The Goldhofer Group has about 800 employees designing and producing practical heavy-haulage and special transport solutions for the most challenging logistics requirements. The beginnings of the company with its twin locations in Memmingen and Ostfildern, Germany go all the way back to 1705. The Transport Technology division delivers user-oriented heavy-haulage solutions and a full range of dedicated accessories for on- and off-road operations with payloads of up to 15,000 tons and more, plus regional modifications in line with the local infrastructure and market requirements. In addition to trailers and semi-trailers for the construction and haulage industries, Goldhofer also supplies transport systems for the wind power industry and a range of heavy-duty combinations with and without hydrostatic drive for transporting oversized and heavy cargos. The Airport Technology division has a focus on the specific requirements of airport logistics. The division’s wide range of conventional and towbarless aircraft tow tractors, aircraft recovery systems, and cargo and baggage tractors in all size classes are reliable performers for continuous operations in ground support at airports worldwide. With its transport solutions in zero-emission e-versions (»IonMaster« technology), Goldhofer is also a prominent pioneer in the field of e-mobility. Interview with Robert Steinhauser: Director Sales Europe and North Africa, Goldhofer Transport Technology Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities? Robert Steinhauser: The Goldhofer Group has about 800 employees designing and producing practical heavy haul and special transport solutions for the most challenging logistics requirements all over the world. The beginnings of the company with its twin locations in Memmingen and Ostfildern, Germany, go all the way back to 1705. E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company? RS: The Transport Technology division delivers user-oriented heavy-haulage solutions and a full range of dedicated accessories for on- and off-road operations with payloads of up to 15,000 tons and more, plus regional modifications in line with the local infrastructure and market requirements. In addition to trailers and semi-trailers for the construction and haulage industries, Goldhofer also supplies transport systems for the wind power industry and a range of heavy-duty combinations with and without hydrostatic drive for transporting oversized and heavy cargos. Core industries: construction, machinery/plant engineering, energy, mining, port/shipyard logistics and petrochemicals. The Airport Technology division has a focus on the specific requirements of airport logistics. The division’s wide range of conventional and towbarless aircraft tow tractors, aircraft recovery systems, and cargo and baggage tractors in all size classes are reliable performers for continuous operations in ground support at airports worldwide. E.E: What’s the news for 2020 about new products? RS: As the latest addition to the Goldhofer portfolio, we presented the »STEPSTAR« self-tracking semi lowloader at the beginning of 2020. These three- to five-axle vehicles provide a proven high standard of quality on attractive terms. With their impressive payload to weight ratios, they offer significant weight savings compared with similar semi-trailers and can therefore carry higher payloads. Robust premium components, e.g. BPW axles, ERMAX LED lighting systems and RUD chains, are the key to low maintenance and long service life. The »STEPSTAR« comes with attractive features like the intelligent load securing system and the light and durable »TRAFFIdeckGO« deck covering for optimum load handling and security. Also, the extra long and wide excavator boom recess is specially designed for flexible transportation to and from construction sites; it has no cross members and is open to the rear. This makes it possible to carry even bigger excavator booms while simultaneously reducing overall height. That is a big advantage on routes with height restrictions. It also means fewer hassles with permits and more cost-effective working. Loading and unloading are also fast and simple operations as the »STEPSTAR« comes with long lightweight ramps for use with almost all self-propelled cargos. The high degree of standardization means that spare parts can be obtained quickly and easily should the need arise. E.E: What are the ranges of traded products? RS: With its versatile semi-trailers, Goldhofer offers a very wide range of flatbed, lowloader and semi-lowloader models in twelve individually configurable series. This means that all cargos – whether compact, heavy, long or voluminous – can be transported safely and economically and with maximum flexibility no matter how challenging the route. The Goldhofer portfolio ranges from the self-tracking »STEPSTAR« to the most powerful low loader semi-trailer, namely the STZ-VP 285. The semi lowloaders in the »ARCUS« family feature Goldhofer’s proven pendulum axle technology and come with an axle load of 12 t per axle line. The combination of extremely low loading height and innovative steering system means maximum flexibility and maneuverability. With an identical frame design combined with different wheel sets and steering systems, the semi-trailers STZ-L, STZ-L with wheel recess, STZ-H, »MPA« and »MPA« with wheel recess are a highly versatile solution for transporting a wide range of cargos such as construction machinery, plant components and crane segments. Total weight varies between 34 and approx. 