Innovation in truck bodies has resulted in Dutch company “The cityBOX” entering the Australian market
It seems there is always room for a new idea in transport, and when it comes to producing high volume cargo bodies for light trucks the market is keen to look and learn.
The cityBOX is a Dutch development of the traditional box body for fitment to light trucks. Where it differs from the bodies found every day mounted on cabover 3-5 tonners is that the body is teamed directly with European vehicles such as the Renault Master.
Launched initially onto the European market in 1989, when fitted to a host vehicle such as the front-wheel-drive Renault Master it offers specific benefits over the alternative of a standard light truck fitment. These include providing a very low floor height with correspondingly shallow ramp angles for loading and unloading. When matched to a standard roof height, the increased floor to ceiling dimensions improve volumetric efficiency, plus the opportunity for a driver to slip on entry or egress is significantly reduced because of the low floor height.
The cityBOX is available in Europe in three different formats. The cityBOX Poly-Light is built of lightweight polyester external sheeting with the interior protected by transverse aluminium extrusions mounted on vertical runners to protect the sides from damage and provide load lashing points.
The cityBOX Sandwich has smooth double-sided walls of reinforced glass-fibre with a core of honeycomb synthetic material, which gives an easy-clean surface suitable for carrying foodstuffs. It can be teamed with a translucent roof panel system to improve interior visibility.
The third cityBOX derivative is known as the Iso-Light and features walls and ceiling fabricated from a sandwich construction of reinforced polyester with a polythene core. This construction method has very good insulation properties and is aimed at companies transporting foodstuffs, flowers, plants and vulnerable loads.
Because of the excellent thermal insulation properties and maximum versatility in use, it is the Iso-Light design that is the first of the cityBOX designs to be brought to Australia and will be available from Motexion of Arndell Park, Sydney.
Jan and Cindy Eveleens, the founders of Motexion, have built their company by focusing on the importation and supply of protective wall and floor panelling for a wide range of light commercials.
“For a long time we have been providing vehicle manufacturing companies, OEMs and private operators with high quality, fabricated wooden sheets of plywood. These can be fixed to interior walls and floors to prevent the damage to the outer metal skins used in van construction,” said Jan.
After exhibiting the van liner products at an Australasian Fleet Managers Association (AFMA) conference in Melbourne, Jan Eveleens found that operator interest drove demand for wooden pre-cut inner liners and within a short timeframe his company was supplying major fleets such as Australia Post either directly, or as original fitment with the vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
“Another offshoot of the liner application developed when we introduced vapour lock bulkheads to seal off the driver and passenger compartment from the cargo area.
“These bulkheads substantially increase the effectiveness of air conditioning and heating systems in the driver compartment, plus they reduce noise intrusion and raise safety levels by preventing cargo from moving into the front of the vehicle under excessive brake application or in the event of an accident.
“We can now supply interior lining panels, floors and vapour lock bulkheads for a wide range of different makes and models of light commercial vehicles,” said Jan.
“When we saw the cityBOX design we realised it could have a significant market appeal by providing easy access for loading and unloading through having the powered rear access door combined with a very low floor height.
“The launch of the latest Renault Master provided an ideal opportunity for us to support the manufacturer and offer the Australian customer a highly versatile body system that was not previously available,” he added.
The cityBOX units are imported in flat-packed form from Holland for assembly and fitment by Jan Eveleens and his team, direct to the vehicle chassis and cabin.
The standard width of each body unit is 2.2 metres, and with a maximum height of 2.5 metres the boxes are available with lengths of 4.2 metres or 4.4 metres. Each unit can be ordered with or without side windows, door access or with opening and elevating side panels as used by food and drink vendors. The rear tailgate can be hinged at the base and raised or lowered electro-hydraulically, or fitted with counter-balanced spring loading for manual opening and closure. Alternatively, the rear wall can be fixed as non-opening and access provided by a side door.
“With 25 mm of insulation sandwiched in the walls and the floor sections, the temperature inside the box area can be easily regulated,” said Jan. “Similarly, the interior can be fitted with ramps to carry sports cars or go karts to race meetings,” he added.
The advent of high specification European platform cab/chassis units with very low chassis heights, while incorporating class leading safety and comfort standards, opens up an interesting new avenue for light commercial application.
With total flexibility in the design of the individual panels, it is now possible for a customer to have one-step entry into a bespoke cargo area through a side-mounted door or use the tailgate for roll-on/roll-off collection.