Thread: Aluminum Bodies

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    Default Aluminum Bodies

    Im looking for some info about the differences (significant) between formed and extruded aluminum bodies.

    Strength, crashworthiness, corrosion resistance etc.

    What manufacturers offer which types of aluminum bodies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610
    Im looking for some info about the differences (significant) between formed and extruded aluminum bodies.

    Strength, crashworthiness, corrosion resistance etc.

    What manufacturers offer which types of aluminum bodies.
    E-One Fire Apparatus offers a strong 3/16" extruded body on there apparatus!...

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    Virtually every builder constructing an aluminum body will use some sort of extrusions in the construction, however - a true extruded aluminum body will have extrusions also forming parts of the compartment walls, etc.

    The only three builders that I'm aware of that make a truly extruded aluminum body would be E-One, Ferrara and Rosenbauer's General division. There are some pretty substantial differences between how these bodies are built, so don't lump one extruded aluminum body with another. Research each, see how they're built and find out what you like or don't like about each body. If you can't get a sales rep out to you to show you how their body is built, do you really want to have them bid your rig anyway?

    Formed aluminum is essentially everyone else in the business building aluminum bodies. Again, I'm sure every builder has their way of doing things, but for the most part the bodies are built in a similar fashion. Some formed body manufacturers tout the fact that they only build their formed bodies out of 3/16" material as opposed to 1/8", but you have to look at the structure under the 1/8" body to see if its stronger than what the 3/16" folks are using to account for the different materials. Most builders using 1/8" will upgrade to 3/16" if the customer desires for an upcharge. Lots of 1/8" aluminum bodies are running around busy departments and holding together fine.

    Obviously, I have my preferences, but I sell rigs so I won't get into it here (not to mention the fact that I can sell both types). My department has run formed aluminum bodies since 1991, and they held up well. We've wrecked at least two in a substantial way, repairs were done, insurance paid for it, etc. I'm not an engineer so I can't even begin to tell you that an extruded body would have fared better or worse than a formed body for the circumstances of the wreck. Our latest two units are extruded aluminum construction, for lots of reasons that our apparatus committee thought were valid. I think it would be safe to say that the extruded bodies we bought are substantially beefier than anyone's formed body, but I'm not familar enough with everyone's extruded bodies to make that a blanket statement about all extruded bodies.

    In my opinion, determining how you buy or build your body based on how it will survive a wreck and ease of repair should be much lower on your list of concerns than the strength of the particular construction, warranty, advantages of one over the other when it comes to layout, expense, etc. If you're worried about crash safety, I would be concentrating much more about what cab/chassis you chose to buy. Heck, just switching to roll-up doors would have eliminated one of the wrecks we had, which did a substantial amount of damage to the body because someone left a compartment door open.

    I'm trying my best not to push one over the other - I just think you need to look yourself at all the options and make your own informed decision based upon number of runs, where the rig will be running, how long you'll keep it, etc. Find existing customers of each type and ask them about their likes and dislikes.
    Last edited by npfd801; 08-13-2006 at 01:50 PM.

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