Thomas Built Buses is offering Saf-T-Liner C2 customers a solution to age-old corrosion issues with the release of the manufacturer's FleetShield performance coating product that is similar to the rugged material found in pick-up truck bed liners.
The corrosion-protection products were on display during last month's NAPT Summit trade show in Memphis, Tenn.
As previously reported, the High Point, N.C.-based OEM began implementing corrosion protection options in its flagship conventional school bus model in response to customer and dealer feedback during meetings and focus-groups. Weather patterns in northern climates can make school bus corrosion an especially vexing problem as maintenance and repair costs to treat rust and wear can quickly mount. Three specific FleetShield products addresses road salts and daily body abrasions from road salts and other de-icing chemicals, rocks, pebbles, tree branches and the like.
"Every time we do a focus group, the major topic is corrosion," Ed Swaim, Thomas' C2 product manager, told School Transportation News over the summer. "It's even worse now because of the chemicals used on roads, especially magnesium chloride (road salt)."
FleetShield TuffCoat is a durable, high-performance coating for bumpers, luggage boxes and stepwells that the manufacturer said provides a flexible, textured surface to reduce abrasions as well as bus noise and vibration. FleetShield EdgeCover is a clear, protective coating applied on top of standard paint. Also used in the luxury automobile industry, the durable, self-healing formula guards against corrosion and weather damage. Then there is FleetShield UnderGuard, high-performance undercoating to protect the underside of the body from impact and corrosion.
"These anti-corrosion products reflect our continuing focus on helping customers reduce the total cost of ownership of our buses," said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas. "We are committed to helping our customers stretch their budget dollars while transporting children to school in the safest and most environmentally-friendly manner. We recognize the need for our customers to be good stewards of their resources throughout the life of our buses, and that extends beyond the initial purchase price. Improving fuel economy, reducing maintenance intervals, increasing the durability of parts and lessening the cost of replacement parts are all part of the purchase decision."
Thomas added that company employee teams visited customers to see the reported problems firsthand, and to help develop the solutions.
Read more in the August 2012 edition of School Transportation News magazine.