LOUISVILLE. After a nearly 13-year absence, Heil Trailer is getting back into the stainless steel trailer market, showing off a brand new general chemical stainless steel tanker trailer model here at the 2014 Mid America Trucking Show that will be followed by a food-grade stainless steel model this summer and a 3-A sanitary model later in the third quarter this year.

The reason for the re-entry into the stainless steel side of the trailer business is simple, Jay Moffitt, Heil’s director of strategic planning and marketing, told Fleet Owner: some 3,000 stainless steel trailers get produced and sold annually, which equates to a sizeable chunk of the roughly 4,600 unit volume seen every year on the aluminum side of the market.

“There are also certain products you just can’t haul in aluminum trailers, such as orange juice, milk, acid-based chemicals, even high-temperature liquids,” Moffitt said. “Certain products are just better suited to stainless steel rather than aluminum and so we want to be in a position to capture some of that business.”

(The company also introduced what it called a "unique" ultra-cleanable food grade dry bulk trailer at Mid America: the model 1611, seen above at right.)

Randall Swift, Heil’s president and CEO, noted the trailer-maker made significant investments in its Juarez, Mexico, manufacturing facility in order to build stainless steel products – adding laser welding equipment and expanding the plant by some 368,000 sq. ft.

“We’re still in ‘ramp-up’ mode but we should begin to roll the first stainless steel tankers off the line by July,” he told Fleet Owner.