Plastics for buses, railcars, campers, RVs, emergency vehicles, and off-road equipment

Plastic materials are used for a wide variety of transportation applications including glazing, interior wall panels, partitions, headliners, and light diffusers. Thermoplastics offer a number of advantages over metals, wood, and fiberglass including outstanding aesthetics, durability, and sound insulating properties. Plastics are also extremely lightweight, which contributes to improved fuel economy.

Thermoplastics have the additional advantage of having color throughout the volume of the material, which eliminates the need for secondary painting. Unlike metals and wood, plastics are moisture resistant and they will not rot or rust.

Plastic materials (KYDEX, ABS, Polycarbonate) for Specialty Vehicles including Ambulances and Medical Transport

Durable plastics materials for interior transportation parts and applications

Benefits of plastics for transportation applications include:

  • Outstanding aesthetics, available in virtually any color
  • Durability
  • Easy to form into complex parts
  • Moisture resistant, will not rust like metal
  • Acoustical insulating properties
  • Lightweight for improved fuel economy
  • Grades available that are resistant to fuels, lubricants, and cleaning chemicals
  • Outdoor weatherable grades available
  • Grades available that meet vehicle flammability standards
  • Grades available that comply with ANSI Z26.1-1996

Transportation applications where plastics have been successfully used:

  • Bezels
  • Cargo carriers
  • Cabinets
  • Driver Partitions
  • Exit signs
  • Golf cart windshields
  • Headliners
  • Instrument panels
  • Interior wall panels
  • Light diffusers
  • Luggage bins
  • Modesty panels
  • Rain and insect deflectors
  • Seating
  • Spare tire covers
  • Storage containers
  • Truck bed liners
  • Vehicle glazing
  • Wear pads
  • Window shrouds


Plastic materials for transportation:


Transparent partitions for transportation applications - for bus and rail interiors

Clear, UV resistant and impact resistant plastics for transportation applications

Transparent Partitions

Transparent partitions made from acrylic and polycarbonate sheet are lightweight and impact resistant. Standard colors include clear, bronze, and gray.

These plastics are available in a number of different formulations depending on the requirements for transparency, color, scratch resistance, and flammability.

Private and public transit companies are taking precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19 and provide safer transportation by retrofitting their buses with protective barrier shields made from durable plastic materials.

Transparent barriers made of TUFFAK® DG (Driver Gard) polycarbonate provide outstanding impact resistance and optical clarity. TUFFAK® DG is easy to clean, allows drivers to interact freely with passengers, and conforms to FMVSS 205/ANSI Z26.1, AS4.

LED Light Diffusers

Many vehicle manufacturers now specify LED lighting for interior illumination due the reliability and energy efficiency of LED lamps. LEDs can be challenging for vehicle designers since they create intense pinpoints of light that can detract from the appearance of a vehicle. Curbell supplies a number of plastic film and sheet materials that are engineered to diffuse LED light while still maintaining high levels of light transmission.

KYDEX® Thermoplastics for Interior Components - Wall Panels, Opaque Barriers, Seating, Tray Tables, and Window Shrouds

Vehicle designers often specify KYDEX® Thermoplastic sheet for interior applications including wall panels, tray tables, and window shrouds. KYDEX® sheet has outstanding aesthetics and durability as well as excellent flammability characteristics. KYDEX® Thermoplastics are available in virtually any color with low minimum order quantities and short lead times. There are a number of KYDEX® sheet grades available with enhanced antimicrobial properties for more demanding applications. Graffiti resistant grades of KYDEX® are also available.

Want to learn more? Download KYDEX® Thermoplastic Sheet for the Transportation Industry white paper.

Hard-Coated TUFFAK® Polycarbonate Sheet for Vehicle Glazing

Hard-coated TUFFAK® BG and TUFFAK® TG polycarbonates are the materials of choice for bus and railcar windows. These products have unmatched durability, transparency, and scratch resistance. They are available in a number of different colors including clear, bronze, and gray. Curbell Plastics is registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation as a fabricator of vehicle glazing. We can supply TUFFAK® polycarbonate windows cut and routered to your specifications.

Storage Cabinets

Ambulances and non-transporting EMS vehicles often have storage cabinets made from high performance plastics. KYDEX® Thermoplastic sheet is durable and it resists cleaning chemicals. It is often used for the white surfaces of emergency vehicle cabinets. Acrylic and polycarbonate sheet materials are typically specified for cabinet doors due to their transparency, durability, and light weight.

Fabrication and Machining Services

Take advantage of our plastic fabrication and machining services to save time and money on plastic parts. Utilizing in-house capabilities and partnering with fabrication specialists we provide customers with reliable fabrication solutions, machined parts and cut-to-size materials for any application.

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Need materials for transportation applications? Contact us today.

Our salespeople and technical experts are ready to work with you to identify the right plastic materials for your transportation applications.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I order plastic sheet materials in custom colors?

Yes. Plastic sheet materials are available in virtually any color. Minimum order quantities vary depending on the type of material required. 

Do plastic materials meet the flammability requirements for transportation applications?

Plastic sheet materials are available in grades that meet a variety of flammability standards including FMVSS 302, NFPA 130, and SMP 800-C.

Can tapes and adhesives by used to assemble vehicle components?

Vehicles are often assembled using methacrylate adhesives and double sided tapes. Consult with a Curbell Plastics salesperson for assistance choosing the right tapes and adhesives for your transportation applications.  

Can plastics stand up to outdoor environments?

Some plastics perform well in outdoor environments due to their inherent UV stability. Others require UV stabilizing additives and/or UV resistant cap layers to perform well in outdoor applications.