Since our introduction of Brand FX’s composite service and utility bodies earlier this month, we’ve had TONS of questions by phone and email to our team. Most of them have centered around what material is the right material for a new service body for a truck. For years, of course, the only options were steel or aluminum, but now that Brand FX has introduced an incredibly strong composite body to the conversation, it’s gotten a lot harder for fleet managers and tradesmen to decide.
Let’s take a look at why this decision can be so hard…
- “Steel is what we’ve always used!” We completely understand this point of view. Steel is simple, steel is understandable, and, for some of us, steel is easy to work with. It’s also heavy, and today, just as we see more and more trucks being built using composite and aluminum panels in their design – with stricter safety standards than ever before – the industry is turning to lighter materials and better designs to achieve their goals of economy and longevity.
- “Isn’t metal more durable?” Our team has heard this plenty of times! Yes, the right metal alloys can be nearly bulletproof. After all, they build tanks out of steel, right? That’s true, but the armor our troops wear into battle isn’t made of metal, it’s – you guessed it – a composite of several types of non-metallic materials. In many ways, though, the decision to purchase a composite or a metal service body depends on your overall goals. If you’ll be working in some of the most extreme weather Canada can throw at you, it’s worth remembering that steel and aluminum tend to expand and contract in extreme temperatures, leading to compartments that won’t open and latches that can’t close. Composites and fiberglass panels, though, are not temperature sensitive, so when the mercury drops, you and your team can still get the job done with composites.
- “What about impact damage?” Oh boy have we heard this a lot! The simple truth is this – body shops and handymen in their home garages are far more prepared to repair fiberglass or composite damage than they are straightening out crumpled or warped steel and aluminum panels. Since Brand FX’s gelcoat finishes are very similar to the types used on modern vehicles, routine repairs, chips and dings are far easier to touch up than ever before.
- “Does the lighter weight help economy?” Yes! Brand FX has studied the long term effects on the lighter weights of their service bodies and they’ve found some interesting data. First of all, on average, the Brand FX composite utility body weights nearly 1,000 pounds less than a similar steel body and testing has shown that weight reduction amounts to an 8% increase in fuel economy with all other weights being the same (cargo, passengers, etc…). In longer testing, brake systems, steering components, and suspension parts lasted longer before replacement, again leading to lower repair and maintenance costs over the life of the truck.
Now, as excited as we are to introduce and share Brand FX’s platform with Canada, we realize there is still a need for steel and aluminum service bodies. Sometimes our customers need custom solutions. Nevertheless, we’ve proud to be able to offer something so unique because we have not only studied how these composites benefit our customers but also how the options Brand FX offers work perfectly with the trends in upfitting we’re seeing now.
Whether you need a traditional steel or aluminum service body or a new composite utility body, Expertec is here with the right solution for you.