Latest models and equipment captivate Work Truck Show participants - Refrigerated trucks hot at WTS

May 5, 2016
NTEA 2016 Coverage

HOW hot were refrigerated truck bodies at this year’s Work Truck Show? So hot that they even mounted on a golf cart.

Multiple manufacturers displayed Transit Connects and other vans that were converted to be used in controlled temperature applications, and some even appeared on conventional truck chassis.

Innovations in dump bodies and aluminum platforms were among other new truck bodies introduced at the show. Here are some of the highlights: 

Wabash enters the truck body business. North America’s largest trailer manufacturer is taking aim at the van body market—both refrigerated and dry freight. The company’s Cold Chain Series of refrigerated truck bodies uses a proprietary composite technology to improve thermal efficiency, reduce weight, and increase strength and durability. Walls are made of composite thermal panels consisting of a foam insulation core and polymer fiber reinforced shell. By encapsulating the foam core, it is protected from water. Panels used on the sidewalls and roof have three inches of insulation, while four-inch-thick insulation is used on the nose and floor panels. The frame supporting the refrigeration unit also is made from composite material. The rear frame is made of stainless steel in compliance with U S Department of Transportation and Transport Canada requirements.

The Wabash dry-freight van is made of DuraPlate composite panels. Base specs for the dry van include lengths of 20-28 feet, heights of 84-108 inches, and a choice of 96 or 102 inches. www.wabash-trailers.com

Chilling a ProMaster. Utilimaster, a business unit of Spartan Motors, displayed several vehicles, including this refrigerated Ram ProMaster van. Utilimaster can convert a ProMaster into a refrigerated van in two days at its Ram Commercial Upfit Center and Mopar Custom Shop, in Saltillo Mexico, adjacent to the plant where Ram produces the ProMaster. The finished vehicle is delivered through Chrysler’s ship-through program. The completed truck is equipped with a modular refrigeration unit from Thermo King.

Among the other vehicles Utilimaster displayed was an all-electric compact food truck. It is powered by a four-hour battery that can be charged on a standard outlet. The vehicle is street legal, and offers organizations seeking low cost of entry a means of increasing food sale revenue and providing a convenient service location for its customers or employees. www.utilimaster.com

