What makes the SMART construction system strong?
Hello and welcome to the first in a series of films looking at ‘What makes the SMART construction system, smart?' Today we are focusing on what makes SMART, Strong?
I am Blair Jacobs, I’m here at Swift HQ with the Design Director of the Swift Group Chris Milburn.
And at the risk of asking a fairly obvious question, why is strength so important in a caravan?
Well by its very nature a touring caravan will spend a lot of its time on the road so it’s important that the body shell will withstand all the rigours of being towed i.e. pot holes in the road, sleeping policemen, that sort of thing. So it is important that the strength is maintained in that environment and of course when you get to campsite and the vehicle now becomes static it’s important that it withstands all of the elements that are in that particular environment for example the rain and the wind but obviously or fortunately you would expect to see a lot of sunshine.
How do you make a strong caravan then?
Well a caravan is strong mainly because of the composite panels that make up the floor, the roof and the sides. And also it is extremely important to make sure the fixing of all those components together is robust.
How is a panel made?
Well I have a demonstration to show you so would you like to come and have a look.
Well Blair, the process starts with the interior décor panels, so we lay those out and then we apply a PU adhesive across the top of that. Now on to that we then lay the PURe which creates a structural frame around the outside on the caravan shape. Now this frame is very important as this is the part we use to screw into that will connect the floor to the sides and the sides to the roof. Now that is a process we have been using for many years, so it is the same process as we use for timber but we have now replaced the timber with PURe.
We then take polystyrene for its insulative properties and we then insert that into the side of the caravan in the shape of the van. We then take some extra pieces of PURe and we put those into strategic places, particularly where you have got a door or windows, areas where we need a little extra strength. So we insert into there batons or in some cases shaped components and they fit in nicely into the CNC (computer numerically controlled) cut polystyrene, and they are areas that will then be screwed into to make the fixings for those particular closures.
The other thing we do then is we then coat the whole lot with another layer of adhesive and we take the outer skin, a sheet of aluminium, and we then laminate all of that onto the panel.
Now each one of those components has its own inherent strength, however as a collective within a composite panel it creates an incredibly strong panel.
You have mention a few times that you use PURe in the construction process what difference does this make to the strength of the build?
Well timber is phenomenally strong in itself, we’ve been using timber in the construction of caravans for many years and it has stood us in good stead but it does have its weaknesses.
We set out to achieve a product that was not necessarily stronger but better and PURe does have some significant benefits especially in the fact that it is phenomenally strong itself but it is also lighter than timber and it is also impervious to water.
Well Chris thank you for the demonstration, it is good to see you thank you for your time.
Now of course strong is the first letter of SMART construction process. To find out more about Modern, Aerodynamic, Resilient and Tested by all means go to the website swiftgroup.co.uk or on our tv channel swifttv.co.uk