A giant in the heavy truck sector, the German bodybuilder is aiming to flex its muscles among LCVs, as Steve Banner reports.
Schmitz Cargobull, the German manufacturer of trailers and bodies for heavy trucks, is entering the LCV market with a dry freight body for 3.5t chassis that’s targeted at home-delivery fleets.
“We’ve plenty of products for long-haul distribution but up until now we haven’t had something that can be used for last-mile delivery,” said Schmitz Cargobull Van Bodies chief exec Guido Schoepker. “We know we’ve got to provide a whole range of transport solutions.”
The VK.O Dry body is being produced as a modular kit at the company’s Berlin plant. Schmitz Cargobull aims to turn out 7,500 annually and supply them to chassis manufacturers, bodybuilders, and fleets in Europe with the capability of assembling them.
An industrial adhesive is used to bond the kits together and allows the builder to adjust and move all the sub-components into the right position before it sets.
The body employs newly developed 20mm-thick Stratoplast sandwich panels with a polyurethane foam core and inner and outer skins made from glass-reinforced plastic.
Twin layers of composite material including metallic chips are incorporated in the sandwich to diffuse vapour and stop damp seeping in. According to the company the entire contents of the panel can be recycled once it has reached the end of its useful life.
Lighter and cheaper than its all-alloy equivalents, the panels feature aluminium corner profiles and are framed with plastic rails to make assembly easier. The roof can either be of sandwich design or translucent and the floor boasts a built-in load-securing system plus a 150mm-high scuff rail.
Twin rear barn doors are a standard feature but the body can be prepared to accept a tail-lift platform plus an upper flap as the rear closure. The kit includes a wiring harness and a load area LED light with a motion sensor.
Options include a cab-top wind deflector sourced from VW – an aerodynamic collar to bridge the gap between the back of the cab and the front of the body is available too – a short, rear-access ladder, lashing rails, a reversing camera and a side-access door.
Certified to EU load containment standard DIN EN 12642, VK.O Dry has withstood stresses of up to 4G without failing, says the manufacturer.