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THE Top Tip – Seven of Spades – Swept Paths

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These days, hydraulic trailers are capable of navigating extremely tight corners.

Ensuring that a trailer and load can navigate a pinch point on a route or site involves careful consideration of many factors, the first of which is a swept path assessment. This desk-based exercise takes the trailer and load and projects it onto a 2D or 3D representation of the area through which the load must be manoeuvred. This assessment takes into account the oversail of the load beyond the volume of the trailer system and the height of this oversail. Often the cargo can pass over a low obstruction meaning that it need not be modified or temporarily moved to save cost.

The volume of the trailer system itself represents the clear space required at road/site surface level. Here undulations on the surface that may affect trailer stroke, kerbs that will need temporarily ramping out, or softer areas of ground that will need plating to provide the required ground bearing capacity all are derived from the swept path assessment.

More and more often, a 3D scan of pinch points is used instead of an old-fashioned tape measure, pen and pad. These allow masses of data to be captured, including heights of bridges, trees and overhead wires easily and effectively. Thereafter simple representative models of the trailer and load can be superimposed and then clash checked for areas on the point cloud ensuring that when the load arrives at the corner or bridge in question, all street furniture and site preparation works that are required are in place and the operation can proceed without delay.