Chris Ecob

C. G. Ecob

Not content with traditional agricultural trailer designs, engineer Chris Ecob decided to design a new concept silage/grain trailer.

Taking about 10 years to bring to fruition, he recalls the biggest challenge was addressing axles and suspension to make flotation tyres work properly and to steer away from leaf springs.

Chris observed the bigger tyres which are kinder to soil will only work properly when they are kept flat on the ground. He further claims that every farm trailer he has seen will not keep a tyre in constant contact with the ground. In fact, ‘if they are not bouncing, they are leaning under the strain of cornering forces.’

The solution he developed came in the form of a wishbone suspension system, and uses one wishbone for each wheel. Though it meant starting from scratch with an all-new single chassis, he knew existing designs simply would not work.

The chassis is also much lower than that of conventional box-frame chassis designs, and this brings additional advantages with enhanced stability. The central spine also provides somewhere to route electrical wiring, plus air and hydraulic pipes.

The centre of gravity in this trailer is much lower than other 18-tonners, but its ground clearance is also much higher from ditching leaf springs and swapping to wishbones, explains Chris.


An experimentation with a plastic MIG welder led him to a skeletal steel body lined with 20mm thick plastic sheeting. Sheets are UV resistant and Teflon coated too, resisting friction and helping material slide cleanly out when tipped.

Clever use of materials has found the unladen weight is about 1.5t lighter than other 18-tonners, which saves on fuel when empty. And with the extra volume, there is nearly 3t of extra payload with this concept.

“Clever use of materials has found the unladen weight is around 1.5 tonnes lighter than other 18 tonners, which saves on fuel when empty,” he adds. “And with the extra volume too, there is nearly three tonnes of extra payload with this concept.”

On winning, Chris said:

I’m absolutely gobsmacked to have won this award. I was nominated by a journalist who came to write an article about the trailer and the next thing I am in front of a panel of judges talking about it. My idea was to make a big grain silage trailer safer as often they can tip over and farmers are also often tired when they are handling machines. There’s no such word as can’t and so I created the design to be safer and more stable and if it saves one person’s life then it is all I can ask for. I want to thank my colleague Conor Ferguson and John Rixon, my neighbouring farmer, who have helped and supported me through every step of the way.

What the judges said:

Reinventing the conventional trailer, Chris Ecob’s invention reveals several strong innovations, resulting in a well-considered, complete product.

Featuring independent wishbone suspension, plastic materials for the body, load-sensing brakes and a clever use of space, the innovation was unanimously commended by all of the judges. It demonstrates clear commercial opportunities, not only for a complete trailer, but for the chassis, which could also be used for tankers, spreaders and hook lift trailers. Its consideration for safety were also a big bonus to the product.