La Boit Engineers with Safety in Mind

April 26, 2022 | 0

At La Boit Specialty Vehicles, we talk a lot about the difference between a custom built specialty vehicle and a converted RV, bus, or box truck. But even though we talk about it a lot, it might not be immediately clear to our customers what exactly that means. Our customers aren’t experts in mobile clinic construction, and they shouldn’t have to be! They are experts in their field, whether veterinary, medical, or other. So when we say “commercially built from the chassis up,” our customers might wonder, “What’s that mean?” or even, “So what?”

So today I’d like to take a specific issue – safety – and compare the safety of a custom built vehicle like a La Boit to another type of mobile clinic – a box truck conversion. When you compare the differences side by side, it’s clear that a La Boit vehicle is not only higher-quality in aesthetics, functionality, and durability, but it is also safer to operate.

Low center of gravity versus a box truck

If you’ve ever had an appliance delivered to your home by a box truck, you’ve probably noticed the big production it takes to unload that item. It needs two big guys and an electric lift to bring that item from the truck to the ground. A box truck has a high center of gravity, which makes it hard to not only load and unload items, but also to board passengers.  In addition, a high center of gravity means a box truck sways more in the wind and is more difficult to navigate through turns.

Low Center of Gravity

All welded tubular frame vs fastened hat channel structure

Um… say what now? Ok, so hat channel is often used in furring walls in preparation for residential drywall installation. It’s called hat channel because in cross section it kind of looks like a hat and is open on one side. In a box truck conversion, these hat channels are fastened to existing walls of the box truck to allow for insulation and mechanicals. In a La Boit, however, each wall and roof is framed and welded exactly to specifications with aluminum tubing. The continuous uni-body construction offers a solid engineered cage of protection and strength.

Welded Tubular Frame

Bonded cab/chassis vs separate components that sway going down the road.

Ever rented a box truck to move houses? Did you like driving it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say probably not. With all the muscle you use to keep the thing in line with the road, you need to rest before you’ve unloaded the first box of dishes. A La Boit, on the other hand, features a bonded cab/chassis. Some of our clients have said that driving a La Boit feels a lot like driving a large SUV.

Bonded Cab/Chassis

Separate solid floor structure secured to chassis rails vs no separate structure

La Boit vehicles feature 3/4” exterior grade plywood floor glued and fastened to a 2×2” welded box steel floor framework and attached to the chassis via special vibration dampers. A box truck, like its name implies, is a completed box, flooring and all, that is fastened to the chassis. Think of it as the difference between a custom built home with the floor and walls built separately versus a shipping container home where it already comes in one piece. There’s a reason one is cheaper than the other.

Floor Structure

Emergency window exits

This is standard on all La Boit-built vehicles. It’s not for many other manufacturers.

Egress Window

Engineered transport seating properly secured through flooring.

Sometimes, human passengers need to travel inside the clinic instead of inside the cabin. That’s why we custom-engineer our in-clinic transport seats to make them as secure as possible, with multi-point anchoring directly through the flooring. We certainly don’t use loose chairs or off-the-shelf seats bolted down with a bracket bought at a home improvement store, both of which we’ve seen in other clinics.

Passenger Seating Secured through Floor

Ample LED lighting interiors and exterior LED scene lighting

Seems simple enough, but ample lighting, especially exterior lighting, is an often-overlooked detail. Because of the way they’re built, it’s often impossible to add additional lighting to a specific area in a box truck conversion. A La Boit, however, can accommodate as much lighting as needed, both interior and exterior, because it’s completely custom built from the chassis up.

Solid entry steps designed for daily use

La Boit custom engineers and fabricates our staircases in-house so that they fit perfectly with our vehicles. They are made of solid steel and are designed for long-term durability even in clinics that see a lot of foot traffic.

Entry Steps

About La Boit Specialty Vehicles

La Boit Specialty Vehicles president Gil Blais first started La Boit in his garage in 1981, where he hand-made organizational boxes for traveling veterinarians. Fast forward to today, La Boit Specialty Vehicles is now a leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing for the Veterinary, Spay/Neuter/Adoption, Dental, Medical, Command, and Bloodmobile industries.

La Boit Specialty Vehicles offers a variety of vehicles to suit your needs, from 18ft pull-behind trailers to 40ft drivable coaches, none of which require a CDL to drive. Best of all, our vehicles are commercially-built from the chassis up for your specific needs, and are never converted RVs.

Mission Statement

Helping professionals around the world confidently deliver a higher level of service to their local markets by providing the highest quality custom mobile units in the industry!

We welcome your feedback and questions. Please contact us anytime or leave a comment below.