How Much Does It Cost To Glue A Commercial Vehicle?

Written by Caleb Shaw.

We’re often asked questions like “how much is my bill going to cost in bonding for this vehicle?” or “can you give me a rough price?”.
The answer, unfortunately, is it depends.

The commercial vehicle market is incredibly broad, ranging from small vans to 13.6-metre trailers (soon to be 15.65-metres) and the different components/choices when manufacturing them can vary tremendously! In this article, I’m going to break down the cost of the 5 below vehicles and outline the variants that can determine the over-all price range.

  • 3.5 tonne Luton Van
  • 3.5 tonne Home-Delivery Van
  • Curtain Side Trucks and Trailers
  • Box Vans/Trailers
  • Refrigerated Trucks/Trailers

3.5 Tonne Luton Van

The cost of adhesive for a Luton van can vary from £20 to £100.

The obvious factor for this range in cost is the amount of bonding being done. Initially vans used very little adhesive at all. However, we’re now finding that using adhesive to absorb shock/stress can significantly increase the vehicle life span. To put it simply, the more adhesive used, the more prices will increase.

Here are a few examples of variants that can impact the quantity of adhesive used:

  • Sidewall material: Plywood or composite? Are you opting for bonding a composite panel or using a mechanical fixing with Plywood?
  • Tie rails: Bonded or screwed? Bonded tie rails can be up to 300% stronger than screwed, so we tend to find the majority of manufacturers opt for adhesive solutions.
  • Cant rails/ cappings: Bonded or bolted? Are you looking to use thermoplastic sections to offer weight savings? If so, just remember that some sections aren’t designed to “hold” enough adhesive to bond effectively.
  • Floors: Although typically screwed down, there are more bonding solutions becoming available.

3.5 Tonne Home Delivery Van

The cost of glue to manufacture these vans can very between £100 – £250.

Although both the Luton van and Home-delivery van are often the same size, the price difference occurs because adhesive tends to be preferred for insulated side walls, floors and roofs.
Typically manufacturers use a flexible or ridged box assembly method, and the difference in price of adhesive for both methods is so minimal that shouldn’t sway your decision either way.

Curtain Side Trucks and Trailers

The price of adhesive for curtain side trucks/trailers can be anything between £60 – £100.

As to be expected with these builds, there is significantly less adhesive used compared to box/fridge vans and the small difference can be determined by the following factors:

  • Bonded roof design: Are you looking for a quicker option (but often more costly) with tape? Or to bond with a structural flexible adhesive?
  • Bonded floors: The use of adhesives is an “unconventional” option that is becoming a lot more popular in the market.

Box Vans/Trailers:

Unlike the fridge boxes, these are usually built from the chassis up, meaning the price can vary anything between £100 – £300.

Once again, the difference in costs depends on the amount of adhesive used.

  • Sidewall construction: Are you using plywood or composite sidewalls? For example, if you used multi-panel build with 10+ panels bonded together for one sidewall, the price would be higher in adhesive than using mechanical alternatives.
  • Bonded cappings: Are you looking for no visible fixings? Or to use mechanical fastenings?
  • Internal tie rails and multi-deck systems: Although traditionally fixed mechanically, bonding composite walls seems to be the preferred method.
  • Roof construction: Are you looking to bond the roof skins?

Refrigerated Trucks and Trailers

The typical box trailer uses between £100 – £250 of adhesive in the build.

Here’s a few variants for you to consider:

  • The type of adhesive used for bonding the cappings and the amount used per capping
  • The size of the capping (length and height), as well as the material/environment it is used in (e.g. allowing for expansion in hot weather)
  • The number of internal fittings such as a tie rail, rub rail, covings, etc

In short- the cost of adhesives for building a commercial vehicle can be anything between £20 and £300. The total bill that you’ll receive will be based entirely on the choices you make during the manufacturing design. If you’re struggling to make choices regarding which/how much adhesive to use, feel free to contact one of our experts for some non-biased advice.