Pilgrim International Inc. (Middlebury, Ind.) has introduced what it says is the recreational vehicle (RV) industry’s first all-composite travel trailer. Introduced at the annual Recreational Vehicle Industry Assn. (RVIA) show in Louisville, Ky. (Nov. 27-29, 2007), the trailer is reportedly the first of its kind to be constructed without wood components. Working with TekModo LLC (Elkhart, Ind.), a materials and parts supplier for RV applications, Pilgrim’s trailer design features floors, sidewalls, roof and end-caps made of CosmoLite, a thermoplastic composite that comprises polypropylene resin reinforced with continuous bidirectional glass fibers. Manufactured by Texmodo in a continuous manufacturing process, the composite is supplied in sheet form in widths to 12 ft/3.7m and lengths from 12 ft to 53 ft (3.7m to 16.2m), eliminating the seams required in large panels made from conventional wood panels that incorporate luan (a lightweight, mahogany-like hardwood from the Philippines) and/or plywood. Therefore, CosmoLite assemblies are expected to have greater durability than conventional trailer assemblies. In addition, the all-composite unit is fully water resistant and is impervious to rot, mildew and mold.
Additionally, Pilgrim and TekModo have developed an exterior surface that uses TekModo’s SpectraLite, a colorable laminate enhanced with DuPont’s (Wilmington, Del.) Surlyn — the same impact-resistant coating found on golf balls. Pilgrim’s all composite trailer also is formaldehyde free.
“We are adhering to our vision of continuous improvement to remain the forerunners in innovation of new technologies that will change the recreational vehicle industry,” says Pilgrim International cofounder and chairman Dave Hoefer.
Pilgrim says that one of the goals of all-composite construction is 15 percent to 20 percent weight savings to improve fuel efficiency and the potential for more different types of vehicles to be tow vehicles. The company says that when used in the floor system alone in a 28-ft trailer, CosmoLite eliminates 100 lb/45 kg of mass yet is three times stronger than a plywood floor.Further, SpectraLite’s colorability means that customers will be able to custom color their trailers, and the use of thermoplastic composites means that the trailers would be, for the first time, completely recyclable.