AL-KO (or more correctly, its parent company DexKO Global) has been on a caravan chassis spending spree the last eight months, having snapped up G&S Chassis in June last year and Preston Chassis earlier this month, so that it now somewhat dominates the Australian chassis manufacturing scene. On top of all that, the Melbourne-based parts-supplier has just unveiled its own light-weight chassis – one it says will revolutionise the way caravans are built in Australia.
AL-KO Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Peter Mannfolk says the chassis been developed in response to caravans getting heavier when they really should be getting lighter: “Currently, there is an issue with Australian caravans – they’re becoming too heavy. Not only are caravans getting bigger, they’re also being filled with more extras such as generators, solar panels and toolboxes, pushing legal limits & tow vehicle capacities. It also reduces the caravan’s payload allowance. There has been an overwhelming call from caravan manufacturers for a lightweight chassis that is still strong and durable and specifically designed for the tough for Australian conditions, and AL-KO has delivered.”
AL-KO says the chassis, called the LightR, has been in development for two years, including extensive testing at the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Anglesea and has been designed to incorporate AL-KO’s range of independent suspension systems.
In a statement AL-KO has also hinted that the chassis encourages manufacturers to look are more modern manufacturing techniques, to further reduce weight. “Apart from the opportunity to transition to a lighter weight, engineered chassis, the LightR concept also supports the opportunity to move away from traditional methods of caravan construction such as timber frames and aluminium cladding, and make the leap to the future towards more modern construction methods that save significant weight – such as bonding and monocoque construction with composite panels.”
Mannfolk also said, “The really significant weight saving is achieved when caravan manufacturers utilise the chassis as a foundation to optimise their construction methods” said Mannfolk. “This is an exciting time for AL-KO and we will continue with further developments that assist to move our industry forward.”
Interestingly, AL-KO has said that it’ll help caravan manufacturers actually test new models before they hit the market, which ROAM understands is not a common practice in the caravan industry, as many builders rely on customer feedback to product test new models, rather than doing it themselves. We’re waiting on more detail about how this will function.
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