For nearly five years, Utilimaster Corp has been incorporating DuraPlate into its production line and recently built its 5,000th truck body using the material. The milestone truck was built for UPS Cartage Services.
Consisting of a polyethylene plastic core sandwiched between two sheets of high-strength galvanized steel, DuraPlate is touted as stronger, lighter, and more durable than fiberglass-reinforced plywood and aluminum. The DuraPlate also is thinner, which increases inside space by nearly 3 inches.
Wabash National Corp, based in Lafayette IN, produces DuraPlate and uses the material for the semitrailer bodies it builds. Utilimaster uses the material to make truck bodies ranging in length from 12 to 26 feet.
Utilimaster experimented with different adhesives and eventually developed a technique for bonding the sheets of DuraPlate together rather than using conventional rivets.
The smooth surface provides an exterior that can display graphics and logos without having rivets poke through.