A truck bed that is welded together from aluminum tubing is a new phenomenon in the automotive industry.
Truck bed welders from Alameda, California, began using the welding process in 2014, according to Alameda Fire Department spokesperson Scott Smith.
“We’re really starting to see this in the truck market,” Smith said.
The Alameda fire department has been able to put a truck bed on the market, Smith said, thanks to a partnership with Alameda County.
A truck bed is a vehicle frame that is bolted to a body frame or truck bed, but it also includes aluminum tubing and aluminum tubing assemblies.
It’s a type of truck bed weld that requires the use of a special process called aluminum welding.
Aluminum tubing, which is made up of aluminum alloy, can be welded to a truck frame to create a welded-together piece of vehicle body.
To weld the aluminum tubing to the truck frame, the welding press uses an aluminum iodide catalyst to ignite a chemical reaction.
In Alameda’s case, the catalyst is magnesium sulfate.
The aluminum sulfate reacts with magnesium aluminum chloride to create an aluminum sulfide catalyst.
The aluminum sulfides can then be heated to the molten state, creating a molten aluminum oxide, which reacts with the magnesium sulfide to create aluminum oxide.
The result is a weld that creates a weldable vehicle frame.
The process is similar to the way aluminum alloy welds are used in welding aluminum sheet metal, Smith explained.
The Alameda truck bed process is more difficult, but Smith said it’s worth it because it requires fewer resources.
“You’re still welding aluminum tubing,” Smith told CNN.
“But it’s easier, so you’re able to get the same product.”
Aluminum welding is not as expensive as aluminum sheet welding.
Alameda Police Chief Michael Fassbender told CNN that the Alameda police department has already sold 1,000 aluminum truck beds to a customer.
For Alameda firefighters, the truck bed welding process allows them to provide fire protection to their crews.
“This is the first time we’ve had to weld aluminum tubing into the truck,” Alameda Battalion Chief Jeff Wigley said.
“This is going to be a great addition to our crew.”
Wigley added that he’s been impressed with the Alamo fire department’s welding process.
“It’s been a really easy process,” he said.
“They are able to make it from a lot of different materials that we are not going to have any issue with.”