Designing Truck Cabs For Function & Comfort

Posted by Polymer Technologies on 4/27/15 7:00 AM

Driving a truck has never been viewed as an easy, as it involves long hours, unconventional sleep patterns, and lengthy periods of time on the road and away from home. However, not only is it a stable, well-paying, blue-collar career, but it’s necessary for businesses and the economy to operate as they do. While the primary function of these trucks is to transport cargo from point A to point B, the comfort of drivers should always be kept in mind when designing and manufacturing truck cabins.

Making a truck cabin as comfortable and funcational as possibleBy law, drivers are restricted to driving in 11 hour stretches, and limited to a total of 14 hours on-duty. The extra 3 hours is often filled with paper work, loading, and unloading of goods or materials. Driving for 11 hours straight is no easy task, as it can be both mentally and physically grueling. It can also be painful if the long stretches of time are spent sitting in an uncomfortable and cramped cabin.

In recent years studies have shown there is a severe shortage of drivers, approximately 30,000 according to The American Trucking Associations (ATA), partially in part to the health factors associated with the job. The health and wellness of drivers should always be taken into account when designing and manufacturing truck cabs. With the constant braking, shifting, and vibration of the truck, back problems are a major concern and issue for drivers both new and experienced. Incorporating an ergonomic seat with lumbar support can go a long way with drivers and their interest in a truck.

After this on-duty time, drivers are then required to take a 10 hour period off-duty, which usually amounts to eating and sleeping. Having an adequate sleeping space and living area is a big selling point for truck drivers, as they’re going to be calling it home for long periods of time.

While it doesn’t play a role in the performance or ability to efficiently haul a load to a destination, having an attractive interior cabin with practical features and conveniences of home helps to provide drivers with an easier experience of life on the road.

They may seem like small things, but incorporating practical storage can make a world of difference in providing convenience to drivers. They most likely have multiple changes of clothes, toiletries, food, and things like laptops and books for off-duty entertainment. Providing a place for drivers to neatly store and easily access these items is a convenient feature that any driver will appreciate.

The interior of a truck cab is subject to discomforting noise, vibration, and temperature, all mainly from the engine compartment. To combat this, quality insulation should be used to dilute noise, vibration, and temperature. While it’s important to choose a material that functions well in that capacity, aesthetics and durability should also be taken into consideration. Don’t cut corners to save costs, as some options may work well off the manufacturing floor, but are prone to breaking down over time in the form of warping. This can create a deformed look inside the cab, which severely decreases the appearance and comfort of the cab overall. Investing in quality truck insulation materials from the start can save money in the long-run, and keep the truck drivers happy.

Trucks are made to haul loads cross-county, in rain, sleet, or snow, and should be designed to handle anything they come across. With that, designers and manufacturers should be mindful of the human element involved in those trips and produce trucks that cater to their needs on the road as well. 

See how Polymer helped  a truck manufacturer  improve cab insulation.  Read the case study:  Customized Truck Cab Insulation

Topics: heavy trucking, tractor trailer, truck cab, semi-truck