Commercial vans were everywhere at the 2015 Work Truck Show. Sortimo lined up some of the vehicles that it can equip. From foreground to background: Ram ProMaster City, Chevrolet City Express, Mercedes Metris, and Ford Transit.

New truck equipment for new vehicles

May 6, 2015
Truck body and equipment manufacturers roll out new products as more new vans and cutaways roll in

TRUCK body and equipment manufacturers have answered the influx of European-inspired vans.

This year’s Work Truck Show was awash with new products designed to accommodate the new vehicles that have been brought to market in recent. Ford, Ram, GM, Nissan are among those who have introduced new commercial vans and cutaway chassis. The truck equipment industry responded with an array of van interior packages, multiple types of truck bodies designed for these new cutaway chassis, and even an aftermarket package built in Europe that can be assembled here to enable completed vans to carry refrigerated cargoes.

Looking beyond the van-related introductions, truck body manufacturers also appeared to be strengthening their commitment to the use of aluminum. Service bodies, dump bodies, platforms. The need to save weight is apparent in 2015, and many exhibitors touted their lightweight designs.

Here is a sampling of the bodies and equipment that was on display at this year’s show:

Flowing smoothly. Unicell displayed its new Aerocell van body for the Transit. Smooth airflow started by the Transit cab is continued with a sloping faring and rounded body corners. The Aerocell features one-piece fiberglass outer shell, and fiberglass rear door frame. It can be ordered as short as 12 feet and a maximum of 17 feet.
Sipping fuel slowly. Utilimaster Corporation may call this new Transit-based walk-in van “Velocity,” but it is designed to slow down the amount of fuel that the truck consumes. The company, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPAR), designed the vehicle with full stand-up height, and cargo capacities of up to 784 cubic feet. It is scheduled for full production in the third quarter of this year.

The Velocity supports the Ford Transit gas, diesel or CNG/LPG platforms. The design offers rear swing or roll-up doors for dock loading, a curbside sliding door, low entry and egress steps, and optimized ergonomics for managing commercial deliveries and service routes. Utilimaster says that cost of ownership over seven years is nearly half the cost of a traditional walk-in van, with initial acquisition cost that is 15% lower.

Do the math. M H Eby calculates that a Ford Transit chassis with a 9,000-lb GVW can carry 4,000 pounds of cargo when equipped with this new 800-pound aluminum body. The 10’6” long body measures seven feet wide. It is available in know-down form—including fold-down sides—to allow for easy shipping to upfitters.
New body for the Promaster. Rockport Commercial Vehicles, a subsidiary of Forest River Inc, displayed its new Cargoport and Parcelport van bodies, shown here mounted on a Ram ProMaster cutaway. Standard equipment on the Cargoport includes ABS front corner caps, LED interior and exterior lighting, low floor entry, and composite rear roll-up door. The Parcelport version adds to that a rear drop floor, “Rocktop” aerodynamic device with lockable cab access door, and rubber coin flooring.
Ultimate Delivery Vehicle. That’s the rather ambitious name for the new Morgan Olson offering for the Transit cutaway chassis. To save weight, the UDV has an all-aluminum floor and subframe, extruded aluminum rear frame, one-piece .030” aluminum roof, and aluminum Z-posts on 16” centers. The .040” side skins are bonded to the side posts. Using composite liners instead of plywood saves additional weight. Morgan Olson offers a 14-ft body for the 156”-wheelbase Transit and a 15’6” body for the 178” model.

The company also displayed its eutectic technology refrigeration system that is designed to keep fresh and frozen cargoes at desired temperature over the course of a 10-hour shift with up to 65 door openings. The system also includes a low-wattage heater to keep product from freezing when ambient temperatures are too cold.

A master at keeping cool. This Ram ProMaster 2500 is now a refrigerated van after being equipped with a refrigeration conversion kit—the Iso Van produced by Groupe Gruau. Gruau is a French company that has been family-owned for five generations. The IsoTemp van is designed for light-duty refrigerated applications such as food delivery, biomedical transportation, and catering. The IsoTemp is assembled from a series of seamless panels. The resulting reefer can be installed in a wide range of vans, including the Transit and Transit Connect, Sprinter, Nissan NV200, Chevrolet City Express, and ProMaster City. The company recently signed an agreement with Knapheide to make the Quincy IL company  Gruau’s exclusive sales, distribution, and upfit partner.
Composite everything. That’s how Morgan Olson describes this prototype that uses composite materials just about everywhere practical—including the subframe, door frame, and sidewalls. The goal of the project, the company says, is to produce a body that weighs 500-600 pounds less than a comparable aluminum body with no more than a 20% price premium. Target date for production: the first quarter of 2016.
The choice is yours. Supreme promoted the fact it offers van bodies with wide sidewalls made from a choice of four different materials. The most recent material is the company’s Fiberpanel HC which features a lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced honeycomb core. The material is offered on Signature Series and Inner-City vans up to 16 feet long. In addition to reducing weight, the one-piece panels provide a smooth surface for graphics.

