Time is money, the old saying goes, and in the commercial vehicle world any technology that keeps technicians on the job with as little downtime as possible is a sure winner. Such is the case with BOLT®, the Breakthrough One-Key Lock Technology system that is increasingly becoming the choice of a growing number of truck body and cap manufacturers.
BOLT is an innovative solution designed to enable coding of make- and model-specific locks to work only with a vehicle’s ignition key. Using automotive-grade lock cylinders, BOLT locks are simply and permanently programmed to be operated by keys used in a majority of vehicles on the road today.
Any number of BOLT locks can be set to open with the same vehicle key, and manufacturers are now applying the technology to a wide number of different truck bodies and caps.
For example, at A.R.E. Accessories, BOLT Locks are now standard on the company’s commercial line of heavy-duty aluminum truck caps. The locks were engineered to fit in the housing of the folding T-handles used on A.R.E. caps through a collaborative effort involving BOLT, A.R.E., and its handle supplier.
DRIVEN BY DEMAND
“The decision to make BOLT locks standard on our heavy-duty truck caps was driven by demand among construction, utility, and government customers that upfit pickup trucks with our caps,” says Bryan Mutchler, marketing manager, A.R.E. Accessories. “They were looking for a locking system that eliminated the need to have multiple keys for each vehicle. The BOLT solution that allows them to use the ignition key to open the cap is much more convenient.”
The Truck Accessories Group (TAG) includes BOLT locks as standard features on many LEER® aluminum and fiberglass commercial truck cap models that use Drop T-Handles. “We serve a wide range of industries, including telecom, construction, utility, and others on national and regional levels through our dealer network. LEER products are designed and developed to improve efficiency for our customers in their day-to-day operations,” says John Stethem, vice president of sales at TAG. “BOLT’s ‘One-Key Technology’ is a strong selling point,” Stethem adds.
Featured Image: DeeZee’s Padlock Tool Box was specifically designed to work with the BOLT Padlock.
Above: BOLT Locks allow users of the BrandFX Everlast Service truck body to only need one key: their truck key.
Katherine Adams, vice president of marketing and new product development at TAG, says that security features and durability are also part of the value proposition it sees in BOLT locks. “The reliability of BOLT locks extends the longevity of our products and can add to their resale value, as well,” Adams states. “These locks have been proven in all kinds of operations and in all types of weather. BOLT is a great business partner with a high-quality product.”
BOLT locks are very popular at SnugTop, notes Ken Wilkes, technical service manager. Currently, the locks are specified on nearly half of the SnugPro commercial cap models ordered by customers, including those with side access doors.
CONVENIENCE OF FEWER KEYS
“Our dealers sell BOLT locks based on the convenience of having fewer keys to manage,” Wilkes says. “That’s a major consideration for fleets and other commercial users of our caps, especially operations where technicians use their trucks as service vehicles.
“The BOLT locks are also very robust, and comparatively much easier to replace because they use the same size cylinder as standard locks,” Wilkes adds. “The interchangeability means dealers can stock BOLT locks and install them in a few minutes at a customer’s request.”
Dee Zee Inc. offers two OEM products with BOLT locks, shares Troy Wirtz, director of aftermarket sales. Included are ramps sold as accessories for select models of the current Ford Super Duty line. Available exclusively through the OEM’s dealerships, the Dee Zee ramps are installed in Ford Modification Centers. In addition, Dee Zee provides BOLT locks in OEM toolboxes, most notably for GM.
“We also sell BOLT locks in the aftermarket, and we have wholesale distributors that are buying directly from BOLT and adding the locks to our products,” Wirtz adds. “A large aftermarket application for the locks is on tool and crossover boxes, where BOLT locks are recommended so they can be keyed to the ignition.
“You’re always going to have an ignition and door key for a truck,” Wirtz continues. “Having one key for the entire vehicle, including side mounts and tool boxes, or even for an entire operation with trucks that are keyed alike, is a huge benefit.”
Eric Schuling, engineering manager for aftermarket products at Dee Zee, says that the ability to open toolboxes and operate a truck’s ignition with the same key is what makes BOLT the right product for the manufacturer. “It’s an excellent key management tool for customers and that’s why we recommend BOLT locks to them,” he states, “but it’s also great for us.
“We have about 30 different keys for our toolboxes, so keeping them in stock to handle every request for lost or broken keys is time-consuming and labor-intensive,” Schuling explains further. “With BOLT, we can simply re-key a replacement to match the ignition.”
BrandFX builds commercial bodies for a number of fleets that specify BOLT locks, including large national companies in the telecom market. “The use of BOLT locks on our bodies is latch specific,” says Gary Heisterkamp, president of BrandFX. “But, only needing one key for the operator instead of two or more keys is why customers have us engineer the locks into their bodies.”
BOLT is now the only lock used in handle assemblies on all Royal Truck Body models. The work truck body manufacturer, notes Blake Montero, director of sales and marketing, made BOLT standard across its entire product line. Royal Truck Body is also offering BOLT locks for retrofit on models dating back to 2007.
The BOLT One-Key solution has a cost-saving benefit, because it eliminates the time and money spent on key management and the replacement of lost keys, Montero relates. “Some fleets are replacing locks three or four times, on average, over the lifetime of our service bodies, which can be as long as 20 years,” he says. “Along with the cost of replacement keys, they are spending a lot of money on parts and labor, but not with BOLT Locks.
“After extensive testing and the positive customer feedback we received by offering BOLT as an option for two years, we decided to redesign our handle hardware and make it our only lock solution offering,” Montero continues. “BOLT was also the best choice for our product line and our truck body customers, because it’s a far superior security solution.”
Before BOLT, Royal Truck Body searched for a more robust automotive grade lock for its product line, Montero reports. “Traditional service body compartment locks are like those found on desk hardware, and even push button locking systems do not offer the level of protection our customers require to safeguard tools, equipment, and supplies,” he states.
“With those products as well, there are only so many lock combinations, so there are other trucks on the road that share the same keys and codes,” Montero adds. “With BOLT, the key is unique to the ignition, so the level of security is immediately and automatically much higher.”
SECURITY IS KEY
BOLT survey data supports the concerns about cargo, tool, and equipment security that many operations face. Over half of the respondents report one or more thefts per year from work trucks at an average cost of $4,301, annually.
The survey also indicates that the average work truck operator needs to access toolboxes and storage compartments on a typical truck 17 times per week, and that 81 percent of those users experience a lockout or a lost or broken key every year. Those incidents came at an average cost of $150 for half of the respondents.
For commercial users of truck bodies and caps, the simplicity of BOLT is a clear and key part of its value and the reason that so many manufacturers are now offering the locking system on a growing number of products.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
BOLT locks are manufactured by Strattec Security Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive locks, keys, and related access control products, and the primary lock supplier to Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Find out more about BOLT, visit www.boltlock.com.