Road Haulage News and Jobs

Friday, 23 October 2020


SDC have led the way with building and testing trailers to the EN 12642-XL standard, being the 1st UK manufacturer to obtain EN 12642-XL certification for 13.6m and 15.65m curtainsiders in March 2012. 

With hauliers experiencing more stringent checks on load security by enforcement agencies, more and more are asking for EN 12642-XL certified trailers. SDC's Commercial Engineering Officer, Tony Sturgess, takes a closer look at what EN 12642-XL certification means for the haulier.

What is EN 12642-XL Certification?

EN 12642-XL certification is a guarantee that the bodywork design has been tested and meets a minimum structural strength. Trailers meeting these requirements display a decal on the front headboard, side curtains and rear (optional) and are capable of carrying a “Positive Fit” load without any other load restraint straps being used.

The important thing for a haulier to note is the “Positive Fit”. To count as a Positive Fit the load must be tightly packed with no gaps, be the full length of the trailer with max. 150mm gap to rear doors and max. 80mm from each curtain.

If the load does not comply with the positive fit requirements it must be restrained using additional load restraint i.e. strapped over the load etc.

Even if not required, having an EN 12642-XL certified trailer guarantee’s the structural strength of the body.

Load Restraint and Diminishing Loads

With a diminishing load you must maintain the Positive Fit requirement of EN 12642-XL by either packing the load back to the rear door, fitting lateral restraint straps/net etc. but these must be capable of retaining 50% of the load.

One way of doing this is to have longitudinal straps fitted with ‘D’ rings, say every 500mm built into the curtains at 2 heights (depending on load), these straps are attached to the curtain poles or by separate hooks to the front and rear frame. With a diminishing load lateral ratchet straps can be passed across the rear and attached to the D rings on the longitudinal straps. These are then pulling the load tight to the headboard and retain the Positive Fit .

If you have an EN12642-XL trailer but cannot get the load to be a Positive Fit at all times, then the load MUST be fully strapped to ensure it cannot move.

Not all operations enable the load to be a Positive Fit, and in these cases an EN 12642-XL trailer is not required and the load must be fully strapped. Roof straps alone can be used for none double stacked pallets weighing 400kg or less but anything heavier, this type of strap must be used in conjunction with other straps as they only prevent side to side movement not fore and aft (such as lateral straps fitted to longitudinal straps as above).

Maintenance and Accident Damage

As with any equipment an EN 12642-XL trailer must be checked to ensure no damage has occurred to the body structure, doors, curtains etc., as any damage could reduce the bodies structural strength and therefore invalidate the EN 12642-XL certificate if you were unfortunate to have a load move and cause an incident. Repairs to the bodywork, curtains etc. must be done to the trailer/curtain manufacturers instruction to ensure the EN 12642-XL certification is maintained. A visual check by the driver should be carried out by the driver each time the trailer is loaded as well as during maintenance checks.

Can I get EN 12642-XL on an existing trailer?

I have heard of hauliers having curtains made to the EN 12642-XL standard (EN12641-2) and fitted to existing trailers, this does not make the trailer EN 12642-XL compliant as it is the whole body structure that complies, these curtains should not be fitted with an EN 12642-XL decal but display the EN12641-2 only.

The problem with trying to EN 12642-XL certify an existing trailer, even if the body structure is the correct design and new curtains are fitted, is ensuring the body structure is in as new condition and has not suffered from any incidents causing stress and weakness. An alternative could be to have a new body fitted to an existing chassis, the trailer manufacturer can check the chassis to ensure it meets all the structural strength requirements before fitting the body and would then be able to EN 12642-XL certify the trailer.

Choosing a Solution that is Right for You

The safe transport of goods must be a priority to every haulier and having EN 12642-XL certified trailers ensures you have the best equipment to do that. At SDC we recently launched our Freespan, postless curtainsider which is supplied as standard with EN 12642-XL certification and complements our full range of EN 12642-XL trailers (Posted Curtainsider, Boxvan, Platforms etc.) To ensure compliance, we advise all our customers to talk to us about the load they are carrying, so we can recommend the best trailer and load restraint systems to suit their individual operation.

More information can be found at:

EN 12642-XL testing on SDC Boxvan Trailer

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