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Modern accessories for modern vans

13/10/2021 09:07:08
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The design philosophy of commercial vehicles has changed. Sharper aesthetics, improved aerodynamics and electrified powertrains illustrate that vans are following the trends of cars. The challenge for manufacturers of aftermarket accessories is to keep pace with these rapid developments, providing suitable roof racks, bars, pipe tubes and ladders for this new generation of vans.

Rhino Products, Europe’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicle accessories, examines how the new design language of modern vans can be supported by well-designed accessories.

It’s no secret that the entire automotive industry is moving to electrified powertrains. Maximising fuel economy and battery range to meet new efficiency standards is more important than ever before. Choosing the right van accessory can help to preserve these efficiency advantages for van users and fleets while ensuring that they also are equipped to handle any job.

Improving aerodynamics

Reducing wind resistance is key to maximising vehicle efficiency. Even if a van is designed to be streamlined, bulky accessories can increase drag, lowering fuel economy and range. Manufacturers of aftermarket accessories can combat this by ensuring that designs offer improved aerodynamics.

For example, roof bars can be formed in a highly aerodynamically efficient teardrop shape, the Kamm-tail, which is synonymous with Formula 1 racing cars. This design ensures that the bars cut through the air efficiently, reducing drag and air turbulence. This is a feature incorporated into the design of Rhino’s KammBar, one of Europe’s most popular roof bars.

Roof racks can also be streamlined to enhance aerodynamic efficiency. The use of nose cones at the front of the rack can greatly reduce wind resistance, helping to preserve vehicle efficiency. This delivers a sleek and functional design as found in Rhino’s AluminiumRack.

Reducing weight

An alternative way to improve vehicle efficiency is to reduce weight. A heavier vehicle requires more power to move, so lightweight designs can contribute to improved range and fuel economy. Manufacturers must optimise designs to add lightness while preserving strength.

A proven approach is to choose lightweight materials that deliver similar strength in application. Using aluminium instead of steel for ladders installed on the rear of vans, for example, can deliver sizable weight savings. Rhino recently achieved this with its AluminiumLadder, reducing its overall weight by up to 50% (excluding the fitting kit) compared to the previous steel design.

Looking good

Beyond the powertrain, vans are also beginning to follow passenger cars in terms of looks. Boxy designs have been relegated to the past, with sharp lines and smooth shapes becoming the norm. To preserve this aesthetic, manufacturers of aftermarket accessories are focusing on developing products that combine durability and functionality with good looks. This ensures that any van with such an accessory looks new and modern.

Lengthy materials such as pipe and plastic conduit can be unsightly when secured to the top of a van. However, by enclosing these materials within a long roof mounted container, van users and fleets can transport these items without compromising the professional appearance of modern commercial vehicles. Rhino’s PipeTube Pro is a good example, featuring a full-length PVC lining, an upgraded integral locking system and an added rubber seal.

Streamlined roof racks such as the AluminiumRack can also offer improved aesthetics. By selecting a sleek roof rack design, the modern design of a van can be nicely complemented.

Continual development

As commercial vehicle manufacturers continually improve van designs, manufacturers of aftermarket accessories such as Rhino Products keep pace by optimising products – improving aerodynamics, reducing weight, enhancing aesthetics and adding strength. At Rhino, a dedicated team of design engineers utilises the latest modelling software and rigorous physical testing to deliver van accessories that keep pace with the rapid design developments of the latest van models.

Image caption:

Image 1: Streamlined, modern accessories can complement the design aesthetic of new vans.

Image 2: Rhino Products delivers van accessories that keep pace with the latest van models.

Image 3: Roof bars such as the KammBar can be formed in a highly aerodynamically efficient teardrop shape.

Image 4: Rhino’s PipeTube Pro allows lengthy materials to be transported without compromising the professional appearance of modern commercial vehicles.

About Rhino Products

Rhino Products are Europe’s leading manufacturers of commercial vehicle accessories, supplying van roof bars, racks, rear steps and ladder handling accessories to both trades people and some of the biggest named fleets around the world.

Headquartered in the UK, the Rhino brand has grown from humble beginnings less than 20 years ago, to an international group of companies with two UK factories and three further sites in the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland. The group also includes the AVS Steps Ltd brand, a leading manufacturer of ambulance and passenger vehicle side steps.

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Editor Contact

DMA Europa Ltd. : Jennifer Mesa Canales
Tel: +44 (0)1562 751436 Fax: +44 (0)1562 748315

Company Contact

Rhino Products Ltd. : Jonathan Ferris
Tel: +44 (0) 151 319 2931 Fax:

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