30 July 2020
30 July 2020, Comments Comments Off on Lippert launches lightweight pop-up roof for campervans
Lippert launches lightweight pop-up roof for campervans

Lippert Components is launching a pop-up roof for campervans. Developed and produced in Europe, it’s new ‘Vela’ pop-up roof weighs 20 to 30 percent less than comparable fibreglass products, and provides a real extra bedroom for campervans with a double bed measuring 200 x 130 cm. It is initially available for the Fiat Ducato, Citroën Jumper and Peugeot Boxer with H2 roof, with other models to follow in the future.

The growth of the campervan market in Europe and the Class-B market in
North America is trend that Lippert Components (LCI) has been following closely. LCI has already developed several products for this type of recreational vehicle, including some interesting slide-out applications to provide more living space when required. Now the concept of “space
on demand” also extends upwards with the introduction of its innovative Pop-Up roof, the Vela.

It is built with a thermoformed twin sheet technique plus an exclusive, patent pending solution for channeling hot or cold air. LCI will also manufacture the Vela pop-up roof for specific frames and spoilers for other versions of the same vehicles, as well as for other manufacturers. Mounted on vehicles of length L2, L3 and L4 (i.e. from 541, 599 and 636 cms), the PopUp Roof also leaves space for the installation of a roof air conditioner.

“It was 2017 when we started to focus on a new idea: that of entering the market of elevating roofs,” says Michele Checcucci, CEO of LCI RV Europe. “At the time there were only two producers and the segment suggested there was room for strong growth, which subsequently has happened. To enter this market you need to have an innovative product, so we took our time designing and engineering the best product possible and now we are ready to introduce the “Vela” pop-up roof,” continued Checcucci.

The new Vela pop-up roof has been designed from the outset to adapt perfectly to the aesthetics of the vehicle on which it will be mounted and use technology that is currently unique in this sector: “twin sheet” thermoformed technology. While traditional products are made of
fibreglass, the use of a thermoformed product offers important advantages, including being easier to produce and saving weight.

“We paid particular attention to the strength and durability of the Pop-Up roof,” says Luigi Gozzi, technical director of LCI RV Europe. “We conducted tests of dropping steel balls with a diameter of two inches and a weight of 0.5kg from four metres in height. This impact test ensures that breakages will not occur even in the event of an abnormal hailstorm. The Pop-Up roof was then tested in the climatic chamber. Here a series of opening and closing cycles were created to simulate 10 years of use at + 50 ° and 10 years of life at -20 °. In total, the roof has shown that it can easily overcome 20 years of operation at the two thermal extremes,” added Luigi Gozzi.

“We arrived last in this sector, but with the best product,” concludes Michele Checcucci. “The Lippert Components group will not participate in any European fairs in 2020, but we have set up a digital platform to present our products to B2B and B2C customers. The virtual presentation is
scheduled for September and Vela will be available by the end of that month. Initially, it will be available for installation by OEMs, but it will also arrive in the aftermarket”.

LCI’s innovation is not just limited to the technology of this new elevating roof, but also to aesthetics and functionality to ensure it can be used as a real additional bedroom. The objective was to design a product that was not a simple extension of the campervan, but a real additional room with perimeter lights, reading lights, sockets for charging smartphones and
air vents. The roof’s fabric, produced in Italy, is washable and removable, and certified according to the American standard FMVSS302 against flammability. As an option, it will be possible to have an additional insulated sheet with an external waterproof layer and an insulating internal layer, joined in a way to reduce the heat exchange between inside and outside.

“The elevating roof made with the thermoformed twin sheet technique allows us to have a much higher than average production capacity,” explains Lorenzo Manni, commercial director of LCI RV Europe.

“With fibreglass, one mold means we can only make one unit per day, so more units per day will always equal the need for more molds. With our twin sheet technology, we can utilize a single mold and still increase production capacity while still producing a shape that can be successfully. This benefits the quality of the product over time,” added Lorenzo Manni.

The twin sheet thermoforming technology, which can use both vacuum and pressure techniques, requires each sheet to be produced separately. Once formed, the top and bottom sheets are quickly joined together, so not to lose surface temperature, and then blocked. The space that remains between the two sheets, thanks to a wave shape, has high pressure air introduced to it, which strengthens and welds the two parts. The end result is a more robust and lighter product, which weighs 20 to 30 percent less than similar fibreglass products. Using this technique has allowed LCI to create a larger than average elevating roof able to contain a double bed measuring 200 x 130 cm, without increasing its weight.

LCI has also designed a lifting system with a double integrated mechanism which allows more space and height, even at the lower end. The pop-up roof uses the thermoformed twin sheet technique in both the upper and lower shell. Having the cavity in the base as well has made it possible for LCI to propose an exclusive and patent pending solution to push hot or cold air into that space, depending on the climate outside. This improves the air in the upper room and gives it a temperature more similar to that of the interior of the campervan below it.

Lippert Components has over 90 manufacturing and distribution facilities located throughout North America and Europe. LCI Industries, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lippert Components, Inc., supplies, domestically and internationally, a broad array of highly engineered components for the leading OEMs in the recreation and transportation product markets, consisting of recreational vehicles and adjacent industries, including
buses; trailers used to haul boats, livestock, equipment, and other cargo; trucks; boats; trains; manufactured homes; and modular housing. The Company also supplies engineered components to the related aftermarkets of these industries primarily by selling to retail dealers, wholesale distributors, and service centers. LCI’s products include steel chassis and related components; axles and suspension solutions; slide-out mechanisms and solutions; thermoformed bath, kitchen, and other products; vinyl,
aluminum, and frameless windows; manual, electric, and hydraulic stabilizer and leveling systems; entry, luggage, patio, and ramp doors; furniture and mattresses; electric and manual entry steps; awnings and
awning accessories; electronic components; appliances; televisions, sound systems, navigation systems, and backup cameras; and other accessories. Additional information about LCI and its products can be found at www.lci1.com.