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NEW BREED OF DELIVERY VEHICLE

glass truck design

The Kin-Slider™ opens and closes in 30 seconds and is the perfect replacement for chassis-mounted truck bodies that now use roll-up doors or traditional curtain-walled solutions

Glass truck design started out as a moderately uncomplicated affair. Angled glass racks were simply mounted on a vehicle platform and you were in business.

Open glass racks provided easy access for both loading and unloading, but there was an obvious problem––the cargo was glass. Unprotected glass sheets traveling on-road, off-road, and through inclement weather was a recipe for complications.

While in transit, not only was the glass exposed to chemicals and road debris that might chip, crack, or otherwise damage the glass, but even in clear weather the fragile cargo inevitably arrived with a coating of dirt and grime. The residual film on the glass often took significant time and effort to remove, and depending on the nature of the deposits, could easily cause scratches and abrasions to occur in the process of unloading or cleaning.

CURTAIN TIME

The application of curtain sides on glass haulers was a huge advancement, but it also came at a cost. A curtain-side glass truck provided protection from the elements, reducing cargo damage expenses, and the glass arrived at its destination in far better condition.

The problem was that the easy access originally afforded by open rack systems was now absent. While they performed admirable in protecting their cargo, operating buckle-style closures and tensioning mechanisms on the original curtain-side systems was time consuming and ergonomically challenging.

Because the decks on glass trucks are designed to approximate axle height, the buckle fasteners that secure the lower edge of the protective curtains are generally located only 12 to 18 inches from the ground. Likewise, the tensioning mechanisms needed to prevent the curtains from flapping and admitting water and debris are located at the same height.

So, while the buckle-style curtains did their job, they made the jobs of those operating them far more laborious and prone to injury. Loading and delivery personnel had to bend, kneel, and stoop to open and close 10 to 20 buckles per side, depending on the vehicle configuration, and to crank the tensioners on both sides. Then, there was correctly seating the vertical curtain anchor posts at both ends of the curtain.


The Kin-Slider has no buckles, just one ergonomically designed, all-in-one latch release front and back.

REIMAGINING THE CURTAIN

In 2016, Kinedyne LLC introduced a new curtain-side vehicle access technology that would change the game for not only glass truck manufacturers and end users, but for all others with curtain-side vehicle applications.

“Kinedyne’s Kin-Slider QR is a 30-second curtain-side vehicle access system that stands apart from other curtain-side solutions,” says Eric Smitsdorff, cargo access technologies product manager for Kinedyne. “The Kin-Slider opens and closes at both ends of a truck or trailer, and cargo can be fully accessed and the curtain closed again within just 30 seconds. Operation requires no bending or stooping and promotes worker health via good posture.”

The system has a unique full-length, vertical, multi-latch closure system with an adjacent, all-in-one latch-release mechanism located both forward and rear. Opening the Kin-Slider’s curtains can be done almost effortlessly with one hand, and they close the same way. The curtains slide smoothly on rollers located at both their top and bottom, and once closed, create a rigid, sealed curtain wall without the need for tensioning or additional adjustments of any kind.

PROBLEM SOLVED

Marion Body Works manufactures Fire and Emergency Apparatus, Commercial Truck Bodies, Aluminum Custom Cabs, Custom Engineered Vehicles, and Defense Products for customers across the country––the company also manufactures glass trucks.

“Marion was building an excellent curtain-side glass hauler,” says Larry Czarnecki, manager of engineering for Marion Body Works. “The only shortcoming was the existing buckle-style curtain-side technology.”

Like most bodybuilders, Marion was buying its curtains from a well-known supplier. Marion would specify the dimensions, and the curtain, tracks, rollers, tensioning mechanisms, and vertical anchor posts would be shipped to them as constituent pieces. Marion would then have to perform some additional engineering and a significant amount of assembly in order to mount the components on the vehicle.

“A curtain-side glass truck is still superior to one without, but it was a lot of work to properly up-fit the vehicle,” Czarnecki says. “We knew there had to be a better way, but frankly, we didn’t have time to undertake engineering one ourselves.”

Marion became aware of Kinedyne’s new Kin-Slider curtain-side system soon after its marketplace introduction. Marion could immediately see the advantages of speed, efficiency, and ergonomics. The two companies began discussions in 2017, looking for just the right opportunity to work together.

“Our customer, Dearco Glass Paint and Decorating, just happened to be in the market for a new curtain-side glass hauler with a 12-ft rack,” says Don Schinke, inside sales specialist for Marion Body Works. “It was a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time.”

Having sold curtain-side glass trucks to Dearco before, Marion took the opportunity to show Dearco how the Kin-Slider differed in its operation from the previous versions. The system sold itself, and Dearco’s management ordered its newest glass truck outfitted with a Kin-Slider system.

“Choosing the Kin-Slider system on our new glass truck was a pragmatic business decision,” says Jeff Knope, president of Dearco Paint and Decorating. “Not only could we calculate a significant savings in loading and unloading time, but the reduction of strain on our workers equated to an even greater intrinsic value for our company.”

As with its previous curtain suppliers, Marion provided Kinedyne with the dimensions of the vehicle to be upfitted with the Kin-Slider system. Unlike its experience with previous curtain suppliers, the Kin-Slider arrived ready to install, in the form of a simple kit.

“They told us that it would be plug and play and that’s exactly what it was,” Czarnecki says. “The bolt-on simplicity and engineering quality were exemplary, and the system functioned even better than we expected.”

In contrast to other curtain-side systems, the Kin-Slider is simpler in design and more robust. The curtain’s top and bottom rollers maintain stability, and there are only a few moving parts. There is virtually no maintenance required.

“From an engineering perspective, I can really appreciate the Kin-Slider’s design,” Czarnecki adds.


The system has a robust roller and track system, both top and bottom, keeping the curtain under control and sliding easily, while doing away with the need to buckle or tension.

SATISFIED CUSTOMER

Dearco took possession of its new Marion Body Works glass hauler in January of 2018, and the company was immediately impressed by the differences.

“When first encountering the vehicle, our workers couldn’t believe how simple it was to operate and how fast it could be opened and closed,” Knope says. “And, they loved the fact that they didn’t have to bend over to fiddle with buckles and tensioners.”

Marion is now offering the Kin-Slider as an alternative on all curtain-side applications and sees significant potential in the fast-growing last-mile delivery segment.

“At Marion, we build what our customers want,” Schinke says. “And, I think our customers are going to want the Kin-Slider QR 30-second curtain-side vehicle access system.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Find out more about Kinedyne’s Kin-Slider 30-second curtain-side vehicle access system, visit www.kinedyne.com or call Eric Smitsdorff at 908.285.3529.


MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS: MAY 2018 ISSUE

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