The company’s SignaturePlate is another one-piece composite panel built around a high-density polyethylene core sandwiched between two pieces of high-strength steel. It is available in lengths up to 28 feet.

And the other two materials? Conventional aluminum sheet and post construction and traditional fiberglass-reinforced plywood.

Supreme also rolled out a new logo and new website at The Work Truck Show.

Beaten but not broken. Visitors to the Stahl booth were encouraged to hammer away at the new Razorback service body. Stahl, a Scott Fetzer Company, has partnered with United Plastic Fabricating of North Andover MA to offer a service body made of polymer composite. The high impact polypropylene body made it through the show pretty much unscathed. Mounted on a steel or aluminum sub-frame, the Razorback is available in a variety of line, aerial, and service body configurations, including custom configurations.

United Plastic Fabricating (UPF) also produces built-to-order polymer water tanks for the fire industry.

“Razorback is made from the same durable, impact-resistant polypropylene that made UPF’s Poly-Tank the number one water tank in the fire industry,” said Jeff Jerousek. “Through this partnership, we’re able to bring UPF’s expertise in polymer composites to service truck bodies.”

All-aluminum service body. The new TC 260 Lancer service body from TruckCraft uses 6060 T6 extrusions for the floor and .090-inch 5052-H32 aluminum for the sidepacks. The nine-foot body is designed for dual-rear-wheel chassis with 60-inch CAs. The rigidity of the extruded floor contributes to a low floor height—only 4.5 inches above the top of the chassis frame.
Tool-Pro body. Reading Truck Body unveiled  the Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX with Tool-Pro body. Designed specifically for the Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX to maximize driver productivity, the Tool-Pro is a premium Reading aluminum body, including reinforced understructure, hidden hinge technology, rear access doors, Dual-Pro door seals, galvanized shelving, LED lighting and nitrogen strut door, along with Reading’s e-coat primer and powder coat finish. The extensive use of aluminum contributes to a tare weight that is up to half that of comparable steel bodies.

The NPR ECO-MAX with Tool-Pro body will initially be available exclusively through Isuzu authorized dealers for an introductory period. Shortly after, the Tool-Pro will also be available from any authorized Reading Truck Body distributor.

Serving the pros. Morgan Corporation, known primarily as a van body manufacturer, launched its Service-Pro line of service bodies. Features include powder-coated surfaces, stainless steel components, pre-configured storage compartment packages. Morgan’s “Contractor”, “Foreman” and “Executive” level packages are the starting point for further customization. All of the packages employ Uni-strut design that allows shelf adjustments up to 1/8-inch to maximize storage and minimize wasted space. Heavy-duty 18-gauge construction can house materials weighing up to 250 pounds, and divided, pull-out shelves on rover easy-slide tracks can handle up to 300 pounds.
Incremental weight loss. The healthy way to lose weight is a little bit at a time. The same is true for truck bodies. It’s the approach that Pride Bodies took, and the manufacturer brought along a scale to prove it. The biggest source of weight loss—200 pounds by making the rear step bumper out of aluminum. An aluminum crane tower is another contributor, as is the 1½” extruded floor and 5052 aluminum sheet for the sides.
New fiberglass body. Altec announced its new line of fiberglass service bodies. The company, based in Birmingham AL, uses a patented core material to add strength and reduce weight. The company also promoted its Jobsite Energy Management System (JEMS) that uses an electric power take-off to power the hydraulic system so that the truck engine does not have to operate. The battery bank can be located in a variety of places, but the most popular location is in the step bumper such as that of the truck shown here.
Losing a few pounds. The new EC-Series of steel service bodies from Knapheide is tailored specifically to meet the weight limits found on midsize and ½-ton pickups with bed delete options. By optimizing the design and materials incorporated in the EC-Series bodies, Knapheide claims to have produced a body that weighs 25% less than a standard steel service body.
Kapping off the line. Knapheide expanded its line of KnapKap commercial pickup truck caps by introducing seven new models. The line includes a range of fiberglass, aluminum, and steel products co-developed with Snug Top.
A new A-Tipper. Crysteel Manufacturing unveiled its newly redesigned A-Tipper aluminum dump body. The new A-Tipper has minimum welds, a more aerodynamic design, integral cab shield, new tailgate design—all while trimming 200 pounds from its tare weight. All Crysteel A-Tippers come standard with 3/16-inch aluminum construction, rigid sides with single panel reverse bend, tarp mounting provisions and integrated receivers, 6-inch board pockets, and LED lighting with one-piece wiring harness.
Landscape specialist. This aluminum body with fold-down sides is the latest offering from Voth Truck Bodies, Courtland ON, Canada. Voth offers a variety of headboard heights, 14” and 20” fold-down sides, and lengths to fit 60”, 84”, 108”, and 120” CAs.
Rugby rounds up new Rancher. Rugby Manufacturing recently showcased a newly re-designed Rancher body. The new design features a narrower, tapered bulkhead and a B&W Turnoverball hitch that allows a flat surface with no cutouts in the floor.

