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Machine Design

Extruded Plastic has Truck Beds Covered

When creating the world’s first all-engineered-plastic tonneau covers, Prodesign, Elkhart, Ind., chose a coextruded sheet of Lustran ABS resin and Centrex weatherable polymer from Bayer Corp., Pittsburgh. Spartech Corp., Clayton, Mo., coextrudes sheets of the two materials, which are sent to Prodesign for thermoforming.

The new engineered-plastic cover weighs only 83 lb, compared to the traditional fiberglass covers weighing 125 to 150 lb. “Plastic is lighter in weight and easier to work with than fiberglass,” says Abe Newman of Viking Formed Products, Prodesign’s parent company. “And a plastic tonneau cover is also easier to install and remove.” Prodesign boosts strength by thermoforming a separate ribbed support structure made of Lustran ABS that attaches underneath the cover.

The finished tonneau cover, which can be custom colored to match a vehicle, is attached to the truck with a screwless clamping system. Hinges are installed midway up the cover and connected to a gas-assist support system.

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.

TAGS: Automotive
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