How to Load Your Trailer Without Ever Leaving Your Semi

Contrary to popular belief, you’re not staring at several rolls of extremely large sushi. They are actually cotton rolls bound up in a yellow tarp getting ready to be loaded up onto a truck. 

However, you are going to witness something pretty incredible if you aren’t familiar with this type of machinery. Typically, when we think of farming, we conjure up images of massive combines or some other sort of harvester.

They move slowly across a ripe field plucking and sheering until the crop is harvested. From there it moves on to processing and out to grocery stores. Cotton is a different animal altogether though (Yes, I know its a plant, but I couldn’t resist the pun). It is a pretty involved process. You have to get it from the field, and shape it into one of the massive rolls you see here.

If done correctly, it will involve employing the services of a truck like in this case. What type of truck is this you say? What type of machine can move backwards and scoop up a long sushi roll of cotton, then spit it out in nice clean dissected sections, only to scoop it up again? Well my friend, I’m glad you asked.


How Does The Cotton Get in the Trailer?


Take a close look and you will notice some movement at the edge of the trailer floor. What you may not realize is that the whole floor is in motion. It’s one massively long conveyor belt. This is what is known in the industry as a walking trailer. They have been around for quite some time and are used to load up all sorts of items that need to be scooped, cut, or moved into containment. The walking trailer is efficient, because the driver never has to leave the cab of the truck. Depending on which model you have, they can do all sorts of things. This one is designed to not only walk cotton up into the trailer, but cut it as well. This is all part and parcel of preparing the crop for delivery to the cotton gin. In fact, if you look on the side of the trailer you can see a sign referencing this. It gives a clear indicator of where these thousand pound rolls of cotton are headed.

The Basic Mechanics of a Walking Trailer


So how does it work, you ask? To answer that, imagine a Michael Jackson moon walk video. While the trailer bed is essentially one large conveyor belt, the floor does not move in one continuous motion like an escalator or treadmill. No, the movement is offset, so certain rows of boards are in motion while others remain still. Then, when they reach the back of the trailer, the remaining boards move to catch up, and then all of them slide forward together. This motion actually lengthens the trip that the cotton can take inside the trailer without lengthening the trailer itself.

You might remember this from physics class if you weren’t asleep that day. It’s simply called locomotion. The principle basically states that you can accelerate the speed of an object if it is working in concert with other objects around it. That’s my paraphrase, mind you, the actual definition is a bit more extensive. You can get lost in those sorts of details so I try to keep it simple because we have other things to do with our lives after we read this. The basic takeaway is an understanding that a big rig with a walking trailer makes for an ingenious way of moving product from one place to another. The efficiency, increased productivity, and versatility have made walking trailers in industry standard. So, the next time you drive by the road and see a massively large roll of sushi in a field, you can impress your friends and family with what you just learned here. Then, you can all go eat sushi.

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Take a close look and you will notice some movement at the edge of the trailer floor. What you may not realize is that the whole floor is in motion. It’s one massively lon