From brainchild to patented technology, Inventor Jerry Hebert has found a better way for commercial fleets to keep truckin’
Necessity is the mother of invention, it’s often said. Jerry Hebert had grown really tired of climbing in and out of his truck bed when running his building maintenance business. One day as he made yet another knee-popping crawl to get a heavy piece of equipment from the cab-end of the bed, a light bulb turned on in his head.
“There had to be a better way to handle that continual, challenging work, a better ‘truck bed mousetrap,’” the South Dakota native said. “What I need is a slide-out truck bed with legs to support the weight of all these tools and supplies. And if I need it, there must be millions more just like me!”
And thus TramBed, the concept, was born. In the early days, Jerry and his son Linc worked nights and weekends on a prototype for the commercial-grade truck bed extension, engaging the services of machine shops and parts and equipment manufacturers. They even crafted some TramBed parts themselves as they worked out the bugs and moved closer to having a dependable and patentable product. Sure, there were other slide-out truck bed solutions in the marketplace, but they were subject to the risks inherent with a cantilevered system.
“In business applications, one accident can make or break a company when it comes to liability and insurance costs,” Hebert said. “The TramBed legs eliminate or greatly reduce the risk of accidents associated with a cantilevered slide-out bed, and thereby reduce or eliminate the damages and consequences of personal injury.”
Making things easier, safer and better are the driving forces in Hebert’s inventor mind. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve, but it took Jerry several years of research and development. By 2005, TramBed was a patent-protected reality, but who was going to manufacture the product?
Enter Metcam, an award-winning, ISO-certified metal fabricator that works with single-idea inventors all the way up to billion dollar companies. Jerry credits MetCam’s high-tech environment and cutting-edge approach to product development for making the business partnership a successful one. The almost 30-year-old manufacturer also demonstrates a strong commitment to cover individual and small construction uses, such as TramBed, as well as the many applications for the service body industry.
“The continued collaboration between inventor and manufacturer is essential as MetCam embarks on taking the productive, efficient and safe TramBed to the next level,” Jerry said. “TramBed has truly been a labor of love with many twists and turns, but all have been a continuance on the road to success. It’s exciting to see what the TramBed-MetCam partnership has brought to fruition!”