Powerful and Perfectly Adapted

Drake Trailers

With the Perentie – Australia’s largest monitor lizard and known for being low, lean and tough – representing the Drake Trailer brand, General Manager Khali Lake says that the company provides the quality and reliability needed to handle tough Australian conditions. “In harsh environments,” he says, “nothing comes close to the Perentie for strength and resilience. It is powerful and perfectly adapted to its surroundings, like a Drake Trailer.”

As a family owned and operated company, founded in 1958 by Colin Drake at its original site in Rocklea QLD, Drake Trailers has built its market-leading reputation on quality, service and reliability. John Drake, Drake Constructions’ current Managing Director, has maintained private control over the company since taking the helm in 1991. The company employs a diverse range of personnel, from management, engineering, and administrative professionals through to manufacturing specialists and apprentices. Mr Lake attributes the company’s strong history of staff promotion and longevity in its work force to the professional development programs available to all staff members as well as its large apprentice program in association with Apprenticeships QLD.

At the same time, Drake Trailers contributes to industry associations such as the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ), and has loyally supported many of its own suppliers for long periods of time. Through this work, Drake has a earned a sterling reputation for its loyalty and working relationships with all external stakeholders, as well as with charity organisation like the McGrath Foundation (through the pink truck and trailer from Gavin Transport) and Beyond Blue, as well as local schools and training colleges.

With a strong focus on innovation, Drake Trailers provides new and necessary haulage solutions to the market – both locally and internationally. In 2009, Drake launched the drakeshop.com, a merchandise and 1:50 die cast model shop for enthusiasts around the world, which has shown growth over each year since its inception. Important to note, however, is that unlike many of its competitors who build off-shore in Asia, Drake Trailers is proud to continue to perform all of its manufacturing here in Australia.

At present, Drake operates from its new purpose-built facility in Wacol QLD, which covers 8650 square metres and employs close to two hundred fulltime staff, thirty apprentices and forty labour hire personnel for the delivery of over two hundred and fifty trailers per year. Drake Trailers is also planning an expansion to include a base in WA in the coming year as a commitment to be closer to its clients in the west. The new base will include a service facility as well as parts and support staff.

In its role as manufacturer, Drake Trailers’ core functions include manufacturing of widening and fixed width trailers for heavy haulage, mine site equipment transport, steerable modular trailers, telescopic trailers and specialist uses. “Drake Trailers specialises in unique and innovative designs that add value for our clients and ensure heavy loads can be moved safely, efficiently and within the relevant regulations,” explains Mr Lake. “As equipment manufacturers around the world continue to build larger equipment, Drake is developing haulage solutions to keep this market satisfied.”

One such area in which Drake Trailers leads the way in innovation is in the field of heavy haulage. Products like the swing-wing and swing wide, full widener and steerable trailers are Drake innovations that have added significant value to the industry. Utilising state of the art computer design and engineering software, Drake Trailers is able to ensure that all of its products are fit for Australian conditions. The company’s modular, steerable trailers offer an excellent road-going solution to move equipment on-site while its self-propelled units can move equipment with ease around the site.

“Our focus is to provide this end-to-end solution for all industries,” states Mr Drake. “We can design workable solutions for all heavy haulage requirements and have the warranty, service and parts to support all our products.”

With its large team of sales and engineering personnel dedicated to continued improvement and product development, Drake Trailers is able to analyse market trends in equipment and haulage requirements and develop solutions to meet these needs.

“We are heavily involved in our clients’ business,” adds Mr Lake. “We work with them and dedicate engineering resources to meet their future needs. Drake has a comprehensive understanding of the legislative requirements in each state for heavy haulage and ensures that our clients can move loads safely and efficiently.”

Operating in accordance with ISO 9001 principles, ensuring quality and consistency on all of its trailers, Drake Trailers is also proud of its commitment to stocking a large range of spares throughout Australia for all of its trailers. “We are still supplying parts to trailers built in the early years that continue to perform for their owners,” says Mr Drake, a testament to the trailers’ durability and longevity. “A [second-hand] Drake trailer often sells for equal to or greater than the original price, such is the demand and reputation; a second-hand Drake is very rare.”

Drake Trailers has supplied several mine site solutions to mining giant Rio Tinto as well as to its regular clients who transport equipment all over Australia. At present, the company is supplying an unprecedented amount of large steerable and modular steerable trailers, and has just delivered a further hundred and sixty mine site trailers to Rio Tinto. With several other large mining applications in production at present including units for HSE Mining, BMA, BHP and Coal and Allied Hunter Valley Operations, Drake Trailers has reason to be proud of its clientele. “We have long term loyal clients who only buy Drake,” explains Mr Lake.

Furthermore, in conjunction with its Italy-based partners, Cometto, Drake Trailers is currently working toward developing a mine site transporter known as “The Ant.” This modular, self-propelled transporter boasts a carrying capacity up to one thousand tonnes and has the significant advantage of modularity, allowing the client to move a four hundred tonne piece of equipment one day, and then add modules to move a thousand tonne piece.

Explains Mr Drake, “This will allow dedicated construction mining equipment to be moved on site and limit downtime and wear and tear on the machine. Traditionally, mine site trailers are hauled by dump trucks or dedicated tow vehicles. The Ant will eliminate the need for a site-based tow vehicle as the Ant is self-propelled.”

As the Italian company’s Australian Agent, Drake Trailers is also currently working with Cometto to distribute a range of modular self-propelled equipment for use in construction and heavy engineering markets. “We chose to approach [Cometto] because they have good quality self-propelled equipment currently available that we don’t manufacture,” explains Mr Drake.

“Where there is a technology gap in-house we either try to develop it or acquire it. In this case we chose to acquire it as far as possible and we will continue to develop it jointly with Cometto. We need to help our clients be as efficient as possible, including seeking innovative ways to improve their transport requirements on and around mines.”

At the moment, Mr Lake says that the industry is extremely buoyant, with demand across all of Drake Trailers’ product range quite high; the mining industry in particular is providing the company with significant opportunities for continued growth through innovation.

“The mining industry in Australia consumes a significant portion of all capital equipment used and moved around Australia – not just within the mines but the associated infrastructure and development that takes place in mining regions. As equipment needs grow, the needs of our clients are changing and we need to develop workable solutions to assist and grow the company. Mining provides a great opportunity for Drake to be involved in a total solution.”

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December 15, 2019, 2:52 PM AEDT

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