Commodity hauling of bulk goods is a growing enterprise that has expanded from hauling agricultural products to hauling many other bulk products. Commodity trailers are used to haul agricultural products from storage facilities to processing plants. These trailers are designed for highway use but are frequently required to work in field conditions as well. In many cases this environment overstresses these trailers and results in permanent irreparable damage. In addition to the structural problems of these trailers, the current systems for unloading the bulk produce from these trailers have serious inadequacies. While functional, the currently used chain and non-chain driven belt discharge devices are expensive and often problematic, requiring frequent maintenance and replacement. Furthermore, the discharge device also causes damage to the produce. This thesis provides innovative solutions to these two key problems and introduces a completely new trailer design that can be used for both field and road conditions. The main chassis of the trailer has a framework of ribs supported by two I-beams. This unique rib design combined with the main I beams act as large vertebra, which results in a rigid underbody that maintains flexibility and strength. Special consideration was taken while creating this design to account for dynamic loading on soft muddy soils or uneven surfaces while still maintaining the desired lightweight trailer characteristics. In addition to the improved trailer frame and body design, a simple and effective device for unloading bulk products was constructed. The new design-a belt-over-chain system-is actually two separate systems performing one job in unison with different characteristics and speeds. The system works by means of a hydraulic orbit motor that actuates the drive chains into motion. The weight of bulk commodities on the chain presses the unattached conveyor belt against the chain and cross-members, creating friction, which advances the conveyor belt. This thesis solves two of the problems associated with hauling bulk produce from the field to the storage facility and sets the groundwork for improving the hauling capabilities used to move commodities from the field. Finally, this thesis introduces a new commodity self-unloading trailer for hauling produce, which has a belt system that preserves quality and a body design that provides trailer longevity.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





commodity, hauling, field semi-trailer, farm machinery



Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)