Batman made up for his lack of superpowers with a pretty amazing utility belt. Stuffed with useful gadgets like bat binoculars and the batarang, it held everything he needed to fight villains in Gotham. Good thing it was lightweight otherwise it would’ve slowed him down!
Mobility and customization
The utility truck is the big boy version of the utility belt. Take a basic chassis and fit it out with drawers, cabinets, racks and shelves so you can carry everything needed for the job. There’s evidence utility trucks emerged in the 1930’s and today there’s a version for every conceivable skill, trade and service. A few are built in volume but the majority are highly customized to suit their owners.
Businesses invest a lot in these trucks and work them hard. Weight is a big focus, corrosion resistance another, and aluminum extrusion helps with both.
Aluminum extrusion for weight reduction
Keeping weight down has two benefits. It means more payload for tools and materials, and it helps save on fuel. When a truck’s on the road 16 hours a day or maybe more it covers a lot of miles, so even a small weight reduction translates to significant savings. (Of course, you won’t save on fuel if you load the truck to it’s maximum. That would be like having your cake and eating it too!)
At one third the density of steel, aluminum is a excellent way of saving weight. Yes it lacks the strength of steel, but forming it into an extrusion is a great way of creating rigid structural shapes. That’s why extruded aluminum is good for applications like ladder racks, toolboxes and the frames beneath aluminum plate decking.
Aluminum extrusion for corrosion resistance
When steel rusts layers flake off and strength diminishes until eventually the steel fails. Paint or powder coating delay the onset of rust, but sooner or later moisture finds a way through. Rusted steel looks ugly and shortens the life of a utility truck. If the plan is to sell it at some point, rust will reduce its value.
Aluminum oxidizes, but doesn’t corrode like steel. Marine-grade aluminum holds up especially well. Boxes, steps and sign holders made from aluminum will never develop a moth-eaten appearance and disintegrate. That means a utility truck incorporating aluminum is likely to last longer and retain its value better.
As it doesn’t rust it’s not essential to paint aluminum. That’s another cost saving. Incidentally, it was always said that American Airlines flew their planes unpainted because it saved weight. Whether or that’s true, it certainly saving them the expense of painting, stripping and repainting.
Easy to work
For utility truck manufacturers another benefit of extrusion is how easy it is to work with. It’s readily sawed to length or drilled to accept rivets or bolts and hand filing removes rough edges. And compared to working with steel, there’s no need to paint and prime the exposed metal.
Building better trucks
The utility truck is an essential tool for many businesses. Aluminum extrusion helps utility truck manufacturers build vehicles that better meet the needs of their customers. That’s why we say it offers design flexibility, although maybe not enough flexibility for a utility belt!