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A Step Ahead

With ten strategically located facilities across North America and more than 700 employees, it’s no wonder that Auto Truck Group continues to grow. It is through this growth that the company has amassed a wealth of knowledge that it continues to share with its clients.

Yet it’s what the clients don’t see that demonstrates Auto Truck Group’s true advantages.

According to Bryan Schieler, Auto Truck Group’s director of engineering, “it’s the depth and breadth of Auto Truck’s technical expertise that sets us apart.”

After discussing the client’s needs, Auto Truck engineers use the latest CAD software to create a 3D design tailored to the client’s specific vehicle model.  “We have accumulated an extensive array of  CAD models for trucks we’ve previously upfitted,” Schieler says. “Every time we work with a client, we develop our knowledge.”

This collective pool of information allows Auto Truck’s engineers to suggest design details that can help the client create the ideal upfit for that specific application. This way, the client can see  a 3D rendering of the design prior to building. “The beauty of using software is that we don’t spend any money on product before it’s built,” Schieler claims, “this keeps costs down for our clients.”

Schieler says there are other truck upfitters that use less technical methods to create designs. These companies will start building based on prior knowledge. “They will build something that they think will work and hope it works and integrates properly.” Unfortunately, this approach can add substantive costs to the project.

Auto Truck also performs finite element analysis, which predicts how much stress a part will be under, to establish design criteria. Rather than a “cross our fingers and hope it works,” approach, Auto Truck can ensure that the design will be ideally suited and engineered to its application.

Using these detailed design plans, Auto Truck creates a prototype in house. Additionally, maximum load testing is also performed at its facility to validate and demonstrate the integrity of the design.

With Auto Truck, it’s not just the design. It’s the engineering and technical expertise that goes into creating upfitter designs that help save its clients both time and money.

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By Eric Schoenfeld, 21.08.15

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