Landscaper trucks big at NTEA show

April 1, 2006
LANDSCAPING and lawn care must be fast-growing service industries, judging by the popularity of landscaper truck bodies at the National Truck Equipment

LANDSCAPING and lawn care must be fast-growing service industries, judging by the popularity of landscaper truck bodies at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show in Atlanta.

Crysteel Manufacturing, for one, devoted its entire exhibit to grounds keeping and such green jobs. Crysteel was one of three manufacturers showing new and innovative equipment for the landscaper industry.

The 12-ft Crysteel Landscape Tipper has the usual 50-inch-wide side door at the front, and also the unusual steel ladder for convenient access by workers. The ladder pulls out from under the body and swings down into climbing position.

Access at the rear of the truck body is made easier by a tailgate that lowers to an inclined position and an aluminum walk ramp that doubles as an upper tailgate in the closed position. This upper tailgate swings open like a barndoor and can be secured against the side of the body. To use it as a walk ramp, it is lifted off its hinges and one end secured to the tailgate. The lower steel tailgate also has a sliding patchgate for adjusting the dumping of flowable materials.

Crysteel Manufacturing Inc has plants in Lake Crystal MN and Fulton NY.

Landscape supply truck grosses 78,000 lb

NTEA visitors saw the extreme in large landscape supply truck bodies with the Extreme, a truck that can gross 78,000 lb on four axles in its home state of New Hampshire and in many other states. But the real innovation in this user-designed truck body is the ability to haul either bulk material in three separate compartments or carry a mix of bulk and palletized products.

The aluminum dump body has two interior batch gates to separate different batches of bulk aggregate, sand, soil, mulch, and other flowable materials. Two of the compartments can haul material such as flagstone or bricks on pallets and still leave the center compartment for sand or other bulk material. Therefore, all the material for a big job can be hauled on one truck.

The 19-ft body exhibited at the NTEA has a large forward compartment capable of hauling eight pallets stacked two-high. Both sides of this 9-ft-long compartment open up with side doors so that the pallets can be pulled off by fork truck from either side. The rear compartment can haul four pallets, with fork truck access through the rear barn door.

When not used for pallets, the front compartment can carry 10 yards of bulk material, with another four yards in the middle compartment and six cubic yards in the rear compartment.

The aluminum body has a 3/8" alloy 5083 floor with no underbody crossmembers. Instead, two formed aluminum trapezoidal long sills support the floor. Side skins and tailgate use mainly 3/16" aluminum. A front-mount Mailhot telescopic hoist tips the body for dumping. A rear-mounted fork truck unloads palletized products.

Tom Green, owner of Extreme Truck Body and the patent holder, is also a principal in a landscape supply company. He operates nine of these trucks in his own business, and now he is looking for distributors to take the concept throughout the US. Extreme Truck Body, Kingston NH.

Landscaper ramp added to van body

The third innovative landscaper body at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Atlanta was much simpler in concept. It consisted of a standard l4-ft Morgan van body to which was added a fixed inclined ramp and hinged ramps to extend the incline to the ground level. This inclined ramp was framed with rectangular tubing and covered with expanded metal to provide good traction. The rear-stop-turn lamps were moved from the rear of the body to the rear of the fixed incline. With suitable underbody framing extensions, the ramp provides easy drive-on accessibility for mowing machines and lawncare equipment. The enclosed van body provides both security and protection from the weather. Morgan Corp, Morgantown PA.

Pickup cover opens on four legs

Among the new pickup bed covers exhibited at the NTEA is the HercuLoc, an 18-gauge steel cover that opens automatically when the key fob is pressed. Then the one-piece cover rises 49 inches on its own four legs. It also moves to the rear so that it provides a roof over anyone working at the tailgate of the truck.

The actuating mechanism to raise the cover is not hydraulic nor pneumatic. Rather, it is an industrial electric ball screw actuator using recirculating ball bearings. The four parallelogram legs are of 10-gauge steel. Both the legs and the galvanneal cover are powder coated.

In the down position the cover is locked and provides both load security and weather protection. It also caps the rear tailgate so the tailgate cannot be opened until the cover is raised. In the up position or any raised position, the pickup can be driven at speeds up to 75 mph. This allows bulky cargo to be hauled without closing the cover. The HercuLoc cover is by Thacker Manufacturing Inc, Tucson AZ.

