Most truck cabs used to be constructed with steel. Marion can and does build in steel. In recent years, however, aluminum has taken over as the material of choice because it weighs less, doesn't rust, and increases the efficiency, performance, and safety of the truck.
- In an aluminum cab, compared to a steel one, the same horse power engine provides superior acceleration. Reducing the weight of the cab also improves gas mileage, braking, and therefore overall safety
- Aluminum also increases a truck's safety by lowering its center of gravity, thereby improving maneuverability
- Because it is a highly durable material that doesn't rust, an aluminum cab will not only last years longer than a steel one, but it will look better and will resell for more
- Extrusion technology has advanced greatly, and that, along with the leveling of prices between it and steel, makes aluminum the premier cab material
Three Design Approaches
When designing an aluminum cab, there are basically three approaches:
- Follow the "Steel Cab Design" approach, in which the cab is constructed mostly from formed aluminum sheet with few extrusions
- Use the "Halfway" extrusion approach, where there are about 5 extrusions per cab and the remainder is built with sheet material
- Follow the "Full Aluminum" extrusion approach, using about twenty extrusions and aluminum castings for the corner caps
Marion chose the full aluminum extrusion approach, in part because of our experience with emergency vehicle bodies, but the overall choice was guided by the fact that this approach produces the highest quality cabs. This choice forces a greater investment up front, but in the long run it provides the greatest quality cabs and the lowest cost.
As a material, aluminum is an excellent choice for many products because it's lightweight, highly durable and doesn't rust. Made from an alloy that has a yield point about 52% greater than that of aluminum sheet, aluminum extrusions are stronger, pound for pound, than sheet aluminum.