The aluminum advantage for mechanic trucks

A mechanic truck equipped with a stellar aluminum body

Aluminum offers two key advantages over steel when building mechanic truck bodies, according to Stellar Industries.

Since aluminum doesn’t contain iron, its effectively resistant to rust. Compared to steel, aluminum is also about one third of the weight.

While Stelar industries continues to build truck bodies with steel, aluminum now accounts for 93 per cent of the company’s production.

At the recent ARA Show in New Orleans, Stellar showcased its TMAX 16K aluminum mechanic truck equipped with an EC3200 Service Crane.

“We will probably at some point eliminate steel all together,” said Chris Rycroft National Sales Manager for the Mechanic Truck and Crane product lines. “We save anywhere from 800 to 1,200 lbs. in body weight compared to steel, there’s no rust issue and its rigid.”

Alongside truck bodies, Stellar also manufactures toolboxes and cranes with aluminum. The company uses non-friction welding during production, a process that uses a non-consumable tool to join materials without melting the metal. Heat is generated by friction between the rotating tool and the material.

“The tool is like a woodworking router. It has a spinning dial that goes into the metal and heats them up to blend together. When it blends, it makes it stronger than our steel tops,” Rycroft said.

Reducing weight on the mechanic truck allows the driver to carry more tools and parts to their destination.

As truck chassis increase in weight, the elimination of weight elsewhere grows in importance.

“This is basically a rolling warehouse. These guys need every tool and every part, whether they use them every day or once a year,” Rycroft said. “They may be going three hours out for a job. So, they want to have everything they might need to do a repair.”

Stellar has also designed its truck bodies to transfer weight down to the underbody. The side packs are independently secured, which reduces movement in the cabinet structure. This means stellar can use double sided doors, and the body will not go out of alignment.

“They don’t twist, they don’t turn. You can always get your tooling out,” Rycroft said. “If I’m on a job site and I have a 2,000 lbs. motor hanging off a crane, I can’t put the crane down to get a cabinet door open.”

As well, an aluminum extruded top, with drill-free mounting rails, make it easy to add a wide range of mechanic service truck accessories. The rails eliminate the need to drill holes in the body to place tools, which become common leak points.

“When we talk about leaks, we’re talking about in the cabinets, where typically you have a lot of expensive tools,” Rycroft said.

Stellar is also now manufacturing drawer packs with aluminum. Like steel, the drawers maintain a 227 kg capacity for storage.

“The cool thing is whenever we do something in aluminum, we don’t lose the advantage of steel,” Rycroft said.