Home delivery truck body from Johnson facilitates growing niche

The new refrigerated home retail dairy delivery truck from Johnson Truck Bodies sets new standards for protection of fresh and frozen product. It was designed specifically to meet the dairy industry’s need for longevity, durability and driver safety.
In response to an upward trend in retail home delivery of milk and dairy products, Johnson Truck Bodies, Rice Lake, Wis., has designed, developed and introduced an all-new refrigerated retail dairy delivery vehicle.

"Our new truck, features an aerodynamic design with lines reminiscent of the nostalgic DIVCO snub-nose retailer that did the milk delivery grunt work in the 1940's and 50's," notes Greg LaFrance, director, sales and marketing. "Nostalgia aside, our new refrigerated home retailer for dairy products has been designed for maximum product protection with the flexibility to carry both fresh and frozen product with precise temperature control. In addition the overall design provides for maximum driver comfort and safety when making 100 to 200 daily stops.

"Home delivery was once a leading channel for milk sales, but it had eroded in the past 40 years until it represented just a couple of market percentage points. But with new marketing approaches and delivery techniques, home retail delivery is again a growing opportunity for the dairy industry.

"We started development of our new truck when the last remaining manufacturer of retailers announced back in August 2002 that it was closing their plant. Customers started calling to request our re-entry into the market as they remembered the high-quality product we built for them in the early 1970s."

Refrigerated body interior details

The interior is finished in a bright, seamless, sanitary white FDA approved for food contact ArcticTherm™ waterproof and chemically resistant fiberglass liner that is easy to power wash and clean. There are no rivets to rust, or seams that can trap mold and mildew. Floor construction utilizes 4-in. cross sills encapsulated in urethane foam for protection against the weather and elements, and to minimize heat transfer from road and engine heat. The finished floor can be non-slip textured fiberglass, or diamond plate aluminum. Strong, seamless tubular framing and engineered steel sidewall uprights are positioned to the inside liner with 4-in. thick void-free foamed-in-place insulation providing a thermal break design. The roof has tubular steel support bows with 5-in. void-free foamed-in-place urethane insulation.

Home retail delivery design features include:

  • Separate, dual temperature systems for frozen (rechargeable cold plate for -20°F) and fresh product (Thermo-King mechanical blower for 35°F). A single cold plate charge is sufficient to maintain correct temperature for sixteen-hour delivery routes.
  • Shelving and cargo containment options.
  • Increased cube and cargo capacity to carry sufficient product for extended or double runs.

Refrigerated body exterior details

The Johnson refrigerated home retail milk body features a seamless molded fiberglass, ultra-smooth exterior construction. There are no rivets or screws, and the material is impervious to moisture, which can damage insulation. The gel coat protected fiberglass exterior will not rust or corrode, is puncture and tear resistant, and can easily be repaired to like-new condition at relatively low cost. Separate outside doors provide curbside access to the frozen section. Available options include lift gates, side steps, walk-up bumpers, backup cameras and various lighting packages for safety and security.

In addition to the easy exit/entry one-piece stainless steel hinged stand-up curbside cab door, and a comfortable flip forward seat, the driver is provided maximum visibility with a tapered and sloped cab front and large, two-piece flat windshield. Stand-up access to the refrigerated truck body from the cab is through a large, insulated, easy slide bulkhead door.

The standard refrigerated body is 13-ft. 6-in. long, 92-in wide. Overall bumper-to-bumper truck length is 24-ft.with a 175-in. wheelbase. Refrigerated home retail delivery truck bodies can be custom engineered to fit specific dairy customer requirements.

Product protection

"The most significant threat to maintaining product integrity in a home delivery retailer," says LaFrance, "is temperature abuse from road and engine heat as well as extended or double route delivery schedules. To ensure delivery of high quality, fresh dairy products we have designed and insulated our truck bodies to maintain temperature integrity over a long delivery day. In testing our new refrigerated home retail dairy delivery truck, we are confident we have eliminated all potential hot spots."

"The seamless body interior," LaFrance points out, "has been designed for easy inspection, power wash cleaning, and disinfection. And, our ArcticTherm™ fiberglass interior is FDA approved for food contact. All door locking is designed to be quick and tightly secure. To further protect product against the extremes of heat and cold we provide triple gaskets on hinged doors, and wiper seals on the sliding bulkhead door. Finally we have incorporated highly accurate digital thermometers for easy driver monitoring and record keeping of the frozen and fresh sections."

Oberweis Dairy first customer

Oberweis Dairy, headquartered in North Aurora, Ill., which has been delivering the finest quality milk to homes for more than 75 years, is the first customer for the new Johnson refrigerated home delivery retailers. Oberweis customers receive their milk in returnable glass bottles, and additionally can order ice cream, cheeses, sour cream, orange juice, fresh eggs, spring water, cookie batter, chicken breasts and much more for delivery right at their door. In all, Oberweis has more than 45,000 home delivery customers in Chicago, northwestern Indiana, central Illinois and St. Louis.

Johnson Truck bodies, headquartered in Rice Lake, Wis., is the innovator and manufacturer of custom fiberglass, specialized refrigerated truck bodies and trailers that range from 6 to 36-ft. in length. The company's niche is the manufacture of quality, durable, custom engineered refrigerated truck bodies designed for many years of maintenance-free service. Markets for Johnson Truck Bodies include dairy, meat, frozen food, keg beer, live poultry, vending products, flowers and plants, and ice. In business since 1932, Johnson Truck Bodies is A CARLISLE Company.