Fitting the right bodywork can make your day much easier.
The service-body business has grown from backyard fit-outs to professionally engineered, purpose-designed units that suit all popular cab/chassis and light truck vocations. Through the past month, Delivery Magazine has been checking out a representative sample of service body builders to bring Delivery readers up to date on what’s typically available.
Because of the plethora of companies and one-man businesses producing service bodies, it isn’t practical to conduct a national survey of suppliers. Also, with companies named Bott, Boss and Bosston it’s easy to become confused about who makes what!
A service body can be a simple toolbox attachment to an existing tray-top or ute body.
At the base level you can pick from a range of mass-produced toolboxes at your local Bunnings store. However, most people envisage a service body as a purpose-designed, slide-on or integrated structure that can accommodate the necessary power, tools and equipment for a particular vocation, all safely secured. The products listed below are typical of what’s available today.
The transport division of the Boss Engineering Group specialises in modifying vehicles and designing bodywork for utes, cab/chassis and light trucks.
In addition to its range of steel tray bodies, the company produces specialised service bodies for the agricultural, construction and mining industries.
The powder-coated, steel tray bodies feature internal tie downs as well as rope rails; a track mounting system for under-tray toolboxes and water tanks; anti-rattle, adjustable sideboard latches; and sideboards with RHS stiffening top and bottom. Floors can be steel, aluminium or hardwood.
Options include channel-section stainless sideboard capping that protects paintwork and a sealed roll-out tool drawer.
Boss Transport can produce ready-for-work service vehicles, with bars, racks, long-range fuel tanks, FRP canopies, driving lights, inverters and dual-battery system.
Bosston Auto Bodies is an Australian-owned company with facilities in Cunderdin WA and Goulburn NSW. Central to the Trade Mobile range is a curved-side aluminium canopy that can be fixed or lift-off and features full-height swing-up doors. Some models have rear doors as well.
The Lift-off Universal Series consists of a range of ‘off the shelf’ white-finish units that are all 950 mm high and 1750 mm wide and available in lengths from toolbox size, at 750 mm, through 1000 mm, 1200 mm, 1600 mm up to 2300 mm in length. Optional roof racking is available.
The company also produces custom service bodies for the mining industry and makes a catering van and dual-purpose, working/camping versions of its aluminium canopies.
Bott Engineering is best known for its extensive range of van fit-out equipment (see Delivery issue 45) but has recently begun producing toolboxes to mining company specifications and has developed a range of service bodies as well.
Bott Engineering has supplied more than 100 toolboxes over the past six months: all are manufactured from ZincAnneal and have a two-stage powder-coat process, including a zinc-rich primer and topcoat, inside and outside. All internals are manufactured from galvanised steel.
Bott Service Bodies are manufactured from tare-minimising aluminium and are built on a common platform that allows a body to be moved from vehicle to vehicle without modification. The finish is powder-coat inside and outside.
The bodies are designed to incorporate the extensive Bott range of modular storage equipment that can be customised to suit specific user applications.
Jackoff Ute Accessories produces a full range of aluminium trays, canopies in fibreglass, canvas over mesh and aluminium, and, obviously, aluminium canopies, service bodies and trays that ‘jack off’ and free-stand on adjustable legs.
An interesting design feature is the use of pullout arms with clip-on jacks. The arms extend, making a wider base for the jacks and that allows easier vehicle manoeuvring when picking up a raised body.
Trade Service Bodies is Melbourne-based and produces a range of toolboxes in side and top-opening designs, lift-off and fixed service bodies for cab/chassis and light trucks, as well as numerous accessories. All boxes and bodies are manufactured from aluminium sheet that’s chromate-dipped and powder coated.
TSB bodies include designs aimed at builders, service mechanics, plumbers, and electrical technicians.
The lift-off bodies are said to be removable by one person in as little as eight minutes, and even the fixed bodies are designed to be easily removed. An adjustable mounting rail permits a fixed TSB service body to be removed and fitted to another vehicle. The rail design can even accommodate a different wheelbase, TSB says.
TSB’s parent company, APMI, has been in the sheet metal fabrication business since 1974 and is accredited to AS/NZS 9001:2008.
Brisbane-based XL is best known for its volume-selling A- and Z- body, centre-aisle service bodies, but has now introduced a canopy-style body as well. The Canopy body is lightweight, being mainly of aluminium construction.
A higher-volume version of the Z-body, known as the V-body, is on the way. There’s also a Trade Topper toolbox top for ute tubs, a ROPS version of the A-body, and the company’s latest release is a lube-skid, for field servicing heavy equipment.
XL’s A-, Z- and V- bodies are purpose designed to carry heavy loads, yet with a low centre of gravity, to enhance dynamic safety. These bodies are given a five-stage anti-corrosion treatment, prior to powder-coating.
XL produces most of its own components in Australia and claims that 99 percent of the body weight is locally produced. The company says that experience has shown that outsourced components such as door handles and hinges can cause in-service problems, and XL prefers to make its own, proved parts. This philosophy also means that parts supply is guaranteed.
In addition to its comprehensive service body lineup, XL has a full range of racks and accessories.
Delivery will keep abreast of developments in the diverse service-body business, so stay tuned.