October '20

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22 • RV PRO • October 2020 rv-pro.com developing emerging technologies. The product we're using has been in a parallel marketplace, and we worked with them to develop it for our use." The parallel industry: transportation, and more specifically tractor trailers, refrig- erated vans and cargo trailers – all with applications where a light weight and pro- tection from moisture also are important. Possibly the one area where composites can't be said to offer much improvement is in the area of insulation. Airstream's Gehman says it compares well to wood because there is a foam layer involved in the flooring construction, but more gener- ally it's the construction of the entire unit that's going to cut down on cold floors. Glanders says Polser's product "does have an R-value associated to it," that stems mainly from its density. He esti- mates it's about an R-6. It's still early in the game, but will wood eventually be chased from RV floor con- struction across the board? Probably not. For now, it's continuing in Airstream's motorhomes and the company's popular Basecamp model. "The motorhomes are different," Featherstone says. "It's just a completely different structure. It's more about tech- nical reasons." However, he adds the RV maker will undoubtedly continue to study the matter as it seeks to improve its products. Glanders feels wood will continue to be used – at least in some units – because of its lower price. "If you're building the cheapest units out there, you'll have wood," he says. "But other people are going to want to be leaders and innovators. They're going to invest in composites and then they're going to use them to upsell." Above: Airstream is manufacturing all of its 2021 model year iconic silver bullet trailers using one- piece composite sheets, which the company says offers numerous advantages over plywood flooring. At right: With the introduction of composite flooring, Airstream has removed the last bit of wood from its silver bullet trailers.

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