New polypropylene panels for van and truck bodies are allowing Australian transport companies to carry higher payloads and reduce fuel consumption.
Melbourne, Australia-based truck-body supplier Peki Pty. Ltd. has developed a truck-body system consisting of walls, a roof and floor panels manufactured from a lightweight sandwich of woven reinforced polypropylene sheets and a strong honeycomb PP core.
Peki national sales manager Michael Jenkins said the company's PekiLite sheets are welded to each side of the PP core.
Peki traditionally has manufactured refrigerated transport vehicle bodies and is the preferred supplier of vehicle bodies to a major national Australian bakery, but Jenkins said vehicle weights “became a problem.”
Peki therefore developed its rigid-body alternative, the PekiLite system, so truck bodies are significantly lighter, with a 4,400-pound payload “quite achievable.”
It began marketing the system last year, after an extensive testing program.
Jenkins said a 14-foot-long FRP truck body could weigh 2,600 pounds, a steel body 2,800 pounds and a PekiLite body just 1,100 pounds.
Jenkins said the sandwich panel is made of honeycomb bonded with reinforced thermoplastic composite skins. An additional layer of PP on the outside provides a smooth surface.
PekiLite truck bodies also have been tested with DaimlerChrysler and Isuzu trucks.
Jenkins said the testing showed the PekiLite system offers high impact resistance and rigidity, weight savings and a subsequent reduction in fuel.