To improve their road trailer, the company hired a team of experienced trailer builders. The s saw change for the company. A new reefer plant was opened in Statesboro, Georgia, to expand manufacturing. Robotics was introduced into the Memphis plant for welding operations to which plasma arch cutting would eventually be added.
The first insulated and cooled trailer dates back to the early s, when the company built the first produce van that was equipped with a wet ice bunker powered by a gas engine-and-blower system. By , refrigerated aluminum trailers were in demand for use in the Florida perishables market and became the standard for the eastern United States. In , the company officially changed its title from the Steel Products Co. It is the only one of its kind still in operation. By , Great Dane had acquired a production facility in Huntsville, Tennessee, from Wabash National Corporation and went into production one year later. In , the Steel Products Company responded to the new opportunity that came from economic pressure and the advent of highway weight laws aimed at haulers by creating lightweight tank trailers and van trailers made of high-tensile steel. The early s saw further advancements and new trends. The s were full of alternate transportation opportunities. In , the company moved to a 10, sq. Brazil is still Great Dane's largest manufacturing facility. At this point in history, every state had some form of regulation for the size and weight of trucks traveling on highways. The Johnson Series line consists of three refrigerated composite truck bodies: A change in leadership was made in as President and COO Phil Pines retired from the company after more than 50 years of service in the trailer industry. It remained here for almost a century where its employees worked alongside a ton traveling crane and power tools for cutting and punching to operate the steelwork and blacksmith facilities. This addition created the broadest line for reefers in the entire industry. The s was the decade of reefers. Truck Bodies[ edit ] Great Dane offers three lines of truck bodies: In , Great Dane demonstrated huge strides in engineering and technology when the SSL dry freight van was added to the product line. That year also marked the completion of the 10, square foot Savannah Engineering Research Lab built for testing of design and construction, which allowed the facility to double production. Great Dane's solution was to use thin, strong high-tensile steel to make the trailers lighter. It also completed its first order of maritime containers in for the American shipping industry. After the war, demand for fresh fruits and vegetables was high. The trailers designed by the team were called Great Danes, after the dogs. Insulation for trailers during the time period consisted of block Styrofoam, just like that used in coolers, which was hand-fitted and lined with plywood. To improve their road trailer, the company hired a team of experienced trailer builders.
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