Providing a better solution
Not satisfied with only selling bedliners to the ute market, PRO-FORM went to the drawing board and noticed an opportunity to re-think the popular fiberglass lid, with a ABS plastic lid. Similar to the canopy, ABS plastic promised to show many benefits over fiberglass including lightweight, recyclable, easier painting and a smoother finish.
PRO-FORM's R&D have now independently designed, tooled, manufactured and supplied over 25 Sportlid models in this range for popular pickups like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Holden Colorado.
Moulding plastic into beautiful products
To re-shape the tonneau cover market with the Sportlid, first PRO-FORM had to reshape the plastic. This is done through the following processes:
- Plastic Extrusion - PRO-FORM first extrudes all the ABS plastic into a sheet form with a co-extrusion of two colours. ABS plastic has excellent knock resistance qualities, making it highly durable and hard to damage/crack/break.
- Vacuum Forming - The lid can now take its shape by vacuum forming the top and bottom parts separately.
- Automation - the lid is cut to shape using a robot to trim the edges and features such as lock barrel hole.
- Assembly - Although the Sportlid’s main material is ABS plastic, the lid has bolt-on finishing touches to give it the excellent functionality from which you would expect for an OEM product. The lid is mounted with steel hinges and a clamp on bracket. It is opened using a lockable push button which connects to dual side slam latches and is equipped with Stabilus gas struts to keep it wide open. The Sportlid II features side pods for mounting a stainless steel SportBar to add extra style. The ABS plastic works great with steel fittings and has plenty of strength to hold large steel fixtures like the SportBar.
It's time to use what's left to start over
As the majority of materials used in the canopy comes from non-renewable materials it is important for PRO-FORM that the product can be fully recyclable at its end of life. This ABS canopy shell can be recycled using the recycle code #9. PRO-FORM also practices lean manufacturing during its canopy manufacturing, in which 99% of waste during canopy production gets re-extruded back into our plastic extrusion lines to make more products.
PRO-FORM applies the idea of re-cycling not only to their physical products but also to innovation. This means taking the finished design and feeding it back into the re-think process to continuously improve on what has already been done. By using this process, PRO-FORM has now launched SportLid for Tango, the new generation of SportLid's.
This SportLid is an OEM approved product for brands including Ford Global, Holden Australia, Toyota New Zealand etc. It has gained considerable recognition around the globe and boasts sales to around 30 countries.
By using ABS instead of fiberglass the SportLid was able to gain the extra benefits:
- Paint ready surface
- Higher volume output with less labour