Van rack loading
We are often asked what the loading is for our racks. We are almost never asked what the loading is for the vans which will be supporting the racks.
A couple of years ago we redeveloped the top and bottom brackets for our van frails to suit the increasing sizes and weights of glass being loaded onto van frails. The new brackets are galvanised steel, designed with gussets for added strength. These brackets are a world first and make our van frails stronger than any others we've seen worldwide.
For our standard van frail offering of a 5 pole 2.9M long van frail, 2.2M tall with four roof rack bars, the van frail is rated to hold 1000kg of glass load. This has been certified by an independent engineer, and is a requirement for installation on COF vans. However, we know that putting 1000kg on the single side of the vans that this sized frail would typically be installed on (Toyota Hi-Ace, Mitsubishi L300, Nissan Urvan, etc) would affect the handling of the van and may overload it. For that reason we rate our van frails for 500kg of payload.
The following is the manufacturers specifications for van loading for their current models :
Toyota Hi-Ace ZL – Payload 930kg
Mitsubishi L300 LWB – Payload 1105kg
Nissan Urvan – Payload 1220kg
So, with a single side van frail installed (120kg), a ladder (5kg), a bucket of putty (20kg), general tools (20kg), an assortment of broken glass items (20kg), fuel (50kg), a glazier (80kg), and an allowance for another 20kg of "stuff" we have already loaded the van with 335kg. Add a passenger side frail to the van (100kg), another glazier (80kg), and a load of glass and the payload maximums are very quickly reached. No wonder the vans wear out!
Overtime we have seen the impacts that van frails and glass load has on vans. The most obvious is the wearing of the suspension on the side (usually drivers side) of the van due to the weight loading. For this reason most glass companies turnover their vans every few years. The day to day activities of a glazier or glass company are hard on the vehicle – it's the nature of the industry and product.
The second is that when loaded with glass the van frail is very heavy and under pressure. Few of our frails have failed just due to load. The more common failure is that when the frail is under load, if there is an impact or collision, then the frail and the van gutters are more likely to get damaged. The gutters can be fixed by a panelbeater, and the van frails are all monobolted together allowing for the simple and cost effective replacement of parts. Although this is an inconvenience, the primary cause was the collision.
Vans were never designed for the transportation of large heavy sheets of glass. They serve the industry well, but do have their compromises. We believe that we have the design of our frails right. The use of aluminium for weight reduction. The use of steel gusseted top and bottom brackets for added load carrying. The use of monobolts for construction to allow flexing and ease of part replacement.
This all leads to some basic advise - never buy a second hand glass van!