New Polar Trailer Repair Facility Provides Service, Accessibility

Oct. 1, 2000
A new 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility has been opened by Polar Service Centers at 7600 East Sam Houston Parkway North, Houston, Texas. The

A new 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility has been opened by Polar Service Centers at 7600 East Sam Houston Parkway North, Houston, Texas. The new facility, located on 10 acres at the access road of Beltway 8, doubles the size of the previous Houston location.

"This facility not only allows us to increase our business through efficiencies, it leaves us plenty of room for expansion as we continue to grow," says Allen Clark, general manager for the Houston site. "We have made it easier for our customers to get to us. At the same time, we have moved closer to our customer base. This is extremely important in today's business environment."

The facility contains 31,000 square feet of repair and fabrication bays, 22,000 square feet of parts warehouse, 5,000 square feet of showroom, and 2,000 square feet of office space. Concrete driveways and customer parking spaces are located at the front of the facility. A 10-inch layer of crushed concrete covers the sides and back of the property, providing spacious trailer parking.

The licensed service department has ASME "U" and National Board "R" stamps, and is Texas Railroad Commission approved. The shop contains 24 bays arranged and dedicated to specific types of repairs, such as brake, jacket, leaks, and corrosion service. Four bays are 25 feet wide to accommodate jobs that require winging out a trailer for barrel repair.

Two monorail overhead cranes are capable of lifting a trailer barrel for barrel replacement.

Each bay is supplied with water, vacuum ventilation, and welding gases through overhead piping. Three 7,000-gallon stainless steel holding tanks and one 10,000-gallon steel holding tank supply water for hydrostatic testing of all types of vessels.

"High-speed transfer pumps enable us to fill a tank trailer in under 30 minutes," says Augie Quintero, service department manager. "This is less than half the time it used to take."

In addition to the water supply, welding gases are piped through an overhead manifold into each bay from outside storage tanks. This eliminates the need for cylinder pushcarts that were used previously.

Vacuum ventilation draws a flow of fresh air through trailers undergoing repairs. This provides safety and comfort for technicians conducting internal repairs.

Two of the bays are designed for fabrication and contain a raw materials rack, DeLaurice press break, and Pearson metal shear with 12-foot, one-fourth-inch-thick capabilities. The space also contains drill presses and saws. A bridge crane is available for moving fabrication metals in the area.

Services range from simple brake jobs to replacing a subframe or barrel on a tank trailer. Polar Service Centers offers pump mounting, intransit heat, and heat exchanger system installation. The company's expertise enables it to service and repair liquid propane (LPG), gasoline, vacuum, and dry bulk trailers. The service also includes tank containers and intermediate bulk containers (totes).

"We service all DOT and MC coded trailers," says Clark.

Adjacent to the shop is 22,000 square feet dedicated to parts warehousing. The parts supply ranges from 13-inch wheels for small utility trailers to hydraulic internal valves needed for tank trailers.

"We have a $1.8 million inventory of brakes, fenders, suspensions, pumps, compressors, landing gear, jacks, hitches, and valves," says Robert Karr, parts manager. "If you need it and it goes on a trailer, chances are very good that we have it. We also carry rebuilt starters, alternators, and water pumps for tractors."

A 5,000-square-foot showroom with a 40-foot counter is staffed by five parts professionals with over 100 years of experience between them. The parts department caters to walk-in, will-call, and delivery types of business.

To handle deliveries, the parts department uses three one-ton Dodge diesel trucks, a one-half ton Chevrolet pickup truck, and a 30-foot gooseneck trailer. Scheduled deliveries are made weekly to areas as far away as 90 miles.

Polar Service Centers is a member of Polar Corporation of St Cloud, Minnesota. All of the Polar Service Centers locations are linked together through a computer system. It enables each facility to check and access another branch inventory for faster responses to customer needs.

The Polar Corporation family includes Polar Tank Trailer Inc with three tank trailer manufacturing facilities. They are in Holdingford, Minnesota; Opole, Minnesota; and Springfield, Missouri. Polar Service Centers with full service and parts capabilities are in Port Allen, Louisiana; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Marietta, Ohio; and Ste Genevieve, Missouri. Two parts-only outlets are located in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, and Holdingford.

Quality Trailer Products Inc serves as the light trailer parts division of Polar Corp.