Dutch heavy-load service provider Mammoet has used its Trailer Power Assist (TPA) technology for the first time on a long distance assignment. According to heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer Transporter Industry International Group (TII Group), who developed the TPA in conjunction with Mammoet under its Scheuerle brand, the TPA enabled two 430-tonne nuclear fusion reactor coils to be transported from the port in Marseille over 100 km across southern France using just two truck units rather than the usual six in just half the time specified for the project.

This was possible, explained Tii, due to the extensive drive power generated by the TPA’s 1,000 hp engine, which provides a traction force of 400 kilonewtons, in combination with its specialist hydraulic drive. According to Tii, the high traction force combined with the manoeuvrability of the TPA made it possible for Mammoet to cover the distance in a very short time. This was important as the route included numerous motorway sections so Mammoet had to handle the transport as quickly as possible to minimise traffic disruption.

Other elements of the TPA that can help save time, Tii outlined, are that it doesn’t have the ballast requirements of conventional tractors or the need for coordination between the drivers that occurs in multi-truck combinations in order to synchronise the braking and steering. By reducing the total weight of a transport and the number of tractor units the TPA also improves fuel economy, Tii added.

The TPA is based on Tii’s Scheuerle self-propelled K25 modular platform vehicle which hydraulically drives four of the six axle lines by means of one Power Pack Unit (PPU). Its modular design means the TPA can be coupled with other units. The system supports an assisted road speed of 28 km/h – making it up to 20 times faster than a conventional self-propelled modular transporter. With an empty load, when travelling at more than 28 km/h the TPA switches to its freewheeling mode and the truck tractor can pull the TPA up to a maximum speed of 80 km/h. This further helps save time when travelling between jobs, Tii said. The TPA is eligible for road approval in Europe, Tii states.

The transportation job carried out by Mammoet was conducted on behalf of nuclear fuel logistics specialist Daher Technologies. The coils were transported for use in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project which is scheduled for completion in 2025. ITER is expected to demonstrate how electricity can be generated with the help of nuclear fusion. A second Mammoet transportation job for the ITER project, utilising TPA, is scheduled to follow, Tii claimed. This will involve the transportation of a 600-tonne vacuum vessel in which the fusion reaction takes place.

The TPA on its first long haul job

The TPA generates a performance of 1,000 hp. Instead of six units, the transport assignment only required two truck tractors and completed the route in half the specified time. Photo source: ITER/Mammoet

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