Have you ever wondered as you were sat on a bus, just how much goes into making this people carrier so practical, yet pretty? There’s always more to everything that meets the eye in all things motoring – and it was at Cool Cab Air recently that some of these questions were finally laid to rest.
Cool Cab Air is a one-stop-shop when it comes to original equipment: the manufacturing of fibreglass, plastic parts as well as heating and ventilation equipment for the bus building industry. This market is relatively small in terms of units produced, but a vital one none the less. Cool Cab Air enjoys great recognition when it comes to the services they offer.
What started out as a business to maintain refrigerated truck vehicles and airconditioners on the railway buses back in 1985, has now become a turnkey operation. Design, machining and manufacturing can all be done in-house. As they are not limited to one type of material, product development is an area of continuous expansion.
The company have produced fibreglass parts for the Rea Vaya and Tshwane Rapid Transport vehicles, as well as the fibreglass domes that you see on other buses. They were also involved in manufacturing the heating systems for the Gautrain buses. “Our biggest learning curve, though,” said André Ferreira, CEO, “was being involved in the 2010 Soccer World Cup. We were asked to produce 294 buses in 105 days, which meant manufacturing the all-fibreglass and plastic parts for three buses a day to meet that deadline!” It was a tough ask, but one that the Cool Cab Air team delivered on time and with great quality to boot.
The ABS plastic parts, which included window caps, roof ventilation and light covers, dashboards as well as many other internal finishes for luxury and commercial buses, has seen huge development in the company of late. Being able to tailor-make specific designs for each client has really set them apart in the market. You can bring along your 3D drawings, or work with their in-house designers to achieve the perfect part required.
Fibreglass is quite a fussy product to work with and drying time and patience are key because if it isn’t cured properly the piece will remain tackey. This will cause paint problems later, such as fish eyes and bubbles and sometimes the product can reshape itself if it’s fitted too early. Meeting deadlines with the correctly cured product is a constant juggle.
Nothing seems to be too much trouble. If there isn’t a machine to meet an idea, one is designed and manufactured to meet company needs. This is an real bonus in a smaller company fuelled by passion, for what they do and plenty of pride in what they produce. As you can imagine there are a lot of abrasives, fillers, coatings and other spray equipment needed in their workshop. Their refinish coatings supplier stocks Kapci Coatings or Luxor paints products to get the best final finish. With just 60 employees and a factory of 4 500 square metres, they boast a great turnaround time. Under the watchful eye of Riaan Barnfather, general manager at Cool Cab Air, they have almost completed their ISO 9001 and have also implemented the Kaizen principles to ensure continuous improvement. Definitely a company building for the future. You can call them on +27 (0)11 827 9668 for more details.