Flatbed or platform trucks are like a blank canvas, providing a strong, versatile base to suit the needs of a wide variety of service industries. They are an important addition to any truck fleet, especially for those that frequently haul bulk materials. Though flatbed or platform truck bodies may seem simple, there is definitely more to them than meets the eye. This article will help you understand and explore your basic flatbed platform body options as well as the many opportunities for truck customization.
Introduction to Steel Flatbed Platform Bodies
The first and most obvious consideration when it comes to flatbed platform truck bodies is deciding how long and wide the flatbed or platform needs to be. To make this decision, you will need to calculate the weight and volume of the material(s) you will be hauling. Platform bodies are typically labeled by “class”, ranging from class 2 to class 8, and are often grouped into light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty categories. The understructure is important to consider in addition to the length and width of the flatbed body, as heavier loads will require a more sturdy or robust understructure for support.
Another key consideration is what type of tie-downs you’ll need to secure whatever it is you are hauling. Flatbed platform bodies will typically have D-ring tie-downs, underbody tie-downs, rope hooks, or a combination of all three.
A Steel Flatbed Vs. Aluminum Flatbed
When it comes to choosing a flatbed platform body, you also need to determine which material is best for you truck: steel or aluminum. Both have their pros and cons, but there are several key factors to consider when comparing the two options:
- Durability: Steel is approximately four times stronger than the strongest aluminum available. This makes steel more heavy-duty and less subject to warping, scratching or denting over time. On the flip side, steel is more subject to rust and corrosion. However, many manufacturers can add protective coating to steel to avoid this problem.
- Weight: Steel is a more dense, heavier element than aluminum. Aluminum flatbed bodies often weigh about half as much as steel ones. This is one of the primary reasons why aluminum flatbed platform bodies are gaining popularity.
- Recyclability: Both aluminum and steel can be recycled, however aluminum requires more advanced processing, while steel is the most recycled material in the world.
- Price: By the pound, aluminum is more expensive than steel. You can generally expect to pay more for aluminum flatbed bodies than for steel ones.
More Truck Bed and Platform Customization
Though flatbeds platform bodies may seem simple, there are plenty of options for customization to consider that can help improve the efficiency and versatility of your business. Some popular options include:
- Stake racks, punched sides or solid sides to secure more loose material.
- Bulkheads for driver and passenger safety.
- Underbody, back pack, or contractor storage boxes for secure storage of tools and equipment.
- Removable ladder back if you will be carrying long items on top of your flatbed.
- Strap winches to improve tie-down efficiency.
- Technology like cameras and backup sensors.
- Plenty more options exist for industry-specific customization!
Steel Flatbed Trucks for your Business
If you are looking to purchase, upfit, or customize a flatbed platform truck, it’s best to consult with a professional to more thoroughly explore the options outlined above and more. Our Pacific Truck Colors Custom Truck Equipment Sales and Installation Department is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest, and we have extensive experience tailoring flatbed platform trucks to meet the needs of many industries. Request a free quote today to get started!