Rust-proof

Stainless steel flooring provides cost, image benefits

Manager: Robert Schneier

Title: Executive vp/co-owner

Fleet: Cream-O-Land Dairy, Florence, NJ

Operation: Regional refrigerated fleet

PROBLEM

When you're in the food business and your products are going to supermarkets and school cafeterias, you want to make sure your vehicles look good, both inside and out. Robert Schneier, exec. vp of Cream-O-Land Dairy, points out that “good looks” aren't all about image, either. When you're delivering perishable products such as milk, yogurt, and juice, the trucks need to be spotlessly clean for sanitary reasons. If inspectors see grime, you lose business.

Schneier knows all about the demands of running such a tight ship: He and his brother Jay are the third generation at the helm of the family dairy business. So when the steel floors of the fleet's new truck bodies - 55 in all — started to rust, Schneier realized he needed to start looking for a new design angle.

“Our truck bodies are fiberglass with a steel floor because of all the pounding the floor must take during a work day,” he explained. “You've got guys going in and out of those trucks all day, loading and unloading heavy crates of milk and other dairy items. Our steel floors look great when you get them, but after three months they look old. The wear and tear and dampness created an environment for rust to develop on the standard steel floor.”

Returning those steel floors to “like new” condition isn't easy or cheap. The sandblasting, re-painting and downtime needed to repair Cream-O-Land's steel floors could tally almost $1,000 per truck.

SOLUTION

Schneier went to Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies in Rice Lake, WI, to explore some new options. Using fiberglass for the majority of the body proved to be the most cost-efficient option. First, Johnson's molded seamless fiberglass exterior and interior uses a custom thermal break design to totally isolate the body from the steel structure. In combination with the void-free foamed-in-place dense urethane insulation, the thermal break design gives the body more structural integrity and a better barrier against moisture and heat.

In addition, the seamless fiberglass interior side panels and watertight glass matted seamless joints are easy to clean to meet code requirements. The company noted that its exclusive ArcticTherm liner uses a new polyester resin that not only yields a bright white, smooth, hard interior surface but also — at 3/8-in. thick — gives the walls 2,465 lb. psi of puncture resistance, so it can hold its own against a forklift.

Flooring, however, proved to be another story, said Schneier. “We looked at aluminum and although it held up to corrosion well, it didn't provide a good working surface for us,” he said. In the end, Cream-O-Land decided to use stainless steel for the flooring.

Switching from standard steel to stainless steel proved to be a good decision. “Stainless steel doesn't rust and doesn't require sandblasting or re-painting, so there's no downtime associated with those issues,” he said. “Long term, those cost savings are going to be the greatest benefit.”

Another huge benefit is having cleaner trucks. Gone is the rust that can cause unsightly stains on the bottom of milk cartons and other product containers. “You can't put a price tag on that,” said Schneier.


Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.

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