Custom fabricators who are equipped with state-of-the-art plasma cutting technology are capable of producing a wide selection of metal products for their customers. One popular product that can be a great source of revenue is a custom-fabricated trailer. Whatever the specs may be, metal trailers are typically made from either aluminum or steel. The choice depends on a number of factors, including your customer’s budget and the climate where they operate. Let’s take a look at some of that factors that make aluminum or steel the right option.
Perhaps the most critical factor in opting for aluminum over steel is the difference in weight, as aluminum weighs much less than steel. Heavy steel trailers can be difficult to stop and are more prone to skidding. Plus, they are more costly to use as the extra weight will require more fuel to haul than a lightweight aluminum trailer, which could ultimately eat into profits. Because aluminum trailers are easier to control and require less fuel consumption, they are a popular choice and therefore a valuable commodity for custom metal fabricators.
Though steel is heavier than aluminum, there are occasions when it is the preferred material for use in a trailer. Steel is exceptionally strong, much stronger than aluminum. When rough terrain is present, a steel trailer may be a better choice as it can tolerate being towed over a deteriorating road, open field, or other uneven surface that could otherwise damage the softer aluminum material.
While aluminum isn’t entirely without risk, steel is much more prone to rusting. Aluminum, therefore, is better suited for particular climates. For instance, when used near the ocean where salt water is in the air or in snowy climates where roads are salted, aluminum trailers will hold up much better than steel trailers. Some metal fabricators use plasma cutting technology to produce stainless steel trailers, with the goal of pairing the strength of steel with the rust resistance of aluminum. However, stainless steel is even heavier than standard steel, and it is more expensive than aluminum.
On the surface, steel is a much more affordable material than aluminum. The lower price tag may look appealing to customers on a budget, but the truth is that the costs will likely balance out over time. This is because steel requires regular maintenance, such as rustproofing and floor repairs, to keep from deteriorating. Take, for example, livestock applications: The ammonia and acids found in bodily waste left behind by horses, cows, and other animals can quickly eat away at a steel floor. An aluminum trailer floor, conversely, will not be affected and can be easily cleaned. Factoring in maintenance and repairs, the seemingly low cost of steel can add up over time. For most of your customers, aluminum will be worth the higher price tag due to its long-lasting performance.
Fabricating Aluminum & Steel Trailers Using CNC Plasma Cutting Technology
Machitech is a leading manufacturer of automated CNC plasma cutting tables. If you own a custom fabrication business and you’re looking to take it to the next level, contact us today to learn how a heavy-duty Machitech CNC plasma cutting machine can help. When you call, be sure to ask about the free and unlimited lifetime support that we will include with your purchase.