What Type of Maintenance is Required on a Curtainside?

[fa icon="calendar"] May 12, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Pete Johnson


The theory behind curtainside design is straightforward simplicity to streamline loading and unloading freight, expedite shipments down the road, and open up new profit opportunities for carriers.

That philosophy also extends to routine maintenance. Curtainsides are built for daily, high-mileage use in real-world conditions. Excessive downtime for any reason—including preventive maintenance—simply isn’t an option in this competitive industry. Maintaining a curtainside trailer is a standardized procedure that can be implemented by most fleet maintenance personnel.


Cleaning The Curtain

In addition to protecting the freight, most side curtains are also mobile billboards that advertise a company brand to millions on the road, so attention to aesthetics is important. By neutralizing the effects of grime, road salts and pollutants, cleaning also ensures long life and durability of curtain material.

Harsh, abrasive cleaners should be avoided. Rolaclean one-step curtainside cleaner is formulated to remove dirt and grime from PVC-coated polyester curtain material utilized in Roland curtainsides, without fading or compromising colors and graphics. Be sure to read and follow manufacturer’s instructions for any cleaner you may utilize.

1. Clean the curtain in segments five feet wide. This ensures that the cleaner solution does not dry on any part of the curtain for too long, which can leave a white "soapy" film that is more difficult to rinse or remove.

2. Spray down the segment with the cleaner mixture, moving from the top to the bottom until the entire segment is soaked.

3. Allow a minute for the cleaner to dissolve grime but don’t let the section begin to dry. If the curtain is extremely dirty, quickly scrub with a soft-bristled long-handled brush to reach all parts of the section. To avoid damaging printed graphics on the curtain, don’t apply excessive pressure when scrubbing.

4. Rinse the section thoroughly from top to bottom with a spray of clean water.

5. Move to the next five-foot section and repeat.

6. For stubborn grime or oil, apply cleaner and scrub, then immediately re-apply cleaner and scrub again, then quickly rinse.


Repairing Tears

In the daily rough-and-tumble of freight hauling, stuff happens—usually only minor tears that entail a speedy repair process. With minimal specialized tools, small, uncomplicated curtain repairs can be carried out by on-site personnel with a little training plus advance practice. For most minor tears, the preferred method is bonding a patch with a heat gun and roller.

1. Evaluate the tear. Damage that is large or encompasses areas of the curtain material that are welded or incorporate support post pockets should be referred to a Roland service center.

2. Clean both sides of the torn area with denatured alcohol.

3. Cut the patching material into a circular shape that overlaps the torn area by two to three inches.

4. Pre-heat the heat gun to 1500 degrees. This is the temperature required to melt the PVC curtain coating and ensure that the patch adheres to the polyester base material.

5. The patch is applied to the inside of the curtain. Arrange for an assistant to stand outside and hold a board against the opposite side of the curtain in the area to be patched. This provides a firm, flat surface for pressing against when applying the heat gun and roller.

6. Place the tip of the heat gun beneath the center of the patching material to melt the PVC coating on the surface of the curtain. As the surface becomes molten, utilize the curtainside patch roller to apply pressure to the patch, pushing against the flat board to adhere it to the curtain material. Work outwards from the center, applying heat from the gun and then pressure from the roller to the material until the entire patch is adhered to the curtain.


To learn more about how curtainsides can help streamline your operation, check out our white paper:

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Topics: Curtainside Trailers, Fleet Maintenance

Pete Johnson

Written by Pete Johnson

Vice President, General Manager & Co-founder of Roland Curtains Inc. Pete was the first US employee for Roland International opening the US manufacturing business while creating sales in North, Central, and South America.

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