Producing Home-Grown Truck Covers for More Than 25 Years

THE ANNUAL SEMA SHOW IN LAS VEGAS BRINGS MANUFACTURERS AND INDUSTRY INSIDERS TOGETHER TO MEET AND DISCUSS THE YEAR’S UPCOMING GOALS, PLANS AND OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME. Teamwork and partnerships form with nearly every conversation, which can make for a list of commitments that need to be fulfilled. Staying on top of these tasks is enough for a whole team to tackle, so when the fine crew at LTA Manufacturing emailed us an invitation to tour their American-made facility, we were able to mark one task off the list.

After packing some bags and catching a flight to the Midwest, I met up with our longtime photographer Jon Hansen for some pre-game planning. Typically, we would just ride over to the photoshoot together, but this time Jeff Lacina, director of marketing for LTA, offered to pick us up in his supercharged 700 hp Mustang GT. Unfortunately for Jon, this ‘stang had a roll cage where the back seat should be, so he had to follow us to the plant—or at least try to.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, LTA Manufacturing is one of the fastest growing manufacturers and marketers of recreational and commercial grade fiberglass truck covers and cargo management solutions for pickup trucks, vans and utility bodies. The company’s brands include ATC Truck Covers, Ranch Fiberglass, Jason Truck Caps and LoadMaster, which are all produced in two separate manufacturing facilities—one in Ottawa, Kansas, and the other in Elkhart, Indiana. To distribute its high-quality truck bed accessories, LTA offers products through its national dealer base with more than 500 locations across North America. Starting in 1994, LTA has been producing truck covers for over 25 years, and the crew there has mastered the science behind the success.

Operating in a state-of-the-art facility near Kansas City, Missouri, LTA can continue to develop some of the lightest, strongest truck caps and tonneau covers for the most modern and complicated trucks on the market today. Its facility is using the latest technologies to bring you a better product at a great price as well as being environmentally friendly. Green production practices also help produce a cleaner line of products while protecting our environment. Today, LTA brands are the No. 1 choice for fully customizable truck caps, tonneau covers, accessories, commercial caps and cargo management solutions.

ATC, Ranch, Jason and LoadMaster brand products are designed and made in an environmentally friendly 90,000-square-foot plant just outside of Kansas City. The company also has a 45,000-square-foot facility in Elkhart, Indiana.

First stop on the tour was the mold dept. This is where the pre-engineered topper molds are stored and maintained. Any minor chips nicks or scratches have to be fixed before the next topper is produced.

Once an order is in the system, a worker preps the topper mold and sprays the first layer of material in the process.

The next stage is to lay fiberglass. Workers used the trick fiberglass sprayer to chop shave fiberglass rope into strands, then spray them with a resin into the gel-coated molds and spray shoot fiberglass strands and resin to create the outer layer of the topper. This layer must be smoothly rolled out and free of air pockets.

Once the material has hardened, the team at LTA separates the newly created topper from the mold and hangs it on a large dolly for easy transport between stations.

A simple system of organization keeps all the raw tops ordered and on schedule.

Once a piece is chosen for the next step, it is moved into a room specifically designed for that process.

Taking the time to explain the method to the madness helps us understand how experience and consistency pave the path to success.

In this area the windows are either removed or 90% cut out. Some tops are painted inside and some are carpeted. Not cutting out the windows allows them to spray glue and paint on the interior without over-spraying on the exterior.

Each topper is designed to exact specs and these braces help ensure they stay to spec until they are installed.

Once the shell is complete, they turn to the interior. This batch is getting a fine layer of carpet which can be seen in most truck tops.

Now that the interior coating is complete, they wait their turn to get a layer of exterior paint.

LTA employs high-quality painters and mixes their own paint on site. This is the only way to ensure quality and consistency over the product line and provide an exact match to the OE truck color.

One of LTA’s experienced painters takes the tops through three stages of paint, including primer, color and clear. It’s always fun to watch a master paint at work.

Leaving the booth, the fresh tops to have time to bake in the oven before final assembly.

Windows, labels and hinges are the final pieces of the topper puzzle before an experienced technician performs one last quality inspection on each and every piece.

Gotta love a product that can proudly display this decal!

The final stop for these tops is the storage area where they await packing and shipping.

Next we made our way over to the LoadMaster assembly area. LTA Manufacturing’s LoadMaster Bed Systems offer a unique collection of fully engineered cargo management solutions that provide easy access to your cargo. With multiple designs for recreational and commercial applications, LoadMaster Bed Systems makes your pickup truck more efficient and versatile with a variety of sliding storage systems.

The team at LTA loves to show off their remarkable product, and this is an impactful way to do it!

Check out all the company’s great American made products on its websites. Drop us a line and let us know what you think, or where we should go next!

Q & A

with Matt Blais, LTA Manufacturing’s VP of Sales & Marketing

ST Why should our readers consider buying ATC, Jason or Ranch truck caps and lids or LoadMaster bed systems?

LTA  First of all our no-hassle policy states that if you’re not happy with your truck cover or other products, LTA Manufacturing and all of our brands are committed to resolving your issues. We have excellent customer service and a fair and liberal warranty policy. We are also proud to be an American-owned and American-based manufacturer devoted to the must uniquely American vehicle there is: the pickup truck!

ST What materials are used in the production of a truck cap?

LTA  ATC Truck Covers are made with durable, fiberglass components that are stronger than other truck cap, truck lid or truck bed systems models made by others. All of our ATC, Jason and Ranch truck caps and lids are designed and made in our environmentally friendly plant just outside of Kansas City and in our Elkhart, Indiana, facility.

ST How long have you been producing truck covers?

LTA We’ve been building industry leading tonneau covers, truck caps, truck bed systems and truck cap accessories for a long time. ATC has been around since 1994. ATC Truck Covers is very active and committed to our industry. But our Jason and Ranch brands have been around since the early 1970s! You can see that, as a company, we are fully committed to the fiberglass truck top and lid industry.

ST Where can readers go see these truck covers?

LTA Only the country’s finest truck accessory shops carry ATC, Jason, Ranch truck caps and lids, LoadMaster Bed Systems and Truck Covers products. You have a complete network of dealer support at your fingertips when traveling or relocating. Use the dealer locator feature on our websites to find your nearest dealer.