March 7, 2018 1:30 PM, EST
Ultralift Power Tool for Trailer Gear Designed to Reduce Driver Injuries
UltraLift engineer Darrell Brubaker at TMC UltraLift's Brubaker displays power tool designed to raise and lower trailer landing gear. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

ATLANTA — Ultralift Technologies has a power tool for raising and lowering trailer landing gear that the company said could help reduce the number of repetitive motion injuries among truck drivers.

“Manual cranking has been around since trailers were around,” said David Sun, a co-founder of Anaheim, Calif.-based Ultralift Technologies. He touted the product’s ability to function on a fully loaded trailer during a March 6 interview with Transport Topics after the company’s media event at Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting. TMC is part of American Trucking Associations.

The cordless tool “takes the old style cranking out of the landing gear leg,” said Darrell Brubaker, an engineer with Ultralift.

“We use one finger to pull the trigger to operate a cordless tool,” he said, instead of cranking, which puts strain on the back and shoulders,

UltraLift display at 2018 TMC

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

It’s designed to be easy to use for drop-and-hook transactions, or disengaging the tractor from the trailer, Sun said, noting the power tool can be used for the heaviest loads, such as oversize equipment.

The product, which has been on the market for than two years, is designed to help combat the problem of repetitive-motion injuries related to manual cranking, Sun said. Injuries related to landing gear are second only to falls for drivers, he said. “Drivers are getting injured — not by driving, he said. “This is an activity outside of driving.”

The bracket system that goes on the trailer landing gear takes five to 10 minutes to install, and the crank stays on as a backup. Sun said. “So, for companies with other drivers hauling their load and don’t have the tool, they could still crank.”

It’s cost efficient, he said, because it’s only a bracket system that can go on every trailer.

The power tool costs $675 retail, and the bracket system is $225, Sun said, noting that larger fleets would receive volume discounts.

Sun also pointed to workers’ compensation insurance. If fleets use this equipment and there are no injuries, he said. it benefits the fleet and the workers’ compensation insurance company.