The HiVol lowboy trailer and vehicle recovery tool (VRT) from Philippi-Hagenbuch, made to work independently or together as one integrated system, are designed to haul large, heavy off-highway mining equipment, including drills, loaders and high-capacity shovels, reducing costly downtime and maintenance on equipment components.

The trailer has a loading capacity of 400 to 1,800 tons, while the VRT acts as the intermediary between the haul vehicle and trailer, evenly distributing the load for 22 percent greater hauling capacity. Trailers are approximately 40 feet wide and 70 feet long and can be customized to meet specialized needs.

“All of our equipment is custom-designed for the end-user and purpose-driven,” says Josh Swank, vice president of sales and marketing for Philippi-Hagenbuch. It was talking with a client and observing undercarriage wear on equipment being walked across the mine that led to the design of the heavy-haul trailer, he says.

“For this mine, it was costing them approximately $1 million to refurbish their undercarriage, and they were doing that every three years because of the wear associated with walking their shovels,” Swank says. “They would follow a seam until it ended; then it could be an additional 10 to 20 miles to the next site.”

Controlled by a wireless remote, the rear axles on the lowboy trailer pivot out and up, lowering the tapered deck. Extended ramps maintain a flat plane with the trailer, eliminating apex or angled loading and potential damage to idlers and rollers on tracked equipment. Able to walk up the deck, equipment loading and unloading can be completed in less than 20 minutes.

“The ramps come up. The axle arrangements pivot back into the transfer mode; the deck is raised and it’s all locked in place,” Swank says. Trailer ground clearance is between 12 to 18 inches, with custom heights available. The rubberized lumber decking, up to 8 inches thick, is made from recycled tires and doesn’t splinter like wood or break up like rubber.

The VRT also can be used on its own as a towing device to move inoperable off-highway haul trucks that can weigh up to 400 tons. The VRT fits under the front bumper of the disabled vehicle and lifts the front tires off the ground, evenly distributing vehicle weight. The VRT’s wide wheelbase also adds stability and balance, eliminating the need for a counterweight on the tow vehicle and reducing pressure on the chassis.

Combined with the lowboy, the VRT enables the trailer to carry shovels weighing up to 1,800 tons.

“Since we wanted to achieve capacity for these large shovels, we had to add a VRT, which is essentially a multi-purpose jeep. What it is is an intermediary with additional tires that’s between the (haul truck) chassis and the trailer,” Swank says. Approximately the same width as the haul truck chassis, the VRT serves as the intermediary.

The custom-built VRT, with its extended width, also provides additional safety by increasing stability as well as facilitating quick hookup, Swank says.

“When it mates up (with the trailer), there’s no human interaction needed. All the operator has to do is push the button on the remote control that raises the VRT to lock it in the lowboy gooseneck. There are no hydraulic hoses or electrical wires that need to be connected. It’s very automatic.”

The wireless remote, which can be operated by one individual, has one button for transport and one for load. “The load (button) lowers the (trailer) deck and pivots the axles,” Swank says. “The transport (button) reverses the operation.” Two other buttons on the remote operate the VRT. 800/447-6464;

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