Years ago, horse owners didn’t have many options when it came to the construction of their horse trailer. Rust-prone steel-welded trailers dominated the market until aluminum crept onto the scene in the 1980’s. Yes, aluminum trailers look great, but they proved to be unsafe and too weak to survive roadway accidents.
As technology has advanced, trailer manufacturers learned a lot about how to make safer and more durable trailers. Sealant paints and coatings advanced greatly over the years. Plus, we’ve developed better bonding technologies that seal off moisture and reduce noise caused by mechanical fasteners like rivets.
Yet, many companies are more focused on profits than safety.
Here, at Double D Trailers, we have combined the latest building technology with top-grade materials to create the absolute best and safest option for your horse trailer. It’s called Z-Frame Technology…
Z-Frame is a patented technology used to create the chassis (or frame) and interior dividers in all of our horse trailers. Brad Heath, owner of Double D Trailers, says, “It’s an awesome technology which every horse trailer manufacturer in the US should be using.”
But all horse trailer manufacturers are not using Z-Frame.
Instead, many are still relying on outdated manufacturing techniques using steel frames or fully aluminum frames. As you may know, steel frame trailers are not always built to stand the test of time. All-steel trailers tend to rust at the welds and seams where air and moisture are able to penetrate.
All-aluminum trailers, while flashy and rust-proof, present a number of serious problems. Aluminum is weak and tends to twist and tear when under stress from a horse or an accident. Weld points tend to crack and aluminum floors can corrode from horse urine to the point where they weaken and completely fail. (see weld crack in photo right) Mill-finish aluminum roofs will turn your horse trailer into an oven during the hot months of summer. In short, aluminum horse trailers are an extremely unsafe option for your horses.
In contrast, Z-Frame technology used in horse trailer chassis and interior dividers represents the latest in horse trailer technology. It’s stronger than steel and just as light as aluminum!
The magic is in its construction.
The Z-Frame is impregnated on the inside and outside with zinc and chromate. This creates an incredibly strong and lightweight material. Smaller gauge pieces can achieve the same strength as steel while still saving your tow vehicle’s gas bill.
Once we have the Z-Frame chassis built, we use a double insulated wall system with Galvalite skin and chemical 3M bonding. This rivet-less design creates a barrier against air and moisture to keep the trailer looking and performing great for years to come.
The roof and floor of a Double D Trailer is finished off with a one-piece leak-proof SafeBump roof and synthetic Rumber or treated lumber flooring. All of these materials work in harmony to reduce heat transfer from the sun and roadway into the horse trailer. They also work to reduce noise and vibration that can cause fatigue for your horse.
Let’s break it down a bit more…
1. Strong and Lightweight
Due to a heat treatment, Z-Frame is stronger than regular steel. This means it can be used in smaller gauge metals while still offering the same strength factor. The result -- a trailer as light as an aluminum trailer but as strong as a steel trailer.
We compared an all-aluminum 2 horse bumper pull trailer with a dressing room to an almost identical trailer made from Z-Frame. The difference in weight was only 80 lbs!
2. Create a Safety Cage Around Your Horses
The horse trailer chassis is the main frame that protects your horse in the case of an accident. Aluminum is very brittle and tends to rip and twist under force. In contrast, Z-Frame creates a strong and durable cage of protection around your animals.
Plus, the interior dividers are made of Z-Frame. Aluminum dividers can be extremely dangerous when trying to retrieve a horse from trailer after a vehicle accident. They end up causing even more injury.
3. Environmentally “Green” Trailer
Z-Frame doesn’t require harmful chemicals or painting to protect from corrosion so it can be left in its natural state for trailer construction. Plus, it contains less harmful lead content than pre-galvanized or hot-dipped products often used in trailer manufacturing.
4. Z-Frame Doesn’t Corrode
Unlike steel-framed horse trailers, Z-Frame contains a 99.99% pure zinc alloy along with chromate, so it will provide long-term durability.
5. Resists Salt Corrosion
Z-Frame lasts up to 3 times longer in salt spray testing compared to something like a stop sign post or a boat trailer. This means you won’t need to worry about winter salt corroding the bottom supports on your horse trailer.
6. High Tensile Strength
Z-Frame is able to resist tension well, so it can be stretched into lighter gauge pieces for an overall lighter weight trailer. Brad Heath, owner of Double D Trailers, says, “From a strength perspective, Z-frame beats aluminum hands down in tensile rating. Plus, there isn’t the issue of ‘cracking’ in the welds which aluminum is prone to do over the years.”
7. Low Heat Transfer
If you’ve ever been inside a trailer with a mill-finished aluminum roof, you can literally feel heat radiating down from the ceiling. Z-Frame along with our SafeBump fiber composite roofing system performs better on heat transfer tests to help keep your horses cool during travel.
Aluminum and steel framed trailers had their moment to shine. But, now it’s time for the latest technologies to take the limelight. Advanced methods and materials make new Z-Frame trailers stronger, safer and more durable than any other trailers on the market.
That is why we feel confident in using Z-Frame technology on all of our horse trailers. If you would like to learn more about this material or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Brad.
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