Icecold Bodies launches new Rhino Range

Icecold Bodies launches new Rhino Range

Icecold Bodies, one of South Africa’s most respected body-and-trailer manufacturers, has lifted the lid on its new Rhino Range of rigid bodies
and trailers.

Based in Heidelberg, Gauteng, Icecold Bodies was established in 1993 by Burt Gildenhuys senior. “My father established the company after demand grew for high-quality insulated truck bodies and trailers for the transportation of frozen, chilled and dry freight products,” explains Burt Gildenhuys junior, who is managing director of the business today.

While it might be tempting to think that success came easily for the company, it was instead the result of incredibly hard work. Icecold Bodies soon garnered acclaim amongst its growing demographic of customers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, where it became renowned for being a one-stop-shop provider of innovative products and value-add services, including trailer and truck production, repair and finishing.

Its factory in Heidelberg – comprising about 8 000m² under roof and about 47 000m² of open yard space – is the hub of the operation. “Our complete assembly process takes place there. Most products are built in jigs to ensure absolute accuracy and durability. We have five production lines, which produce our full range of bodies (all adaptable to customer needs). We produce a comprehensive range of bodies including bakery, chiller, explosive, freezer, hatchery, pharmaceutical and custom bodies – all boasting European quality and SABS approval,” explains Gildenhuys.

The product range is massive and includes carcass carriers (the lightest available) and specialised vehicles. (One that is definitely worth a mention is the mobile abattoir, the first such vehicle in Africa.) Something else that’s noteworthy is the company’s antimicrobial range. “We are proud to announce that we can now offer an innovative surface coating with antimicrobial properties in our range of insulated and non-insulated bodies to help maintaxin the highest standards in hygiene,” Gildenhuys says.

The company has implemented the famous “kaizen” principles at its factory. “We have also incorporated lean and material requirements planning (MRP) initiatives throughout our operations, allowing for just-in-time, cost-effective and quality production and continuous in-line development through line balancing and product optimisation.”

In February 2021, Icecold Bodies opened a repair and service centre in Spartan, Johannesburg (located on the corner of Director and Loper Ave; it was previously occupied by Kempston Leasing). “Even in a very short time, this facility has attracted new clients and paid off handsomely. Our focus is solely on tackling turnaround times for the client. We aim to provide the very best service possible,” says Gildenhuys.

The company has a third operation in Cape Town. “Icecold Bodies Cape Town (previously known as Nonzero Industries) is a manufacturing and repair facility. It is expanding nicely. I’m pleased to say that it felt the burden of the lockdown less than many other companies because its core focus is repairs – and this is a somewhat consistent business area,” he adds.

Icecold Bodies now employs more than 150 people. “They are our greatest assets; they make our business tick. They helped us to pull through 2020, which was a very challenging year for all. I believe the next two years will be critical to our industry and its survival,” Gildenhuys predicts.

One way in which the company will survive – and prosper – is via innovation. Enter the new Rhino Range, which is born from the Rhinotex and fourth-generation polyurethane insulation from AmfiCraft and Rigifoam respectively.

“Rhinotex is an extremely high-impact resistance material that has been developed for the Iso-tanker industry. It is used worldwide due to its strength to weight ratio vs Impact. Rigifoam, on the other hand, has developed the fourth-generation polyurethane insulation. Rigifoam has changed the way it makes polyurethane block foam by automating the process. This produces a better-processed foam that improves the thermal conductivity value of the product. New-generation blowing agents give a superior thermal conductivity value. The density of the foam has been adjusted to give optimum insulation value and strength. The thermal performance of the foam shows a 15% to 20% improvement.

“It has taken the company some time to perfect the product. In fact, it took it over a year to get the perfect balance between insulation value and density to get the best thermal/strength ratio. Tests have also been conducted by GEA (on fuel consumption, pull down tests and thermal imaging for the new Advancer Trailer unit) and by the SABS for K-Value,” explains Gildenhuys.

The company is expecting great things from the new product range. “We aim to acquire a substantial market share with the Rhino Range of bodies and trailers. They’re very easy to repair and maintain. You don’t need to pay for the replacement of side panels (as is the case with the steel counterparts). Accordingly, they are far more cost-effective than their steel counterparts.”

Going forward, Gildenhuys says that the business is not without its challenges. “With truck chassis availability remaining a huge concern for the industry and the steel shortages, I believe that 2021 is still a year of surprises. Also, we need to be mindful of skyrocketing material prices. This will take its toll on the industry and will also place huge strain on prices,” he warns.

But, with products such as the Rhino Range, world-class manufacturing techniques (such as those employed in Heidelberg) and the skilled and competent workforce, one gets the feeling that the sky is the limit for Icecold Bodies.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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