Hard bodies working out

New products in the truck industry are showing some promise

Article August 19, 2002
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What’s new in dump-truck-body production? “Too
much,” according to those who conduct the U. S. census every 10 years.
They believe counting dump-truck-body producers is one of their most
challenging duties.

Increased volume is important in making money on
dump-truck-body sales. “So what do we have to do when two manufacturers
merge to get economies of scale?” asked one of the census experts.
“We must reduce the total number of producers by one.”

The action can go the other way. Highly specialized,
new-model truck bodies can sell so well that their success leads to the
formation of a new body company by the firm that developed the specialty. The census
must register this as an increase of one producer.

Proliferation of specialized truck-body types and their
producers have gone through the roof in recent years. Census has prepared some
lists of truck-body makers that show the maker total high in the hundreds.

Following is an account of what was reported when a number
of truck-body makers were asked what they are doing that’s new. The
emphasis here is on dump-truck bodies.


Haul of champions

For the Michigan market, where weight rules are liberal, J&J
Truck Bodies and Trailers of Somerset, Pa., has built a double-dump trailer
that can carry a gross weight of 158,000 lb.

The unit has a steel frame and two light-weight aluminum
bodies. It was designed and built for Royal Truck & Trailer Sales of Dearborn
and Kalamazoo, Mich. Its state-of-the-art hydraulic systems help it quickly
discharge the load in the two bodies.

It was bound to happen so it was no surprise when Heil
Environmental Industries’ Truck Equipment Division announced that it had
set up the industry’s first website on which a customer can
“spec” out his own dump body on line.

A wide range of information of value to customers from
warranty data to specifications is available on the website
(www.duraclass.com). The maker refers to its DuraClass dump bodies as
“lightweight champs in a heavyweight world,” while pointing out
weight-saving features in the design of the bodies.

One of the dump-truck-body specialties evident in
today’s market is the body which can do more than the regular offering.
Stahl Mfg., volume supplier of bodies and related truck products based in
Wooster, Ohio, has two such bodies in the spotlight right now.

A standout is the Grand Champion, “the strongest, most
innovative small dump body on the planet.” The producer said the body is
designed with high-performance steel and covered with a
thermo-bond-powder-paint finish to resist corrosion. There are four body
lengths up to 11 ft and two widths to 96 in.

The producer’s Challenger Dump Body has a dump volume
of 3.3 cu yd in its longest floor length of 11 ft. The sides of the body have
secure storage space much like a service body.

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