*Krone’s bestseller: Technology carrier in the 5th generation
Built and proven a hundred thousands of times, the Profi Liner from Krone Trailers celebrates its 25th birthday this year. When it came to semitrailers with drop sides, which were common in the late 90s, the solid Krone trailers were considered one of the benchmarks back then. But the transport landscape changed rapidly in this decade: the European domestic market was getting bigger and bigger, and logistics fixed on pallets demanded sliding curtain semitrailers, because increasingly people were loading from the side instead of from the rear.
A new type of vehicle quickly became popular: the curtainsider, a body whose sides consisted of individually operable sliding tarpaulins without drop sides. Krone responded to the growing demand with its own sliding curtain semitrailer, but the design initially had its pitfalls. Uwe Sasse, Managing Director Design & Development at Krone until 2022, remembers: “The Krone sliding curtain semi-trailer was a modified dropside semi-trailer in which we simply omitted the drop sides. There were big problems at first because the strength of the vehicle changed negatively without drop sides.”
Krone’s largest customer at the time, Krone Scandinavia founder Leif Toft, wrote a three-page letter to Dr Bernard Krone requesting a fundamental redesign of the sliding curtain semitrailer. He immediately commissioned a project team to redesign it, and after barely six months the prototype of the new Krone curtainsider trailer was ready – full of innovative ideas, some of which can still be found in the Profi Liner today (and now also with competitors): the steel end wall, the steel rear door with single-joint hinge, the basic chassis construction and the cable routing. Right from the start, the developers relied on a modular structure to exploit economies of scale. Another quality feature, which Krone was the first manufacturer worldwide to introduce in 1997, was the KTL plus powder process for long-term protection against rust. The only thing missing was a catchy name that could be understood in all countries.
Rainer Steuernagel, then Head of Sales & Marketing at Krone, had the brilliant idea: “Profi Liner”, a liner for professionals. The catchy name quickly caught on, and the second half of the word “liner” became the programme, so that the liner derivatives Coil, Mega, Paper, City, Box, Cool and Dry were added shortly afterwards. At the IAA Commercial Vehicles 1998, the new Krone Liner family made its grand entrance, even though the new naming partly comprised already familiar products.
On its 25th birthday, the Profi Liner is already in its fifth generation. In 2003, the Profi Liner 2 was introduced; in addition to many quality improvements, the new Multi-Lock outer frame celebrated its world premiere. With this unique load securing system, more than 3,000 lashing possibilities for securing loads were created. The third generation was launched in 2006, this time focusing on reducing life cycle costs and weight. With Profi Liner 4, introduced in 2009, the aim was to simplify internal processes and reduce logistics costs in addition to further quality optimisations. Finally, the current Profi Liner 5 comes with a tare weight of 5,950 kg in the standard equipment, with robot-manufactured steel container doors and many new details in the body as well as a zinc-phosphated KTL and powder coating. In addition, the Profi Liner is available with numerous telematics functions.
Thanks to the sophisticated modular system, the Profi Liner can be customised for numerous individual requirements. The Profi Liner is also well equipped when it comes to future requirements. As part of the “Mission Beyond Zero” launched by Krone 2022, the new Krone eTrailer helps to improve their carbon footprint. Even though the Profi Liner was first introduced in 1998 – 25 years ago – the Krone curtainsider trailer remains topical and offers plenty of potential for future innovations.