degrees.

“They weigh a bit more but for what we do it is worthwhile because we can get any machine up the ramps due to the really low angle,” he said.

Another special feature is that the hydraulics are powered by a pump mounted on the truck’s transmission rather than a small engine on the trailer.

This, said Patten, ensures lower noise levels when unloading machinery at night in residential areas.

Speaking about his earlier Drake trailers, Patten said the reliability and durability of the units have been outstanding over the nearly 17 years he has owned them.

“I bought my first two quads in 2004 and realistically, apart from general maintenance and replacing a few hydraulic rams, I haven’t had to touch them,” he said.

“I couldn’t speak more highly of the product.”

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