Innovative tailored trailer tarpaulin with integrated load securing and anti-theft features

An innovative tarpaulin with integrated load securing & theft protection is developed with multidisciplinary approach which eliminates extra operations in assembly causing labour/material cost.For function integration a new hybrid yarn and textiles with integrated reinforcement straps are developed.

Since last decades road transport infrastructure in Europe has been developed rapidly in terms of quality of the service and equipments including new generation of semi-trailers. Keeping in mind that road transport will be the inevitable part of the total logistics process in future, innovations and corresponding developments in semi-trailer design will be the key success factors of the semi-trailer industry. The most preferred type of semi-trailer in Europe is called "Curtainsider Semi-Trailer" (Curtainsider) which allows users to have flexible loading/unloading abilities. The number of curtainsiders produced all over the Europe in 2014 is 35,000 units which are approximately 30% of the semi-trailer market. Curtainsider term defines a semi-trailer vehicle covered by 13,6 meters long sliding tarpaulins, so called “tarp”, at both sides and roof as well, which leads to 120 square-meter tarpaulin per vehicle. The requirements by end customers, standards and regulations, have been increasing especially for recent years, require the integration of more features in tarps. Among these additional features the most important ones are; the load security which can be described as hazard prevention of the load itself and third parties (other vehicles, pedestrians and etc.) correspondingly, due to road conditions and drivers behaviour; and theft/intrusion (T/I) protection for illegal attempts to loading zone of semi-trailer either by vandalism or human smuggling. The basic structure of tarps consists of woven PES fabrics usually coated with PVC. For realizing the load securing tarp, so called Code XL tarp, the basic tarp is reinforced horizontally, vertically and diagonally by straps consisting of coated fabric, which causes a slight compromise in sliding functionality. These straps are joined to the basic structure by ultrasonic welding in an additional process step. Only this process step created 20 % of the assembling costs. To add a T/I protection, usually metal wires are joined on the backside of the tarp in grid-like pattern which additionally increased the production costs and also the weight of the tarp. Moreover the loss of sliding functionality in T/I solution is even more severe than Code XL tarp. In order to fulfill the requirements by end customers, standards and regulations without any compromise in competitiveness regarding functionality and cost; this project aims at developing a new tarp structure with integrated features to eliminate manual operations in assembly causing extra labour/material cost. Within the project, a tarp structure is designed and developed with integrated T/I protection by the usage of a hybrid yarn and integrated load securing by using textile structures with incorporated reinforcements in order to eliminate extra cost items in production. Additionally, the integrated T/I protection would allow a cost increase by 75 % compared to a conventional tarp without T/I protection. The T/I protection is realized by an innovative hybrid yarn structure combining PES yarn and a cut resistant yarn like metal wire or aramid. Different material combinations are twisted and tested. Selected yarn structures are further processed into fabrics for more detailed testing. For integrating the load securing concepts based on woven and non-crimp fabrics (NCF) are developed. In the woven fabric, horizontal and vertical reinforcement straps are integrated by locally increasing the warp respectively the weft density. In the NCF based approach the basic structure consists of a 0 and 90° layer reinforced by horizontal, vertical and diagonal yarn groups as reinforcement straps. For both, the weaving and multiaxial warp knitting approach, the machine is adapted to be able to integrate the local reinforcement straps. For the different textile approaches, samples are produced and tested. Due to the varying areal weight of the textiles the coating process has to be adapted as well to achieve a uniform coating of the textile structure. A suitable machine setup is established and process parameters determined. Besides the coating process also the assembling process has to be significantly changed due to the usage of already-reinforced semi-finished products instead of uniform rolled material. New concepts for the cutting, positioning and joining of the newly developed tarp material are developed and tested. Especially the cutting is a crucial step in the assembling due to the integrated T/I protection. By using the new developed tarp material, full scale vehicle prototypes are produced based on new upper structure and tarp assembly designs for different vehicle configurations. Component and vehicle level tests are performed according to related standards and customer requirements. Therefore, output of the project is validated per requirements defined in main specification combined with an economical evaluation.
Project ID: 
10 742
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
1 130 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Materials Technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.