How Your ProTops Product is ManufacturedYour ProTops fiberglass Camper Shell or Tonneau Cover is a fascinating combination of art, science and technology. Here’s a description of how it is manufactured. Precision molds are the most critical componentExtraordinarily accurate molds are fabricated by skilled, hand-craftsmanship in the ProTops mold shop before being released to the production teams in the ProTops manufacturing plant in San Bernardino, California. While molds may last for years, they also require constant maintenance to keep their mirror-finish surfaces and dimensional accuracy. Literally hundreds of molds are maintained by ProTops, and each mold is inspected, cleaned, waxed, polished, and prepped each and every time it is used. The first material in the mold is gelcoatThe first layer in the prepared mold for your cap or tonneau is a gelcoat, a synthetic polymer designed to flow smoothly into every part of the mold. The gelcoat is a thin (2-3 mils) but durable layer that will form the hard-smooth-finished outside surface of your camper shell or tonneau cover. It is the gelcoat that will be prepped for painting and will receive the exterior paint finish you see. Because it is directly under the painted surface, ProTops™ uses grey gelcoat, designed to provide the best contrast for the paint that will be sprayed. Random strand fiberglass is the key structural componentThe next step adds the key structural component, random-strand fiberglass. Thin, long filaments of glass fibers are chopped into lengths averaging 1 to 2 inches long, and are combined with resin (an advanced polymer plastic) and a catalyst that enables the combined ingredients to harden and cure. This layer of chopped glass and resin is applied by expert operators who control the thickness of the application to within a few hundredths of an inch. If the fiberglass layer is too thin and it won't have the required strength. If it is too thick, it is too heavy and too rigid for this application. Hand rolling of the fiberglass eliminates air pockets and bubblesWhile the combination of glass and resin is still curing, it is meticulously rolled out by hand to eliminate any air that may be trapped in the fiberglass layer. At this time, reinforcements are added to the mold, where they will be encased in another layer of glass and resin. These reinforcements make it possible for ProTops to add lock hardware, hinges, storage boxes, racks, and other bolted-on parts that would otherwise stress the fiberglass. A lightweight reinforcement layer is addedA layer of "multi-cell" honeycomb is glassed in at this time. When this internal stiffener comes in contact with the resin, it provides an incredibly hard, resilient and durable layer of reinforcement that adds significant strength with minimum weight to the roof area of the camper shell or tonneau cover. Additional fiberglass is added in complex curves and shapes. Also, depending upon the design, additional fiberglass may be added in the form of hand-laid sheets of "woven fiberglass cloth." This application further strengthens areas of the camper shell or tonneau cover that has complex curves and shapes. After each step, each layer of resin-infused fiberglass is rolled out to make sure there are no air pockets in the structure. Catalyst cures the fiberglass resinWith the fiberglass and reinforcing work complete, Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers are set aside so the curing process started by the catalyst can continue until complete curing has occurred. Critical scrutiny of every pieceFiberglass outside edges are added to the Camper Shells & Tonneau Covers. Each fresh part is individually inspected by experienced eyes, and any surface flaws in the molded part are corrected. Camper Shells go through yet another round of fiberglass production, where the fiberglass rails that mount to your truck bed are molded and mated to the Camper Shells, using additional layers of fiberglass and resin. The following day, the new Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers are removed from the molds and excess fiberglass material is trimmed off. Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers are mounted on individual assembly carts so they can move through the assembly process with minimal handling. Automotive, multi-stage painting adds gorgeous colorInspections continue and surfaces are refined before parts are painted in a clean, controlled environment. More inspections and further preparations are performed as Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers are led to sophisticated paint spray booths where lighting, air pressure, humidity, temperature and filtration provide an ideal painting environment. Using automotive quality paints and OEM-matching paint formulas, highly trained painters apply a base coat of color, then a clear coat for UV protection and gloss. Each Camper Shell and Tonneau Cover is then sent through temperature-controlled heat tunnels to cure and set the fresh paint. Window and door openings are carefully cut, headliners are added. Shells are moved to the cutting operation, where openings for windows and doors are carefully marked, then precisely cut, so they can accept any of ProTops' wide range of windows and doors. Our optional, commercial grade marine carpet headliner is installed at this point. Hardware is installed. Camper Shells are water tested for leaksWindows, doors, locks, latches, hinges, seals, and a wide range of other hardware and accessory options are added at this stage. Critical, built-in reinforcements are installed and the famous ProTops decals are applied. All Camper Shells are water-tested to ensure there are no leaks. All products pass final approvalOnce the assembly process is complete, each and every unit leaving our plant undergoes a final inspection. Shipment is scheduled only after each Camper Shell and Tonneau Cover has passed inspection. The result of the ProTops manufacturing process is a Camper Shell or Tonneau Cover that is everything you want it to be: light, strong, resilient, precise, beautiful and long-lasting! ProTops™ DeliveryThe connection between ProTops and your local ProTops Dealer. ProTops operates its own trucks towing custom-designed trailers delivering ProTops Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers to our network of dealers. Dealer PrepProTops Dealers often clean products that show road dust, etc. from their long journey from the plant. They remove any shipping plastic and prepare your Camper Shell or Tonneau Cover for installation. Installation Your ProTops Dealer carefully prepares your truck for installation, using highly specialized clamps to secure your new Camper Shell or Tonneau Cover to your truck. The Dealer makes critical adjustments to hinges, locks, latches and other mechanical features that require tight tolerances. The Dealer connects required electrical connections for the third brake light and other optional 12-V accessories are connected. After a final inspection and test of the operation of the features of your new ProTops, it's yours to enjoy for years and years to come. . .