150 tons. The STZ-VL, STZ-VH and »MPA-V« combine fast and easy front-end loading with low loading heights and flexible steering for safe and economical transport operations whatever the center of gravity of the load. The STZ-VP (245) and STZ-VP (285) lowloader semitrailers, incorporating Goldhofer’s proven pendulum axle technology, rank among the champions when it comes to moving heavy loads – thanks to their enormous axle and fifth wheel loads, impressive hydraulic suspension stroke, outstanding steering angle, vehicle widths from 2,550 to 3,000 mm and excavator boom recesses. They ensure that the heaviest loads can be transported reliably to their destination, even on challenging routes over varying terrain and through the tightest passages. The flatbed semi-trailers SPZ-L / SPZ-H / SPZ-GL / SPZ-GP / »VENTUM« round off the semi-trailer portfolio. They are the ideal choice for transporting heavy and long cargos such as crane ballast and jibs, concrete beams and components for windpower plants. With a suspension stroke of 600 mm, steering angle of 60°, up to five extension stages and a loading length of well over 70 m, they deliver the flexibility needed to handle any load. Special solutions like our blade transporter (FTV) and tower adapters for flexible transport operations with wind turbine components, such as extra-long rotor blades and heavy tower sections, round off the Goldhofer portfolio of heavy-duty transport solutions in use worldwide. Goldhofer has another major range of products in the form of the trailered and self-propelled heavy-duty modules in the THP und PST series. They can be combined to increase load capacity and deck area and still remain highly maneuverable thanks to Goldhofer’s robust and innovative steering systems and steering axle technology. This ensures that even the largest and heaviest structural elements, machines and plant components reach their destination quickly and reliably. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? RS: The market for heavy haulage vehicles – like almost all other industries – is very much under pressure worldwide due to COVID-19, and we are naturally feeling that pressure, too. Given the level of global construction activity and long-term industrial and utility infrastructure developments, however, we are highly confident that we will soon recover from this dip in sales. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? RS: Regardless of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing continuing demand for maximum payloads and solutions for optimized load handling and safety. In response to this trend, Goldhofer is constantly studying ideas for enhanced operating convenience and translating them into specific improvements. Intelligent lashing systems, for example, as in the case of our new »STEPSTAR«, ensure both shorter changeover times and additional load security. Our response to another challenge, namely maneuverability on narrow passages of the route or off-road terrain, includes the development of our Smart Control solutions. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? RS: In addition to the »STEPSTAR« as already mentioned (see answer 3), Goldhofer has a whole range of innovative heavy-haul solutions. Their world premieres at Bauma met with a very enthusiastic industry response. The main attractions were a new low-profile tire, a completely new electronic steering system and an extremely hard-wearing floor covering. Keen interest was also shown in Goldhofer’s trailered and self-propelled heavy-duty modules, especially the PST with the freewheel function (»SPEEDRIVE«), the »ADDRIVE 2.0«, which can be used both as a self-propelled and a trailered unit, as well as the new low-wear deck covering »TraffideckGo« E.E: What estimations do you have for 2020? RS: As already mentioned, the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic will doubtless be with us for some time to come. Nor should we forget the global drop in oil prices, which has also put the brakes on spending decisions. Nevertheless, despite temporary disruptions in supply chains and a noticeable reluctance to invest, we expect the market to recover soon and to see that recovery reflected in our medium to long-term results.