Pickup bed cover doubles as cargo deck

The DiamondBack pickup cover provides both load security and a load platform for cargo. The aluminum treadplate cover is fabricated of eighth-inch bright alloy 3003, and the wing covers are supported by 16-gauge steel box channels. This provides a 1600-lb capacity deck for material. The obvious use is by carpenters who can lock their tools in the bed and use the upper deck for lumber or other material. For taller loads, one of the wing doors can be opened or folded back or removed.

Both the forward and rear wing doors are hinged to the center panel with stainless steel slip-joint hinges to make removal easy. Gas struts assist in opening the wings. Twelve 6" cleats provide multiple tiedown points. Accessories include cab guards, ladder racks, and folding ramps, all of aluminum. DiamondBack truck covers are located in Philadelphia PA.

An E-volution from Henderson

Henderson Manufacturing, Manchester IA, promoted its Mark E-volution in dump body manufacturing.

The new Mark E series will offer more choices and options than currently available from the company. In addition, a new ordering tool will enable distributors to spec out bodies and get prices on line.

Bracing is one example of the flexibility customers will have with the Mark E series. Customers will be able to choose from three bracing configurations. They can reduce costs by ordering bodies with V-crimp sides. Weld-on bracing also will be offered. Customers can order bodies without bracing of any type.

“That variety will extend to all dump body components, such as tailgates and floors,” Henderson's Marty Ward says. “We will be building one big matrix that will guide customers through the ordering process.”

The Mark E body is expected to be available in the near future. Plans call for the electronic ordering system to be ready this summer.

How low can you go?

In the case of this Z-frame “axleless” suspension, this Ford F-450 can get to within four inches of the ground when the air suspension is lowered and the truck “kneels.” Even when traveling, however, the truck measures eight inches from the ground to the bottom of the four-inch frame.

The design replaces the factory rear axle with two “axleless” air suspensions. Without an axle spanning the width of the truck, the body can be mounted with extremely low floor heights. A high-torque transfer case and Dana Super 60 front axle give the truck its front-wheel drive.

Dallas Smith Corp, Greencastle IN, has been offering this drop-frame design on trailers and Class 8 trucks. The version shown here is the company's first for this GVW class.

Pro-Tech adds service body module

Pro-Tech has started manufacture of service body drawer module inserts. The heavy-duty construction uses .090" aluminum for the trays and .125" aluminum for the outer shell. Drawer slides are rated to hold up to 250 pounds. Standard size drawers are 3" or 5" deep. The drawers lock in the open or closed position.

The new drawer module is pictured on a Pro-Tech all-aluminum flatbed that is manufactured for light trucks starting with a 9 ft length all the way up to 24-ft lengths for heavy trucks. Standard floor uses 1 ¼" by 6" aluminum extrusions running lengthwise of truck. Pro-Tech is in La Vergne TN and Vancouver WA.

Dump body from Rugby is an Innovator

The new “Innovator” dump body from Rugby Manufacturing, Rugby ND, is designed to combine aesthetics and functionality.

Built in eight- and nine-foot lengths, the Innovator is a double-wall design. The inner panel is made of 10-gauge steel and is separated from the 12-gauge outer panel to prevent dents on the inside from damaging the outside panel. Rear of the floor is reinforced to minimize deflection and maintain a positive seal.

The tailgate also is a double-walled design. It is made of 12-gauge high-strength, low alloy steel. The rear corner post has concealed lower latch hardware and is equipped with a banjo eye chain holders and ample chain.

Van bodies become rolling billboards

Smyrna Cargo, a new van body manufacturer in Social Circle GA, demonstrated samples of its van body production equipped as an Admobile MUV (marketing utility vehicle). Rotating slats contain strips of billboards which, when rotated into place, create a billboard that occupies the entire side of the van body. A new ad appears every seven seconds.

Smyrna Cargo got its start in April 2005 when it acquired the Georgia operation of American Cargo. The company also is a distributor for Reading Truck Body. Shown is Scott Edens, general manager.

Return of the cold plates

Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies, Rice Lake WI, has launched the next generation in cold plate technology with its RouteMax pilot program.

Under the program, 30 trucks equipped with RouteMax cold plate technology will be capable of extended routes because the plates will be charged as the truck goes down the road. The system is powered by International Truck and Engine's PowerPack 3, a self-contained power supply system. Johnson's Electrical Power Manager regulates the electrical flow that powers the refrigeration compressor.