The Rancher is built with black powder-coated 12-gauge steel and comes with outside stake pockets with tie rails on the sides and rear and a built-in receiver hitch.

Heavy-duty tub. DuraClass recently introduced its improved HPT “Tub” body line for heavy-duty dump applications. The HPT-B1 features a closed fender design, and comes in 14- to 18-ft lengths in either carbon steel or stainless steel. The HPT-B1 has capacity ranges from 10- to 20-yard. Also part of the line is the HPT-B2— an open fender design which decreases the possible areas for rust and the overall body weight. The body comes in 10- and 11-ft lengths in 3/16-in AR400 carbon steel, and 14- to 18-ft lengths in 3/16-in Hi-Tensile carbon steel. The HPT-B2 also has an option for stainless steel.
Detachable landscape body. Hayden Hawthorne, Matthew Harakal, and Gabe Greathouse help Switch-N-Go introduce its new demountable body for landscape applications. Available in lengths of eight to ten feet, the body can be ordered with a variety of options, including beavertail, short barn doors or side door, full expanded-metal sides, and D-rings installed in the floor.
Taking a stand. Buyers Products announces new spreader stands for full-size hydraulic SaltDogg spreaders. The spreader stands make loading, unloading and storage, simple and efficient. The six new stands fit 10-foot to 15-foot full-size hydraulic SaltDogg spreaders and are also designed to accommodate spreaders with pre-wet tanks. The spreader stands come with built-in rollers on the rear and sides of the unit to make the on and off loading of a dump body easier. They have solid structural steel construction in either black powder-coated or hot-dipped galvanized finishes. Each stand has adjustable legs to be used with various bed heights, and are equipped with either bolt-on or weld-on installation.
New line of snowplows. After establishing a reputation as a manufacturer of poly spreaders, SnowEx Snow and Ice Control Equipment launched a complete line of snowplows that includes a total of 20 new snow control products. The snow control line includes Power Plow heavy-duty, regular-duty, and light-duty models of hinged-blade and straight-blade snowplows, as well as UTV plows and box plows. The plows include multiple exclusive new technologies, such as the Automatixx attachment system, a power-assisted feature that involves a simple process for quick plow attachment.
UTV plow. Buyers Products unveiled its snowplow for use on a UTV. It has double-acting cylinders for back-dragging, a 63” wide, 70-degree attack angle, and digital controller. Mounting kits are available for a variety of UTV manufacturers.
Added lift. Liftmoore Truck Cranes introduced the Liftmoore 3055 midsized crane. It is available with a planetary winch and full hydraulic extension from 10 feet to 20 feet. Wireless controls are standard. Shown are Steve Coffee and Neil Koenig.
Convertible bucket truck. The new personnel basket from Palfinger converts a crane into aerial device. The bucket pins onto the end of the crane when needed and folds up for storage in a body compartment when not. It can be installed on cranes with a 6,000-lb rating.
Lighting it up. RKI introduced an LED lighting option for its WG Series of window grilles. The company also is offering an optional bracket for strobe lights. Ellis Cooper, left, a 50-year veteran of the company provides details to Tom Cook, Cook Truck Equipment in Charlotte NC.
Groovy kind of product. The Protech Groove is a new product from Protech, a truck body and accessories manufacturer with operations in Vancouver WA and La Vergne TN. The Protech Groove drawer module is made of extruded aluminum, including a handle that stays in place while a patent-pending trigger release activate Protech to offer drawers as slim as two inches high. Peter Miller demonstrates.
Award winner. Jeff King demonstrates the latest product offerings from Parker Chelsea, including the 249V power take-off that fits both two-wheel-drive and the tighter space restrictions of four-wheel-drive vehicles. Integrating the noise reduction technology of the 249 Series and the Parker T6C vane pump into this new PTO provides flows up to 23 GPM and pressure of 3,500 PSI at 1000 engine RPM—a 132% increase in flow rates and a 55% increase in pressure. The 249V power take-off won the 2015 Innovation Award at this year’s Work Truck Show. ♦
About the Author

Bruce Sauer | Editor

Bruce Sauer has been writing about the truck trailer, truck body and truck equipment industries since joining Trailer/Body Builders as an associate editor in 1974. During his career at Trailer/Body Builders, he has served as the magazine's managing editor and executive editor before being named editor of the magazine in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.