Tradespeople, service engineers and transport workers need a form of protection for vehicles that will minimise damage and corrosion from their everyday activities.

Tradespeople, service engineers and transport workers need a form of protection for vehicles that will minimise damage and corrosion from their everyday activities.

By using surface protection, the service life of a vehicle can be extended, in addition to reducing servicing and repair costs.

In addition to the work environment, variable climates—from maritime coasts through freezing alpine highlands to sulphurous steam in active tectonic sites—can also be damaging to any truck, ute or car.

Rhino Linings Australasia’s (RLA) Tuff Stuff is a premium spray-applied lining product that has a thick, textured surface that provides enhanced slip resistance for cargo and maximum protection against corrosion, scratches and dents. The lining forms a permanent air and water-tight bond that prohibits rust, corrosion and surface abrasion. The non-porous lining is easy to clean and the non-abrasive surface texture helps keep cargo in place.

John Papas, regional sales director at RLA, says that selecting the correct product is important which is why all RLA dealers and applicators receive the same comprehensive and intensive training. After initial training they then have access to a network of experienced and knowledgeable staff.

“We have technically experienced staff in Australia, but we can also call on the expertise of our overseas counterparts, particularly in the US, for specialist advice,” he says. This depth of knowledge and experience for which products can be used and in what situations is just a phone call or email away for applicators. “The beauty of the digital age is that we can provide customers anywhere in the region with videos and photographs of best practices done by people anywhere in the world.”

Most other companies just provide the material and a datasheet and that is all. “RLA can give that human factor,” Mr Papas adds.

According to Peter Morgan, general manager of RLA, the structure of the polymer used for ute linings has to be resistant to abrasion and chemical attack. The material’s strength comes from the bonding and cross-linking of the resin and hardener. “When considering a coating you have to think about the physical characteristics of what might be stored in a ute; tools and equipment are often heavy, with sharp edges,” Mr Morgan says. “You also have to consider the physical environment where a vehicle might be used.”

RLA’s Tuff Stuff is warranted not to crack, warp or peel even under extreme temperatures. It is used extensively to protect vehicles such as utes, trucks, 4WDs, prime movers, trailers, boats and horse floats, in addition to military vehicles, flooring, buildings and industrial equipment. RLA’s polymer coatings are also flexible which allows them to stretch and shrink as substrates expand and contract due to temperature and surface fluctuations.

All the company’s dealers and applicators—including those in New Zealand—have access to the same product range. “We manufacture all products on the Gold Coast and ship to dealers and applicators throughout the region,” says Mr Papas.

“While there are some areas with potentially slightly more corrosive environments,” says Mr Papas, “we only occasionally have to include any special additives.” Even if tradespeople are carrying acids, fuels or solvents, RLA has a suitable surface coating. “In extreme cases, Rhino Chem 21-70 can be used in vehicles, tanks and bunds where concentrated sulphuric acid is stored,” says Mr Papas. “Once fully cured it is virtually impenetrable to most chemicals.”

The rapid setting of the company’s polymers means they can be applied up to two or three times thicker than other liners providing more protection, more sound deadening, more slip resistance and more vibration absorption than any other ute liner on the market.

However, Mr Morgan explains that his company’s products were not just used for ute trays or even horse trailers. “Adding Rhino Linings to the options available to a panel beater or repair shop can extend the range of services that they can offer.”

Automotive paint and repair shops already use similar techniques and procedures that would result in a good application of the spray-applied polymer. Similar to the work carried out by a spray painter, the area to be covered has to be masked off. The tape used has an embedded fibre tear strip that is used to create a clean edge to the sprayed material.

The non-porous lining is easy to clean and the non-abrasive surface texture helps keep cargo in place whilst providing insulation against road vibration and noise, unlike the drop-in plastic liners of its competitors.

A major consideration in applying any surface treatment to a structure is the requirement to minimise downtime. “The beauty of our coatings is that they are rapid setting,” says Mr Papas. “We can spray them on and they gel in less than a minute depending on the actual polymer used.”

RLA assists its dealers in developing best method procedures and practices for chemical handling and machinery used to apply the company’s products. The company is committed to the development of new technologies, products, and services that offer the best solutions to the needs of customers, applicators and distributors.