Tarpaulin covers for racks revisited

Glass racks must have low sills for transport setups with maximum loading heights. They also make it easier for employees to position heavy and oversized glass and elements. But depending on the weather, the rack support’s short distance to the ground also potentially exposes the load to rain, splash water, and damage from stones during transport.

Front view roller tarpaulin

Tarpaulin covers for racks revisited

A splash guard tarpaulin is a partial solution to the problem, keeping the worst soiling and spray from oncoming traffic away up to a height of 120 cm from the surface. If maximum protection is desired or necessary, the goods should be transported on a rack with a sliding tarpaulin that completely shields the load. An almost-perfect solution – if manual opening and closing didn’t take such a long time. The time required is manageable if only one or two customers are expecting deliveries, but it can quickly add up to become a relevant factor in distribution transport situations.

In 2015, together with Markus Holpp, the managing director of Glas Wehrle in Villingen-Schwenningen and Glashandel Tuttlingen, HEGLA Fahrzeugbau initiated a joint pilot project to reduce the effort involved. The result is the automated roll-up tarpaulin HEGLA Fahrzeugbau developed with the intent of significantly saving time during handling, loading, and unloading. Comparable to a roll-up gate, the new system rolls tarpaulins up and down with the push of a button, making the rack conveniently accessible to employees.

Roll-up tarpaulin can be opened before arriving in the unloading area

The opening and closing of the roll-up tarpaulin does not require monitoring, saving even more time. While entering the unloading area or directly upon entering the vehicle, drivers can activate the roll-up tarpaulin using a button in the cab and can unload the rack immediately upon arrival. Employees can also leave directly after the load has been secured – while the covering is still automatically closing – which also saves time. “This not only saves a considerable amount of time,” said Hans-Peter Löhner, the managing director of HEGLA Fahrzeugbau, “It also solves the previous conflict of interests between protection against wetness, splash water, and damage from stones on the one hand, and the extra effort for handling and logistics on the other.”

Glas Wehrle has been running a field test with a lorry equipped like this since 2015 and according to Managing Director Markus Holpp, it has proven its functionality under a range of weather conditions. The vehicle has been met with acceptance by both the company’s employees and its customers. Alongside the practical advantages that the roll-up tarpaulin offers, the employees appreciate the fact that they no longer get as dirty or wet as they used to when working with the sliding tarpaulin. The company’s customers are pleased that the delivery process is now faster, and the loading ramp or approach is free again in no time at all.

Operation from both inside and outside

The roll-up tarpaulin’s drive and drive shaft are installed on the vehicle in a compact, weight-optimized aluminium cassette complete with cabling. For a high level of operating convenience and maximum functional reliability, the operating unit is mounted next to the driver’s seat and can be used from either inside or outside.

Depending on the vehicle and rack used, the roll-up tarpaulin makes a loading height of 265 cm available. All 12- and 18-tonne vehicles can be converted with this equipment and many can accommodate a retrofit. “With the tarpaulin innovation, high-quality mirrors, special glass, and ISO units are well protected on their way to the customer. It also demonstrates a focus on high quality and proper transport,” said Hans-Peter Löhner. The roll-up tarpaulin saves time, provides a highly visible advertising surface and just as importantly, makes the daily routine easier for employees.

Interview with Markus Holpp, managing director of Glas Wehrle in Villingen-Schwenningen and Glashandel Tuttlingen

Question: Why do you recommend the roll-up tarpaulin?

Markus Holpp: High-quality glass must always be covered with tarpaulin as part of preparation for transport. Customers no longer accept unprotected deliveries and we have up to 25 unloading points that must be unloaded quickly.

Question: What is their major advantage?

Markus Holpp: Since the tarpaulins open while entering the unloading area and closed while leaving it, we can save 5 minutes per unloading operation. That adds up to as much as 2 hours a day.

Now our problem is that the drivers argue about who gets to use vehicle with the roll-up tarpaulin.

Question: Because it is quicker and more convenient?

Markus Holpp: More convenient, yes. They were not as concerned with time because they are paid for their time. One of the main plus points for drivers is that they no longer get dirty from having to pull a wet, dirty tarpaulin up and down. And drivers could not get into their vehicles while the warehouse workers were loading them because the tarpaulin would block the door. With the roll-up tarpaulin, this is no longer the case.

Question: And what do your customers think?

Markus Holpp: They only wanted the glass to be clean upon delivery. Our customers are happy that we no longer block the loading zone for such a long time.

Further Information:

HEGLA Fahrzeugbau GmbH & Co. KG

74589 Satteldorf (Germany)

Carsten Koch
Phone: + 49 (0) 52 73 / 9 05 - 121
Email: carsten.koch(at)hegla.de 

Images 1+2: Mirrors, glass, or ISO units are in place on the rack and protected against wetness, splash water, and damage from stones. The roll-up tarpaulin also demonstrates a focus on high quality and proper transport.

Images 3+4: During transport, the automated roll-up tarpaulin can be opened or closed so unloading proceeds quickly and immediately upon arrival, saving time in the process.