How one farmer went from milking cows to making trailers

Kompact Engineering, based near Glenavy, Co. Antrim, was founded by Kieran Mulholland – a dairy farmer. His fledgling company designs and manufactures what he describes as “the next-generation trailers today”.

Kieran explained that he has been farming in Glenavy for the past 20 years.

“During that time, I have also been doing repairs and carrying out modifications to agricultural machinery, especially trailers. In fact, I used to convert commercial truck trailers into tractor-drawn, agricultural units. It kept me busy on the side, but I didn’t see much of a long-term future in that.”

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Whilst an enthusiastic farmer, he describes himself as an engineer at heart.

I actually trained as a computer engineer and specialized in micro-electronics. I returned to the family farm after six years in that industry, but I’ve continued to dabble with engineering down through the years.

“I was keen to build a new type of trailer, as I could see mounting problems with the typical units in use locally. I actually travelled out to continental Europe to research what sort of trailer I should manufacture.

“Having seen ejector-type units out there, and witnessed how they perform and what they can carry, I decided to design and build one of my own – from the ground up.

“Since the launch, I’ve had interest from as far away as Sweden.”

FTMTA (Kompact) (2)
A close-up of the K-17’s ejector (push-off) mechanism

Three models of trailer are offered by Kompact Engineering; the K-15 (15t), the K-17 (17t) and the top-of-the-range K-19 (19t).

The K-17 was unveiled at last week’s FTMTA Farm Machinery Show in Punchestown. This tandem-axle unit incorporates a rear steering axle. Its tips the scales at 7t (empty). Maximum gross weight (loaded) is 23t. Overall height is 3.6m. 445/65 R22.5 tyres are fitted as standard.

According to Mulholland, the K-17 carries up to 50% more than a ‘standard’ trailer, depending on the type of material being carried. This, he says, means less fuel consumption, less wear and tear and fewer trips.

The greater carrying capacity is due to the way that the trailer compresses the load, as and when the trailer is being loaded.

“This also means that excess moisture can be squeezed out,” he said.

According to Mulholland, another major advantage of an ejector or compactor-type trailer is safe emptying.

“Because the trailer doesn’t have to tip up, unloading is much easier and safer, especially on uneven ground.”

Standard features across the range include sprung bogies, a height-adjustable drawbar, drawbar suspension, a two-pack paint finish, LED lighting and emergency break-away brakes. The steering axle is standard on the K-17 and K-19 but not the smallest K-15.

Optional extras include silage sides (extensions), a K80 spoon-type hitch, a hydraulic load-sensing system, extra-wide floatation tyres and a cover.

Manufactured in Nothern Ireland, the K-17 carries a list price of £26,000 excluding VAT.