Refrigerated Transit. Bush Specialty Vehicles displayed its new refrigerated upfit for a Ford Transit Connect. The upfit package includes Thermo King V200 refrigeration unit with electric stand-by and heat strip, non-thermal framing, three-inch insulation, two-component polymer spray-on liner, expandable aluminum shelving, recessed cargo light, and dash-mounted digital display for refrigeration operation.
Pretty cool golf cart. Delivery Concepts Inc demonstrated its ability to refrigerate just about anything on wheels. This cart is designed for delivering food and beverages to golf tournaments and other venues. It uses eutectic plates to keep things cool and movable bulkheads and custom shelving to keep them organized. www.deliveryconcepts.com
Refrigeration conversions. For larger needs, Delivery Concepts can convert Ram, GM, Ford, and other vans into refrigerated vehicles. Available for refrigerated or frozen cargo, the company offers multi-temperature configurations, three-inch insulated walls, food-safe sprayed interior lining, and 115- or 230-volt electric standby. www.deliveryconcepts.com
A place to put it. TruckCraft has complemented its line of aluminum truck bodies with this aluminum storage compartment that provides 56 cubic feet for holding stuff. Made of 1/8-inch aluminum, it has double-panel doors mounted on stainless steel hinges. www.truckcraft.com
Next Generation arrives. Morgan Corporation rolled out its Next Generation of van bodies. From Morgan’s perspective, the new design is worthy of that name because of its use of new materials and design elements that reduce weight by 15-20%. Front and sides are made of 70 mm (2¾ inch) thick panels, with the roof measuring 90 mm (3½ inches) thick. Side doors also can be made of the 70 mm composite panels. The subframe has galvanized longitudinal rails and aluminum crossmembers in a poly foam panel. Shown here mounted on a cutaway chassis, the Next Generation vans are offered either 14 or 16 feet long and are available now. www.morgancorp.com
European accent. Morgan also displayed some of the new features available on its otherwise traditional van bodies. They include this European-inspired side underride system designed to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. Another option that can be seen in this picture is the slide-out stepladder for the side door. Others not visible include motion-sensitive dome lights, recessed LED license plate light, one-piece 26-ft-long cargo tie slats, and combo rear lights that make it possible to lower the grab handle at the rear of the body.  www.morgancorp.com
The Ultimate Delivery Vehicle. That’s what Morgan Olson calls its new body designed for cutaway chassis such as the Ford Transit. The body uses 0.040-inch aluminum sheet secured to Z-section aluminum side posts mounted on 16-inch centers. The one-piece 0.030 aluminum roof sheet is held in place with anti-snag roof bows installed on 24-inch centers. The floor and rear door frame also are made of aluminum. The focal point of the design, though, is access. With access to the cargo area directly from the driver seat, the driver can safely leave the vehicle through the sliding curbside door. An intermediate step is an ergonomic assist, bridging the gap between the ground and the cargo floor. Morgan Olson’s proprietary sidewall shelving stiffeners help provide ample options for storing cargo. www.morganolson.com
Free storage. This prototype composite service body from Brand FX weighs 485 pounds, roughly the same as a pickup box, the company says. The effect: the truck can be equipped with all the storage of a service body without cutting into the amount of payload that the truck can carry. The weight-savings come from a body made from a closed-cell foam core and fiberglass construction. Adding to the weight savings are composite shelves that weigh less than their metallic counterparts and an all-composite floor. The company has built the new design in 96-inch and 108-inch lengths. A line body is in the works. www.brandfxbody.com
Meeting the needs of CNG. Altec Industries displayed this service body designed to accommodate the requirements for a truck fueled by compressed natural gas. It includes a special transverse compartment that complies with FMVSS 303, including a 10-inch inset for the CNG tank that provides additional protection in the event of a traffic accident. The compartment also provides 360-degree visibility of the tank so that it can be readily inspected. www.altec.com
Quick to serve. With some help from a forklift, the Altec fiberglass insert can be placed in the back of a pickup to provide many of the functions of a standard service body. Molded to conform to the curvature of the cab, Altec’s new Capsule features a one-piece fiberglass shell, forklift pockets that make it easier to move the Capsule from one truck to another. The installation can be done in 30 minutes or less and requires no drilling. The company also introduced an aluminum model built specifically for Ram pickups. Altec plans to eventually offer four brand-specific models. www.altec.com
A clean, well-lighted place. RKI displayed two upgrades to its line of service bodies. The company is now offering LED rope lighting to illuminate the inside of service body compartments. And to keep the compartments clean and well organized, RKI has upgraded its drawer units—while simultaneously reducing the cost. www.rki-us.com
Reading ready with Redi-Gate. Finally, something that ends with “gate” that is not a political scandal. On the contrary, Reading Truck Body’s patent-pending Redi-Gate is something to be proud of. A new twist in tailgates, the Redi-Gate swings down to offer a convenient work surface or opens up to reveal a handy storage compartment for frequently used tools. The four-inch thick gate is made of heavy-duty aluminum. At 44 inches wide and 11 inches tall, the Redi-Gate provides an extra 1.1 cubic foot of secured storage space. Designed for the company’s Classic II service body, the Redi-Gate is being offered in two models—the EX (extra space) and the EXP (extra space plus power). The EXP provides four weather-resistant power outlets at the rear of the body. www.ReadingBody.com
A cutaway with a twist. The new Cutaway Stock Body from Dakota Bodies is an alternative to a traditional one-piece van. It comes standard with a powder-coated steel shell, rear access pocket door, adjustable shelving, and interior rope lighting. Options include a 36-inch tail shelf at the rear that provides a spacious work surface. The model shown here is designed for a Ford E-350 cutaway with 138-inch wheelbase. A visitor checks out the optional curbside door. www.dakotabodies.com
Swapping service bodies. Switch-N-Go introduced a service body option for its detachable truck body system for medium-duty work trucks. In partnership, Reading Truck Bodies has engineered its Classic II service body for use with the system. Doing so required modifications to the body understructure to accommodate the Switch-N-Go framing system, and special front bulkhead accommodates the hoist that loads and unloads the body. Rollers mounted on the rear help the body move on and off the hoist, and drop-down stabilizers at each corner of the body maintain an ideal height similar to that of a body mounted on a chassis. www.switchngo.com
All-aluminum flatbed. New at CM Truck Beds is this platform body made with four-inch aluminum channel flooring and frame rails and three-inch aluminum crossmembers. Other aluminum components include a cast aluminum fuel fill, stake pockets, light box, and optional drop-in side rails. It is available in lengths of 84”, 102”, and 112”. It is shown here with a spreader built by Henderson Products. www.cmtruckbeds.com
Flatbed filled with features. Harper Industries introduced the DewEze 1000 Series flatbed. It comes standard with features for functional performance and durability such as Gatorhyde polyurethane coating to provide the deck with a corrosion-resistant surface. Efficient, ultra-bright LEDs, located on the full-view headache rack, side clearance and tailgate, offer improved lighting and visibility. Stake pockets, a 40,000-pound recessed gooseneck-ball receiver hitch and D-rings also come standard.

