Inflatable cover proves a time-saving solution to coach and bus glazing

An innovative idea by staff at National Windscreens is helping to get coaches and buses back on the road more quickly when glazing repair or replacement work is carried out – greatly reducing costly downtime.

An inflatable “coach cover” has been designed by the company’s coach glazing division team to protect areas of a coach where glazing has to be replaced or repaired, whether it is the windscreen, passenger side windows or the rear glazing.

The innovation allows work to be undertaken outdoors and in most weather conditions. This is particularly useful when coach operators do not have enough workshop space for a vehicle requiring glass replacement or where work has to be undertaken where a vehicle is located away from suitable indoor premises.

“The weather in recent months has been particularly inclement and this can impact on when a coach can be repaired or the time it takes to repair or replace glazing on a coach. This is particularly significant when you consider a windscreen replacement usually takes in the region of two hours but in certain cases can be as long as five hours depending on the complexity of the vehicle,” said Bradley Wood, Regional Manager at National Windscreens.

“In poor or wet weather conditions, the work has to be carried out t indoors. However, quite often a coach operator will find it difficult to allow an entire day for the work to be undertaken in their workshop when space is required for servicing their fleet.

“We came up with an idea for a portable coach cover that can be taken easily to any location where the coach is. It was designed by one of our team, Simon Gilbert. The cover quickly inflates, encompassing the part of the vehicle where the work is required.”

He added: “It means the glazing repair or replacement work can be undertaken no matter what the weather is like, ensuring the customer can get their vehicle back on the road quickly, ensuring minimum disruption to their business.”

The coach cover was trialled by National Windscreens in London and the South East of England, with very successful results.

Lee Mant, engineering manager at Gravesend-based DJ Coaches, said the cover was a great idea:

“Operating a fleet of 30 coaches touring the UK and the continent, time is of the essence when it comes to any essential maintenance.

“No transport operator wants one of their commercial vehicles off the road for longer than necessary. That can negatively impact on customers and revenue. The coach cover is a great idea and a reliable way to ensure the turnaround on glazing work is kept to a minimum whilst maintaining the quality of work.

“It will be of particular use when the coaches are out on tour. For example, if we’re at a theme park or attraction, then the work could be undertaken there and whilst the coach isn’t being used. As a result having no impact on our customers or us.”

The cover measures five metres by four metres and is made of reinforced PVC and nylon. It can be easily transported in the technicians’ vehicles before being inflated. The vehicle requiring glazing work is then driven under the cover where work can be undertaken away from inclement weather.

National Windscreens said the cover could also be used on commercial and HGV vehicles.

The company is currently ordering more of the covers to be used by the coach teams throughout the UK.