Europe’s top trailer maker has launched two new horseboxes as part of a triple celebration.
They were unveiled by Ifor Williams Trailers at the official opening of their new £5 million factory in Sandycroft, in Flintshire, where 60 jobs have been created, as the iconic firm also celebrated its 60th anniversary in style.
The sleek lines of the flagship HBX trailer have taken their inspiration from automotive industry with a nod to the sophisticated ruggedness of the Range Rover and its “floating roof”.
The other innovation is that the body of the HBX is constructed from aluminium, making it lightweight and easy to tow.
The second new trailer is the HBE which has been designed for the more cost conscious consumer with a distinctive European look and feel.
The two horseboxes are being added to the overall range which also includes the market-leading HB trailers and the Eventa which also has living accommodation.
All of them have all undergone a tough testing regime which included being put through their paces at the Warwickshire test track used by all the main automotive companies.
In addition, they’ve also been subjected to extreme weather conditions in a climate chamber where the trailers were subject to freezing arctic conditions alternating with blistering hot conditions.
Orders are being taken now for the new horseboxes which will be widely available in the New Year.
The guest of honour at the celebration was Ken Skates AM, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Transport.
He was joined by a host of other VIPs and around 300 distributors from the firm’s worldwide sales network, with some travelling from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.
As well as the new factory in Sandycroft, the company has other manufacturing sites in Cynwyd, Corwen and on Deeside Industrial Estate and employs more than 500 people.
Mr Skates said: “Ifor Williams Trailers is a real success story. Sixty years after it was first established, the company continues to go from strength to strength and is an iconic brand across the world. It is also a regionally important business, employing hundreds of local people and providing a boost to our economy.
“It’s great news the company is developing new products and expanding its footprint in North Wales, and I’m delighted to officially open the new £5 million facility in Sandycroft.
“I look forward to seeing Ifor Williams Trailers continue to thrive over the coming years.”
According to Business Development Manager Peter Nesbitt, the HBX includes a host of new features.
He said: “Our trailers are already known for the robust durability and we have made the HBX even stronger by making the body out of aluminium.
“We wanted to go for a sleek, aerodynamic style so we looked at the vehicles that were going to tow, like the Range Rovers, and we have incorporated the concept of the floating roof with glazing and black aluminium and tinted glass panels all the way around.
“In the front, we’ve lowered the roof to get that aerodynamic effect.
“In addition to being a good-looking trailer, it’s hugely practical because we’ve introduced a second side door so you can now open both sides of the trailer for both horses if you’re transporting two of them.
“You can also open the new tinted windows on the top of the front doors so you can get a cross flow of air through the trailer – there’s also a setting for them to be slight ajar in transit. There’s also a window in the front of the horsebox.
“Another new development is that we now have a two-way rear ramp as standard, so it comes down like a conventional ramp but it can also open like a door so you can load the trailer with a forklift truck when you need to transport feed or bales of hay.
“There is optional padding available for the inside of the trailer, as well as for the breech and breast bars which now have four height settings instead of the original two.
“The range of available sizes is the same as the original HB trailers, so you can have everything from a single horse trailer up to the largest variant.
“Outside the trailer, it also has an awning rail fitted as standard between the roof and glazing and we have teamed up with a leading awning who make brilliant inflatable awnings which you can put up in in a few minutes.
“The main thing that’s different about the HBE is that it doesn’t have a front unload ramp which is the norm in mainland Europe.
“The look of the HBE has been inspired by the wedge-like style of the Range Rover Evoque and it’s also lighter than the HBX and rated to carry up to two tonnes while the HBX variants can carry 2.5 or 2.7 tonnes.
“The HBE also came through the rigorous testing regime with flying colours in terms of strength and durability.
“Instead of having doors above the rear ramp, the HBE has a roller blind and is made from a breathable fabric so it’s got ventilation.”
Managing Director John Williams said: "This is a hugely significant and important day for Ifor Williams Trailers and we were delighted to welcome so many people from far and near to share our good news.
“We have three very good reasons to celebrate today, the 60th anniversary of the company, the official opening of our new factory in Sandycroft and the launch of the two new horseboxes.
"These products are the result of a great deal of hard work and innovation from our talented team and I am delighted they have received such a positive response from our distributors who can't wait to start selling them."
News » Iconic trailer firm launches new horseboxes at 60th anniversary