Stahl Service Trailer works inside and out

The SST is a service body plus a workshop on wheels. The side compartments for tools and small parts are 14 inches deep. This leaves a work floor 65 inches wide. The roof is seamless and translucent to provide natural working light. Interior headroom is 84 inches. Two lengths are available: a 16-ft with 10,000-lb gross vehicle weight rating, and 12.5-ft with 7,000-lb GVWR.

This is a commercial grade trailer with 8" formed frame rails of 7-gauge steel and crossmembers and corner posts of 12-gauge steel. The floor crossmembers, wall studs, and roof bows are all on 16" centers. Upper walls are of .030" white screwless aluminum. Lower walls are the l6-gauge galvannel steel side compartments, using lockbolt construction, with 20-gauge galvanneal double-panel doors. Bolt-in compartment shelving is fully adjustable. Stahl is headquartered in Wooster, Ohio.

Benson puts inner wall technology inside

The Benson International aluminum dump body was all bright and glistening at the NTEA show, but the real story was inside the 12-ft body. That's where Benson's inner wall technology protects the body from excessive wear and abrasion. The inner wall is of alloy 5454 H34 sheet ranging from .160" to .250" thickness depending on the abrasion resistance and wear qualities required.

The outer wall is a series of alloy 6061 vertical extrusions that snap together to form a smooth sidewall that is easy to keep clean, simple to decal, and is aerodynamically efficient. It also provides the structural integrity between the wide and deep upper rail and the conventional floor structure.

Benson International had its beginnings in the coal fields of West Virginia, and is still headquartered in Mineral Wells WV.

Covered service body serves job site as one-stop HVAC installation center

One of the newest specialized service bodies produced by the Knapheide Manufacturing Company, Quincy IL, is this big body designed for heating and air-conditioning installers. It is large enough to hold all the material and small parts that will be required to install air ducts and hook up the air-conditioning unit at the average new home. It is a warehouse on wheels that backs up to the home's garage for easy off-loading of the ductwork and large parts. The installation crew continues to work out of this mobile shop until the installation is complete.

Besides the duct material in the center cargo area, two small access doors at the rear open up for the inside storage of conduit and copper tubing. Working height inside the body is 73" under the raised roof. Storage compartments are accessible from both outside and inside. The l4-ft body is mounted on a Ford low-cab-forward chassis.

In addition to the convenience of a one-stop installation shop, the large side panels can serve as job-site advertising when painted with the appropriate signage. The body construction is of galvanneal steel that after assembly is prime painted with an e-coat by electrolysis in a dip tank.

Curved truck bed reduces loading angle

The Retriever is designed to haul wheeled or tracked construction and industrial equipment. With its curved load bed and sliding winch, it can pull aboard anything on wheels within its load range. An air-operated folding tail ramp makes it easy to load from ground level or dock height. The loading angle varies from 10.8 to 13.5 degrees, depending on the truck specs.

Use of the truck's own air power reduces weight and cost of a hydraulic system, as well as maintenance, according to Joe Simons, president of Up-N-Atom Inc of Waukesha WI. He helped develop the patented design based on his 28 years experience in equipment rental and distribution.

The 24-ft Retriever exhibited at the NTEA show has a 9-ft curved forward deck hinged to an 11 -ft curved rear deck, plus a 4-ft extension provided by the folded ramp. Operating the air bags under the bed brings the rear bed height to 17". The NTEA show truck was a Peterbilt 335 tandem axle chassis. Total tare weight was 22,000 Ib and gross vehicle weight rating was 52,000 Ib.

The Retriever can haul heavier loads with smaller chassis, Simons says. A non-CDL truck can handle payloads as high as 13,000 pounds. A tandem-axle truck can handle legally a 30,000-pound payload.

First Wilcox all-aluminum crane body

Wilcox Bodies Ltd in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has completed its first all-aluminum crane service body. Albert Ribiero, sales and marketing manager, shows the steel crane tower structure inside the rear compartment. It ties into the torsional body frame understructure. Ribiero says the aluminum service body saves up to 700 pounds compared to steel service bodies, or about 40% of the weight. The 9-ft Wilcox body pictured has 48" high compartments 22" deep. It mounts a 3,200-lb Auto Crane.