ATLANTA — Vehicle component supplier Hadley introduced a new line of lightweight, lower-cost thermoform barrier products, made of high-density polyethylene.
Officials with the Grandville, Mich.-based company made the announcement at a press conference March 17, part of American Trucking Associations’ 2019 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.
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Hadley’s leadership said it is moving forward on the barriers with its affiliated company Corvac Composites.
For many years, the company has been making similar devices for the automotive original equipment manufacturers.
Hadley’s product offering includes splash shields, underengine covers and underbodies. Thermoforming is a process in which a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold and trimmed to create a product. The company said a thermoform product is 30-50% lighter with a corresponding cost savings and is more durable than typical injection molding.
“For a long time, we believed we could bring these products to the heavy-duty truck market,” Hadley President Jim Green said. “Primarily, we sell them now to the automotive market, but we believe that the heavy-duty market also will value from a lighter-weight, lower-cost product. It seems like any customer will benefit from that.”
In trucking, Hadley is known for manufacturing products including air horns, mirrors and mechanical valves.
The company said its testing has shown Hadley products will last eight to 10 years, and the guards can be configured several ways to improve airflow optimization beneath the trucks. The company did not have specific figures regarding improved fuel efficiency, but it believes these units will have a positive impact on fuel economy.
“We do believe that anything that you do underneath the vehicle that is going to improve aerodynamics ultimately will improve the fuel efficiency,” Green said.
The company also said the barriers will prevent heat buildup underneath the truck, especially near the emission systems, which can be vulnerable to extremely high temperatures,