In the automotive industry, when transporting pre-production vehicles – also known as prototypes – in house, the focus is on two aspects: Camouflage and security. The FTP 32, a new design of special transporter from Fulda-based special vehicle manufacturer Hubtex, fulfils these requirements within the scope of an intelligent system which ensures that the prototypes are concealed as they are transported through narrow hall gates. Its modular construction system enables the vehicle to be individually adapted to the requirements and transport tasks in car plants.
With the FTP 32 vehicle transporter, Hubtex is launching its new special vehicle for the in-house transport of pre-production vehicles in the automotive industry. This process presents a number of challenges: On the one hand, third parties must not be able to see the prototype; on the other hand, narrow passages must be safely negotiated. As part of a pilot project, Hubtex has now been able to meet these requirements. With a compact design and small turning circle, the individually designed transporter with three-wheel running gear is definitely convincing. A width of just 2.5 metres and a length of 7.1 metres allow the vehicle to pass easily through narrow hall gates, making it much more flexible than a trailer operation. And neither does the electrically powered special vehicle lose out in terms of power, with a payload of 3,200 kilograms and is capable of operating on gradients up to 10 percent. The FTP unit is suitable for use on a mix of indoor and outdoor operation and can travel distances of one and a half to two kilometres at a speed of 12 km/h.
Ease of operation and secure transport
With an intelligent loading device the prototype is pulled onto the transporter’s loading platform, automatically locking it into place, so no separate fastening is required. The platform can be lowered to ground level within the contours of the transporter, meaning it is also suitable for cars with a low ground clearance. The driver of the transporter controls the loading device and platform by radio remote control, they manually position the sliding cover to offer complete security. Various assistance systems provide the driver with support when loading and during transport: A line laser projects beams onto the ground to ensure the prototype lines up precisely in front of the FTP. Two ultrasonic sensors measure the distance between the FTP and prototype as well as providing protection against collisions. While driving, a rear view camera and two additional side cameras give the driver an optimal view in all directions.
Sophisticated special solution for precise operation
In this configuration, the vehicle transporter has been precisely developed to meet the requirements of a well-known car manufacturer. However, thanks to Hubtex’s modular construction system, countless variations of the special vehicle are possible: “Our new vehicle transporter can be individually adapted to the requirements of the automotive industry. This means that everything from manual operation to an automated vehicle is possible,” says Lars Beuel, Sales Manager DACH at Hubtex. “For us, special construction means a well thought-out and cost-effective solution where we combine proven components in a new shell. And the FTP has also proven itself in in-house testing, for which the Porsche Centre in Fulda kindly provided us with two vehicles.” All in all, the result is a sophisticated product which Hubtex has developed entirely from the design study to the finished vehicle in close consultation with the customer.