The company also introduced refinements to its tank-mounted valve system for snow and ice management applications.

The VT Series can control up to seven actions, including a spreader, to operate a fully loaded snow and ice management vehicle. It is a self-contained valve system featuring a weather-resistant compartment that helps prevent chemical corrosion, while allowing easy access to the valve. The VT Series is available with three coating options – painted carbon, a polyurethane coated steel or stainless steel – depending on the end-user’s application requirements. www.deweze.com

Poly spreader with a drag chain. Buyers Products introduced its SaltDogg SHPE2500 salt spreader series with the auger-driven SHPE2500 and chain-driven SHPE2500CH.

The SHPE2500 features a redesign of Buyers’ patent-pending, double-walled hopper. Meeting the recent surge in demand for chain spreaders, the SHPE2500CH is SaltDogg’s first drag chain poly spreader, suitable for full-size pickup trucks. It complements existing SaltDogg SCH series of stainless steel electric and gas drag chain spreaders.

Features include removable and adjustable side-swing chute; 14-inch poly spinner powered by a 1/2-horsepower gear motor; 3/4-horsepower chain or auger drive system; adjustable stainless steel spinner shield for maximum spread pattern flexibility; fitted tarp with integrated stretch cords; adjustable inverted vee to enhance free movement of auger/chain drive; and 120A PWM DC motor controller. www.buyersproducts.com

At work all year. Buyers Products introduced the new SaltDogg Municipal Dump Spreader (MDS) that provides the practicality of a dump body combined with the convenience of a spreader that allows for four-season operation.

The new MDS is offered in 10-, 12- and 14-foot lengths with 36-inch sides and a 4-inch tailgate. The body is constructed from 304 stainless steel, with roll-formed sides and a cross-memberless design that helps material flow freely.

Designed with a three-stage, nitride, double-acting, front trunnion-mounted hoist, the MDS limits protrusion into the body cavity and allows for higher material capacity. Buyers’ proprietary spinner assembly is engineered to provide efficient, balanced and cost-saving operation.

Four-season use of the new MDS is possible with a removable, 7-gauge stainless steel conveyor cover plate and an adjustable flow gate which can be interchanged with a coal chute. The proprietary spinner assembly is also easily removed allowing year-round use of the spreader body. www.buyersproducts.com

Remaining on an even keel. The new Horizontal Ejector dump body from J & J Truck Bodies and Trailers uses a hydraulic power rather than gravity to control the dump rate for salt, sand, or asphalt dispensing operations. As the ejector blade moves rearward, it forces the material with it, lifting the tailgate in the process. As the load is discharged, the tailgate lowers. Sensors detect the position of the tailgate, signaling the ejector blade to move further rearward until the tailgate returns to the desired position to dispense more material. The system is designed to work in partnership with computerized spreader controls to the deliver the prescribed application rate. Meanwhile, the body remains horizontal, freeing the driver from concerns about rollover or running an elevated dump body into a bridge or overpass. With its low center of gravity, the body also can be used to pave the highly banked curves of a race track without fear of rollover.

Because of the corrosive nature of ice-control chemicals, J & J selected cylinders that are a thermal chemical process (TCP) that is used in place of chrome. Based on salt spray tests, it is more effective in reducing corrosion, says the cylinder manufacturer, Custom Hoists Inc. www.jjbodies.com

New landscape body. Crysteel Manufacturing displayed this new aluminum version of its Landscape Tipper, which offers up to 13 percent more payload capacity than comparable steel bodies.

The Crysteel aluminum landscape line is available in 9-foot and 12-foot body lengths. Each comes standard with a two-piece barn door in the rear for easy loading and unloading and a 50-inch side door for accessibility. Options include a full cabshield, bolt-on pull-out ladder kit, pull tarp and plastic fenders. To save customers time and money, Crysteel’s Lo-Boy hoist is mounted to every aluminum landscape body at the factory. The standard Lo-Boy hoist includes a full-length subframe for added strength and a factory-installed body prop for added safety. www.crysteel.com

New dump body. CM Truck Beds displayed the new CM dump body. Offered with either 2-3-yard or 3-4-yard capacities, the steel bodies come with a powder-coat finish. They come with fold-down sides and enclosed tailgate latch. Cab protector is standard equipment. www.cmtruckbeds.com
Putting out fires. Tafco displayed the second brush truck of its type that the company has built. www.tafco.com