Equipment Type

Truck Bed Uses Air to Lift Deck, Ramp

Designed for transporting heavy equipment, the Retriever is powered by a truck's auxiliary air system instead of hydraulics

July 01, 2006

Retriever trailer
The Retriever low-profile truck bed features low deck height, light weight, and eliminates the need for a heavy, complex hydraulic system.

Joe Simons owned and operated a construction/industrial equipment distribution business as well as rental companies for 28 years. He experienced first-hand the hauling challenges and high truck-maintenance costs facing today's contractors. As a result, Simons led an engineering team to bring a more affordable hauling solution to life.

The Retriever low-profile truck bed is said to replace pickup trucks and trailers, hydraulic roll-back trucks, hook loaders, and even semi-trailers for hauling heavy equipment, according to Simons. It features low deck height, light weight, and eliminates the need for a heavy, complex hydraulic system. The Retriever taps into a truck's own air system as the power source to raise and lower the patented, curved, hinged deck and bi-fold ramp. It is isolated from the brake system by a protection valve that cuts off air to the Retriever if the system pressure drops below the minimum required for the braking system. And because the unit uses air instead of hydraulic oil, the deck operation is unaffected by cold weather.

"There is so little that can go wrong, a Retriever will easily outlive the truck it's mounted on," says Simons. "That's why we can provide a lifetime warranty...the only one in the industry."

Loading angles of 10.8 to 13.5 degrees (19 to 24 percent grade) can be achieved, and there is no "breakover" when loading tracked equipment. There is also a traversing winch mount that travels the full width of the deck, making side- by-side loading or off-center hook-ups faster and safer, says Simons.

The Retriever is offered in three capacity ratings: 7.5 tons for chassis to 30,000-pound GVWR (class 6); 10 tons for chassis to 33,000-pound GVWR (class 7); and 15 tons for chassis to 54,000-pound GVWR (class 8). All models are available in 20- to 28-foot lengths in 2-foot increments. They can be ordered with either dual, lightweight, aluminum slide-out ramps or with a full-width, air-operated, steel folding ramp. Plus, all models can be configured for loading-dock access.

According to the company, customers typically buy a new or used truck chassis and have the Retriever installed at its Waukesha, Wis., plant or through designated installation contractors in the United States and Canada.

The Retriever lists for $25,000 to $40,000, depending on model, length and options.

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