BOB BEECH WAS RECENTLY INVITED TO GOLDHOFER’S MEMMINGEN HEADQUARTERS IN SOUTHERN GERMANY, TO HEAR ABOUT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THEIR EXTENSIVE PRODUCT RANGE AND SEE THE PRODUCTION PROCESS FIRST-HAND.
One of the most respected manufacturers in heavy transport equipment is the long-established German manufacturer, Goldhofer. For many years the company has been at the forefront of this sector’s major technological advances: it supplies its products to specialist transport companies throughout the world. The company’s roots go back as far as the 1700s when, as a simple forge, they served the local farming community. Trailer building started in 1945; the ﬁrst lowloader was built in 1952. This simple design was a far cry from the sophisticated, ultra high capacity modular trailer systems that are a regular part of the current product range. But the basic principles – of careful detail in design, and precise manufacture using the best quality components – have been a Goldhofer trademark for decades. The company’s watchwords are Quality and Innovation: increasing competition from all corners means little opportunity to stand still in an ever-competitive marketplace.
The extensive product range is sold throughout the world – 160 countries at present: varying markets with different operating temperatures of between plus or minus 40 degrees Celsius. As a group, the company has in the region of 650 employees, with up to 50 apprentices. Annual turnover is around 200 million euros. The company has produced a total of 36,000 trailers so far; annual production levels are between 1000–1200 trailers per year. These cover everything – from a straightforward three-axle stepframe, to a huge Faktor 5 girder trailer, with numerous modular axles capable of carrying ﬁve times their unladen weight.
Goldhofer have a policy of only dealing with whom they consider the best suppliers of high-quality components. A big proportion of these are German companies such as BPW, SAF, Neumeister and Heyd. In addition, they work closely with German steel producers to obtain the right grade of high strength/low weight material required to build modern trailer, where unladen weight is minimised, payloads are maximised, but strength and durability are not compromised.