English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 5 - 2018 - Page 45
Nooteboom launched the first flatbed extendible trailer as early as 1958.The first hydraulically steered
Teletrailer was delivered in 1972 to Van Santen Transport in Haarlem. Over the years the delivery programme
has steadily been extended further and the technical details were improved time after time in order to better
meet the requirements of the customers. The type designation for the most popular Teletrailers is OVB –
Oplegger (semi-trailer)-Vlak (flat)-Bestuurbaar (steered) – and in the transport operator sector this acronym
also stands for robust, manoeuvrable and maintenance-friendly. The latest, quadruple-extendible versions
are so long that on a foggy day the rear end almost disappears in the mist. The Teletrailer: technology for
The very first hydraulically steered Teletrailer, a registered trade name of Nooteboom, was displayed at the
Bedrijfsauto RAI in 1972. The designation OBL stood for Oplegger (semi-trailer), Bestuurbaar (steered),
Luchtvering (air-suspension). During the first years the OBL was not yet discovered by the customers and
therefore not many OBL’s were sold. Due to its extremely solid construction the OBL was heavy and high.
At first this restricted the sales. The technological development of the OBL gained momentum around 1984
when Jan van Seumeren Sr ordered a trailer to transport the ballast of the new Liebherr LT 1300 mobile
FROM OBL TO OVB
The first OBL Ballasttrailer was a winner. Crane hire companies throughout Europe saw the advantages of us-
ing a flatbed trailer with turntable steering for the transport of ballast and crane parts. However, not all cus-
tomers were totally happy as the OBL was still high and heavy. That’s why the OBL was completely redesigned
in 1987 and became the OVB. Pneumatic locking of the extension parts was introduced. Where in previous
versions a drum was used the hoses were now better protected in a cable guide when the vehicle was extend-
ed. The hydraulic steering was controlled from a central control unit. Nooteboom was the first manufacturer
to introduce the single steering rod, where the steering movement is transferred mechanically via a steering
rod to every axle. The steering rods were positioned at as wide a radius as possible, which makes the steering
extremely accurate and keeps the influence of wear and tear to a minimum. Over the years this system has
been copied by all other colleagues and is still used on Teletrailers.
The entire electrical system was overhauled and wherever possible high-grade steel was used - e.g. for the
cross beams. Among the first buyers of the OVB were renowned Dutch companies such as Van Wezel,
Lensveld, Van Opijnen, Holleman,Bolk, Van der Meijden and Van der Vlist.
After the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 the construction and infrastructure projects in
former East Germany were soon well underway. Nooteboom OVB trailers were popular for the transport
of concrete elements and steel structures. In a short period of time almost 200 OVB trailers were sold in
Germany, which was more than the total OBL/OVB production in the previous years.
In 1989 the maximum permitted combination length of a tractor-trailer was raised from 15.5 to 16.5 metres.
This change in legislation was extremely advantageous for the OVB trailers: the steering of a retracted trailer
was much improved. Trailer steering should – ideally – comply with the Ackermann principle. This principle
states that if you draw an imaginary line between each of the wheel axes of a vehicle, the lines should intersect
at one central point. With steered trailers this is never quite the case. With extendible trailers the manufactur-
er has to make a choice: should the steering be optimal when the trailer is extended or when it is retracted? In
practice many Teletrailers drive to a project with a load and return empty. And even if the trailer is loaded it
is not always completely extended. That’s why the steering of an OVB is made to be optimal in order to realise
an extremely long life of the tyres. This is difficult, because with multi-axle trailers – such as the latest genera-
tion Ballasttrailers – the first steered axle is right behind the landing legs. According to the Ackermann prin-
ciple this axle should follow the tractor’s steering. This ‘countersteering’ axle was fitted on the Ballasttrailer
for the first time two years ago. Back to 1989: in those days ‘countersteering’ was not yet an option, but the
longer length trailers were a step in the right direction to realise the best possible steering.