Glasspol Fronts for Milk Floats
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MEARLY 100 Wales and Edwards electric trucks operated by United Dairies, Ltd., have been equipped with single-piece front cowls made of glasspol material (polyester resin reinforced with glass fibre chopped-strand mat). Mickleover Transport, Ltd., Whitby Avenue, London, N.W.10, who have made and installed the cowls, are to fit them to a large number of the United Dairies electric delivery vehicles.
In addition to the usual attributes of glasspol when used for commercial vehicles, •several further advantages have been obtained by employing this material. The single cowl replaces two panel-beaten parts and a fabric screen, thereby making access to the control board and tiller gear simple.
When servicing is necessary, the complete cowl is raised and held on a hook suspended from the overhang of the cab roof. In the operating position it is secured by two spring-loaded hooks and two knurled screws.
To cater for dimensional tolerances, a hinge of laminated rubber and fabric is used to suspend the cowl from the lower edge of the windscreen. This also permits weaving of the body without straining any components.
Side lights have previously been carried on the front bulkhead of the body, but they are now placed in recesses moulded in the cowl. They arc flush with the sides and are well protected from possible damage. In existing units, P.V.C.-covered wires are clipped to the glasspol, but in future they may be moulded into the resin. The cowl can be raised without disconnecting the wires, as twin contact
terminal blocks break the circuit near the hinge when the cowl is raised.
The original mould was panel-beaten in aluminium sheet, and two glasspol moulds have now been made from a master cowl which is kept as a standard.
An acetate parting agent is first brushed on to the mould and a gel coat of resin, about 1/32 in. thick, is then added. This layer contains enough pigment to give the finished panel the normal United Dairies azo orange livery without painting.
It takes about 10 minutes to set and the panel is then built-up to its full thickness of approximately f, in. with less intensely coloured resin and 2-oz.chopped-strand mat. The gel coat ensures that no glass fibres are visible on the surface of the moulding as these create an uneven colour.
The cowl is moulded in two parts, which are joined by fillets of resin and chopped-strand mat. When the front dome has been moulded, jigs support the previously moulded stiffening web in position while the fillet is moulded in the corners. The web locates the complete cowl on the vehicle and forms a useful shelf in the cab. drove it to Thorpe Green, Surrey, for hill-climbing tests. On the way, Tite Hill at Egham, which has a 1 in 15 gradient, was easily climbed in third gear. At Thorpe Green I took the van on to a rough track at the start of which was a notice reading, Unfit for vehicles."
Ample power was available to make a good start on its 1 in 5_ gradient while carrying a full load and a passenger. I then tried to drive the van up a bank of about 1 in 24. In second gear the engine stalled, and in " first " I was foiled by wheel spin due to the loose surface. These tests, however, convinced me that the A30 had ample power for any hill-climbing task likely to be met in normal service.
I next drove to a point on the outskirts of London for braking and acceleration tests. Excellent stopping distances were obtained on a dry, concrete service road. From 20 m.p.h., an average distance of 154 ft. was required to stop, and from 30 m.p.h. a distance of 30 ft. was all that was required to bring the vehicle to rest. I was (Left) Despite the additional 11-stone load of the photographer, who got into the van after taking this picture, a good start was made in second gear on this 1-in-5 gradient.