modular utility bed

The managing director of Comtruk and Aluminium Industries approached us after he’d purchased a company that manufactured simple trays for utility trucks for trade fleets. He had a vision to develop a new modular utility bed that integrates seamlessly with utilities, styled to create a complete vehicle.

Duration

18 months

Our team worked closely with Comtruk to create the Sports Utility Bed. We designed and engineered the modular transport storage system, and made it adaptable for use as a rugged working vehicle, to carry valuable tools and trade equipment or for use in outdoor leisure to carry and store bikes, camping and sports gear.

We researched the ways people use sports utilities in urban and rural environments. Our designers investigated how and why utilities are used by commercial trades and primary producers, and their recreational use. We assessed existing tray accessories and researched Comtruk target user needs to design in required options.

We developed the colour and styling features. The system seamlessly integrates across all major utility models. Vehicle scans and studies identified required details and dimensions. Vehicle parking sensors and rear cameras are integrated into the tailgate design.

We reduced the usual bulk in the sides of the utility bed with slim aluminium profiles on the sides and tailgate, making the bed more accessible and easier to reach things inside. The volume of the work area is thirty per cent higher than a traditional tub.

We detailed the utility bed to be functional and versatile. All moving parts and components interlock and operate smoothly and adhere to vehicle safety requirements. The corner components provide protection, with smooth styling and integrated handles that are easy to use.

We designed an aluminium extrusion profile that interlocks, creating a floor assembly that’s easy to construct. Recesses in the extrusion integrate with ‘t-slot’ details allowing multiple accessories to be fitted and hold rubber friction strips to prevent sliding of cargo.

A series of functional prototypes were built during development, for visual and functional assessment.  We tested the assembly of the bed, performed various cycle and vibration tests. 

Testing informed the development of all plastic parts – the lighting, number plate housing, corner assemblies including handles, mudguards and fuel filler assemblies.

The components and parts were checked, and we built a pre-production model to refine and check the design.

We tested the bed to assess how it coped with the typical to extreme vibration forces of a moving vehicle, and conducted stress testing and loading tests.

A robust strapping system was integrated with the t-slot system to make loading, load securing and unloading easier, regardless of cargo size or shape.

We developed integrated locking toolboxes, storage drawers under the tray, behind the wheel arches and a movable sports bar and tie down rack.

related work

our experts

Fred Blochlinger

Managing Director

Michael Denham

Design Manager

Sergei Plishka

Senior Project Manager