20/12/2006 - 06:00 am

Up-N-Atom Retriever 15T Transport Truck Bed

The Retriever 15T transport truck bed, manufactured by Up-N-Atom, Inc., Waukesha, Wis., exemplifies innovation, influence, and owner-operator benefits. From its suspension-style airbags to its patented curved and hinged deck, the Retriever 15T's unique features allow it to transport equipment faster, improve operator safety, eliminate hydraulic system maintenance expenses, and operate in extreme cold weather.

More than the average hauling tool, the Retriever was designed to transport construction equipment, and its patented curved and hinged deck design allows equipment to be easily driven onboard with minimal risk of tipping or operator injury.

The Retriever can be fitted to almost any truck chassis • standard or low profile, new or used • and is operated by one person via lever-controlled air valves. By moving a lever, the suspension- style airbags powered by the truck's air system either inflate or deflate to raise or lower the deck.

The Retriever has two ramp options • the 15T incorporates the automatic three-way bi-fold model. By first releasing the two transport locks and activating the first stage release valve, the main ramp is lowered and the deck is extended four feet. When extended, the main ramp can be locked into a horizontal position to support up to four tons for transporting longer equipment. The main ramp combined with a dock leg permit allows it to load machines directly from a dock. A second valve moves the approach ramp into position; lowering the deck secures the ramp to the ground. Reversing the process brings the ramp back into transport position. The approach ramp stops just short of a complete close, avoiding the chance of injuring the operator's hands.

The deck's hinged design permits the rear section to be lowered within 18 inches of the ground, depending on the chassis being used, which reduces the approach angle to as little as 10.8. At this angle, most equipment can simply be driven on rather than winched aboard. The curved shape of the deck also prevents breakover damage when loading tracked equipment. In terms of safety, the arched shape creates only a slight down slope rather than a steep incline, and an advanced epoxy deck coating provides a skid-resistant surface for added operator safety. Optional steps and grab handles can be positioned for easy access to the Retriever's deck.

If the operator is loading underpowered or disabled equipment, a standard 9,000-pound industrial grade winch can ease it in place. The winch comes with 50 feet of cable and 10 feet of control cord plus an optional wireless remote control. An optional traversing winch with up to 15,000 pounds of capacity moves across the full width of the deck to permit easy side-by-side loading.

Once equipment is loaded in position, it can be easily secured for transport using any of the Retriever's 40 tie-down points. Chains can be stored within reach in provided pockets or in an underbody tool box. One or more optional side-mounted tool drawers also can be installed on the chassis.

When moving construction equipment, the Retriever's low center of gravity improves road handling even when it is fully loaded. Taller loads also can be transported because the low bed height allows a loaded unit to pass under most bridges and underpasses. Depending on state regulations, a CDL may not be required when hauling up to 13,000 pounds of payload.

Design benefits

In addition to the benefits of its patented deck design, the Retriever operates with almost no moving parts. In place of frame-within-a-frame mechanics used in other transport systems, the Retriever uses the air system of its chassis to elevate and lower the deck.

Without the use of common hydraulics, the Retriever is not affected by cold weather sluggishness, hydraulic leaks, environmental issues, or hydraulic maintenance costs. The hydraulic system's dead weight is then converted into larger payloads, which can be hauled on smaller trucks. Additionally, no PTO or wet kit is required, reducing chassis costs by up to $4,000.

The Retriever is built with heavy duty components, including heavy gauge steel, oversized fasteners, stainless steel pins, rugged weldments, and advanced epoxy coatings. It is undercoated with an anti-corrosive polymer to resist chipping and gouging and prevent the spread of rust.

Because the Retriever is bolted directly to the truck's frame, an integral rear hitch makes trailering equipment up to a 20-ton rating a possibility. This addition nearly doubles the operator's hauling capacity.

Added savings

According to Up-N-Atom, even the most conservative estimates show savings and productivity gains • the Retriever ends up saving more in one year than it costs to buy. The company also said that it is conceivable for a Retriever transport truck bed to pay for itself in less than one year of operation. All Retrievers are protected by a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship that covers everything Up-N-Atom builds.

Should a Retriever transport truck bed ever need a part, Up-N-Atom has its stock on-hand and will ship parts within 24 hours. Experienced personnel are also available for on-site assistance if necessary.

For more information, go to www.upnatominc.com.

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