Tech Talk

Invisible protection has your trucks covered

Trucks are a big investment for any transport business so it’s important to ensure they are protected; but cruising the nation’s highways can wreak havoc on a truck’s paintwork, from stone chips and scratches, to bugs that stick in the summer heat. That’s where Protect Group comes in.

A national paint protection film specialist, Protect Group is a distributor of Premium Shield, an optically clear polyurethane product that protects your vehicle without impacting the look of your truck. It’s effectively invisible.

Based in the Melbourne suburb of Tullamarine, Protect Group has access to a national application service and can come to you. “We have a network that services every state and offer a mobile service, so can apply Premium Shield on-site at a customer’s detailing bay,” said Andrew McPhee, director at Protect Group.

Computer-cut patterns are used to ensure the perfect fit every time. “We have patterns for the major long-haul truck models and we’re always adding to that, so can have patterns made up for any truck. Our list is always growing.”

McPhee says Premium Shield is the most technologically advanced film in the world. “In its current form, it’s been in the market for about two and a half years. It’s a totally self-healing product. That means, if you get a scratch, the product will repair itself and go back into its natural form within a few days.”

Interestingly, Premium Shield has its roots in the sky. McPhee says it was originally designed to protect the tip of military planes to protect them from sand blast damage. While this was designed solely for protection, not aesthetics, the product being produced today is optically clear, so it’s perfect for use on trucks and cars.

Transport operator Leon Thorpe has been using Premium Shield on his trucks for the past eight years or so. He’s been so impressed with it that his entire 26-strong fleet of recent model Kenworths have now been wrapped with the product.

Based in Laverton, he runs two separate businesses. Thorpe’s Transport runs overnight express B-double freight from Melbourne to Sydney; while Thorpe’s Custom Trucks (or the “bling shop” as he calls it) customises trucks inside and out – so it comes as no surprise that Thorpe takes great pride in the presentation of his fleet.

He’s been in the transport game for the past 48 years and started the custom workshop in 2005.

Thorpe first came across Premium Shield when he realised it had been applied to a Viking Mafia Volvo he purchased that had been done up in Brisbane. “I had seen it was on the truck and didn’t think much of it at first. Then one of my trucks had some damage from stone chips, so I rang Andrew and said I wanted to try it on my truck – and it worked,” he said.

“I’ve sold trucks that are four or five years old and there’s not one chip, they still look brand new. The bugs don’t stick in summer either because of the coating. We even put Premium Shield on the stainless grille, and it stays shiny and doesn’t mark. With everything I buy now, I get Premium Shield put on before the truck even hits the road. And after seeing my trucks, a lot of my customers have decided to get it on their own trucks too.”

With Premium Shield, Thorpe says the proof is in the pudding. “Everybody has a story and everybody will tell you something different, but at the end of the day, my trucks always look immaculate.”

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