Customer case

New 50cbm grain hopper trailer developed in less than 8 weeks

November 15, 2022 6 min read

Case details

Country Saudi Arabia
Company Al Jeathen Group
Industry Trailers and body builders

Al Jeathen, one of the largest manufacturers of heavy-transport equipment in Saudi Arabia, has been working closely with SSAB since 2019 to upgrade their offerings with first-in-market designs and capabilities.

Case details

Country Saudi Arabia
Company Al Jeathen Group
Industry Trailers and body builders

Maximizing payload volume using a lightweighting design

Al Jeathen wanted to develop a new 50cbm grain hopper trailer with bottom discharge that would comply with Saudi transport regulations, which limit total weight of the transport to 45 tons. After subtracting the weight of the tractor, axles, tires, and full load of grain, the remaining combined weight for the chassis and the hopper could not exceed 6 tons.

Al Jeathen had a customer who was eager to test the proposed trailer, asking to take delivery in just 3 months. With such a short development cycle, Al Jeathen hired SSAB Product Engineering to deliver a turnkey functional design in less than 2 months, including detailed manufacturing and assembly drawings for in-house prototyping.

Design targets: weight, safety, manufacturability, cost, & supply chain

The main challenge was for the hopper to hold the maximum volume of grain while keeping the hopper and chassis weight below 6 tons. But the design also had to be highly practical and durable.

Obviously, safety during fabrication and in use had to be assured. Design for manufacturability had several requirements, including compatibility with Al Jeathen’s existing manufacturing equipment. To keep costs competitive, the number of components and welds needed to minimized, while steel plate utilization had to be optimized. 

Product Engineering’s innovation workshop, based on SSAB ONE lean methodology, brought together all the project’s stakeholders to thoroughly gather and organize their input and to set goals. The comprehensive approach of the Product Engineering workshop has shown to reduce the need rework in such projects to, on average, less than 10% of the total project time.

Side and bottom view of first model of the grain hopper trailer with integrated chassis and its main dimensions.

3D modeling of the chassis assembly for the new grain hopper trailer.

Rapid design iterations speed trailer development

An important early decision was to integrate the chassis with the hopper, enabling a significantly lower total weight while leaving more space for the discharge chutes. The first functional model showing the main dimensions underwent several iterations to ensure the best fit between the chassis, the hopper, and the axles. Further refinements were made to develop the tight tolerances required for a leaner manufacturing process.

Steel selection was adapted to achieve the lightweighting and performance goals. Strips of 4mm thick Hardox® 450 strip were chosen for the body (the hopper), while 6mm and 8mm Strenx® 700 structural steel was selected for the chassis and the kingpin plate.

Finite element method (FEM) analysis of the grain hopper trailer showing stresses when fully loaded with 50cbm of grain. Top image shows the first model, while the bottom image displays the last (5th) design iteration.

Major design features of the grain hopper trailer include the inner diaphragms and the tension bars: these features maintain structural integrity and reduce local buckling when the hopper is fully loaded.

Additional engineering details — including connection to the landing gear, kingpin plate, and auxiliary items — were completed in the final design state.

Custom, fully documented, functional engineering in less than 8 weeks

The functional engineering part of the project went from sketch to full documentation for engineering, manufacturing, and assembly in less than 8 weeks. A key to Product Engineering’s fast product development is the rapid and frequent communication between SSAB departments, which not only conveys all design details, but also accelerates the securing of steel stock availability when it’s time for prototyping.

In addition, SSAB Product Engineering gave in-time support during the prototyping, including making additional design modifications to fit new tarpaulins on the roof.

3D modeling of final design showing the open roof of the new grain hopper trailer.

The lightest grain hopper trailer in the market

The combined weight of the grain hopper and the trailer chassis was below 4700 kgs, well below the 6-ton goal and easily meeting the country’s weight requirements. Al Jeathen could start immediately building the new trailer with its existing manufacturing equipment and with SSAB steel grades available in stock. 

Al Jeathen now offers the largest, regulation-weight grain hopper trailer in Saudi Arabia, making it both a pioneer and leader in lightweight transport solutions.

Al Jeathen, Saudi Arabia’s first Hardox® in my Body member, is working with SSAB to upgrade other offerings in its heavy-transport product range. For example, their 22cbm tippers are now made with Hardox® wear plate, prominently displaying “Hardox® In My Body” signs. 

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