Diesel fuel at almost $5.00/gallon. Flatbed rates at historical highs. Hardwood mills switching to softwood. Inability to find suitable hardwood mat material.
Is a thinner mat the mat of the future? The infrastructure business has pivoted towards T-line and smaller pipelines. A thinner mat could be the solution.
Assume equipment loads and ground conditions warrant a thinner mat.
A thinner reduces transport cost. Is that enough to switch to a thinner mat?
Some companies are making thinner mats now. Will they do the job?
Yes. Make sure the species are strong and the mats are well-manufactured. Dimension is a poor predictor of results. Strength is a good predictor.
Because Eucalyptus is 40% stronger than oak, a 4” Eucalyptus mats has the same bending strength as a 4.75” oak mat.
Average 50+ mats/truck over mat lifetime for Eucalyptus 14’x4’x4” mat.
14’x4’x4” Eucalyptus mats fresh off the line. Straps are for easy unloading.
World Forest Group started making thinner Eucalyptus mats in September 2020 with the E7M. Check out the testing results here.
Coming in PART II: How to use Total Cost of Ownership to Evaluate a Thinner Mat.