What materials are used to build a utility trailer?

Written by lewis r. humphries
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What materials are used to build a utility trailer?
Different materials can suit the different needs for a utility trailer. (construction security, trailer image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Utility trailer sales manage to remain relatively steady throughout global recession, and manufacturers continue to spend on evolving their trailers' designs and effectiveness. This reaps its rewards as the economy recovers -- increased trading produces a higher demand for trailers to deliver designated freight. There are different materials that can be used to form the utility trailer depending on its purpose, and advancements in technology are producing new ideas to improve utility trailer function and appearance.

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Steel is the most common material used in the production of utility trailers and is best suited for large, high-volume freight shipments. Steel is approximately 66% stronger then the metallic element aluminium, meaning that in larger structures it would take three times as much aluminium to complete the build. Steel is also a more flexible material and boasts a natural memory to enable it to retain is shape over a period of extended use. Although natural steel is not particularly resistant to corrosion, it is often coated in a finish that increases its durability through long distance and overseas travel.


Aluminium is a metallic element, with an average of 29 million tons produced each year worldwide. Approximately 25% of this is recycled, so the material can prove to be cost-effective when used in minimal quantities. It is especially suited to lightweight and compact trailers designed to carry small and low-volume loads over land and rail. The material is not as strong as steel, and nor does it boast the same level of flexibility. This means that under the same pressure, aluminium will bend more and is unable to bear the load of a heavy freight effectively. The material is also unsuited to longer distance freight shipments, as it fatigues and wears much quicker than steel. Aluminium has become increasingly popular as a recyclable material to be utilised in home or budget trailers.

What materials are used to build a utility trailer?
Aluminium is a cost-effective material when used in minimal qunatities. (stucco aluminium 2 image by Cristiano Ribeiro from Fotolia.com)


The utilisation of plastic in the build of utility trainers is a newer innovation and involves a high-molecular-weight plastic being incorporated with aluminium to improve existing aluminium trailer designs. This combination melds the aluminium frames with polythene plastic sheets, which makes for a lightweight structure that reduces costs when compared to an all aluminium or steel trailer. This process does enable larger structures to be built cost-effectively due to the reduced level of metallic material and would allow the shipment of higher volumes of lightweight freight.

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