By Roger Brown
When it comes to buying racking and other storage products for a van, do you keep things simple or go for a product with a few more bells and whistles?
One company that sticks to a tried and tested approach is Van Guard, which markets its range of internal trade van racking systems as a high quality but no frills and affordable option. The Exeter-based commercial vehicle accessories designer and manufacturer was formed in 1990 as an off-shoot of GK Land Engineering, an aerospace engineering company founded by Gerald Land. It currently has in place an experienced team of designers, engineers and customer service staff, including Gerald Land’s son and grandson, Mark and John Land.
SIMPLICITY IS KEY
“Keeping the design as simple as possible has not only helped to keep the costs down, but it has also ensured that the trade van racking is incredibly easy to build and fit”, said John Land, Senior Marketing Executive at Van Guard. “The products come in a variety of heights and widths so customers can mix and match according to their requirements.“ Van Guard’s long-standing workforce and customer service team are committed to ensuring quality standards are consistently maintained and that the customer always comes first.
The company’s trade van racking range of internal van racking units, designed, tested and made in Britain, is constructed mainly from aluminium, keeping the weight of the units as low as possible with load capacity and fuel consumption in mind. Shelves have been designed to take the most common of tool boxes on the market and can be added in or taken out quickly. Due to how Van Guard designs and constructs its trade van racking, it can easily be transferred from one vehicle to another and Land describes it as being “extremely easy to assemble”.
He added: “The units are sold individually as well as in kits to suit a range of van makes and models, allowing the user to best utilise the van load area. A choice of fully adjustable straight and angled shelves give options to carry tool cases and smaller components.” Van Guard is a member of the Made in Britain Campaign and Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) and carries ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditations. Its racking has also passed the industry standard ECE Reg 17 crash test.
The trade van racking systems are available for next working day delivery, something which the company says is unique in the UK racking system market. Customers can purchase extra accessories such as dividers, non-slip matting, plastic bins and unit height extensions to fully utilise the shelving and personalise their racking. Land said: “It fulfils the company’s constant theme of manufacturing premium quality commercial vehicle products that are priced at an extremely affordable level. Our trade van racking range provides a lightweight, strong and flexible metal racking solution to store and organize power tools and components effectively and efficiently.”
Van Guard also designs, manufactures and delivers a range of external vehicle storage products such as the ULTI van roof bar. Meanwhile Van Guard’s heavy duty tradesman’s van roof rack ULTI Rack, which features a click and lock mechanism, is made from lightweight aluminium and has a roof rack containing at least half the number of fixings of other aluminium racks on the market. Its pipe carriers, used by both electricians and plumbers alike, come in 2m, 3m and bespoke lengths with a liner option available as well to prevent plastic conduit and copper pipes from getting scuffed up in transit.
At the Commercial Vehicle Show in April, Van Guard also launched a mechanically aided ladder loading system that allows a quick and easy way of loading and unloading ladders from the van roof while protecting the operator from the risk of an accident. Land said: “It is an exciting time here at Van Guard, we have been working on some key projects for many months and invested heavily in developing new products. We provide a well-made, simple, cost-effective aluminium alternative to modular systems, designed for tradespeople that have vans. There is a lot of competition out there in the internal racking systems market, some offer a very bespoke service but we provide a straightforward option that gives the end-user flexibility”.
The no frills approach taken by Van Guard contrasts with that of other companies in the sector. For example Bott, based in Bude, can offer vehicle conversion projects for fleets as well as storage systems. Also Modul-System – the new name for Tevo from April this year – based in High Wycombe, supplies module-based racking systems and is able to take responsibility for the whole conversion process, including day to day contract management. The Modul-System group is based in Sweden, has ten subsidiaries in Europe and Asia and its global partner network means its products are sold in 50 countries.
Van Vault, based in Nottingham, recently introduced a new range of eight vehicle storage products, featuring traditional box style containers and easy to use drawer sliders. Each is designed for use in different types of vehicles and sizes, and on-site secure storage systems are also available. The company has also improved storage space and functionality with the new range, introducing a wide mouth drop front to the storage containers, which provides greater access and visibility of the contents inside.
According to Van Vault, a recessed lock also protects the key from damage, when left in the lock and an easy-lift gas strut through the body of the box ensures a soft open and close lid action and maximises storage space. Deborah Hunt, Marketing Manager at Van Vault said: “The upgraded vehicle range underwent considerable research and rigorous testing, to ensure it provided customers with a product that helps secure tools and makes the working day of a tradesperson easier.”