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Aerodynamics, CARB Standards Drive Transportation Product Launches

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) trailer fuel efficiency mandates which require 5 percent and above fuel efficiency gains were a focus of products launched at the ATA 2012 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Tampa, Fla.

Fleet Owner rounded up the developments, pointing out the fuel efficiency achievements by the manufacturers and designers on hand in Tampa.

According to Fleet Owner, manufacturers of aerodynamic devices expect strong business from retrofits related to the new standards but also considered the importance of delivering low-cost products to fleets. New aerodynamic devices, which ranged in price from $700 to $1,600, included the following:

ATDynamics showed RollTail, a variation of its TrailerTail aerodynamic rear fairing device designed for dry van trailers. The new device weighs 160 lbs., and improves fuel economy by 4 to 5 percent at 62 mph as determined by SAE Type II J1321 testing.

Solus Solutions & Technologies showed seven “split skirt” configurations that could bring fuel savings above 5 percent. The split skirts weigh less than 200 lbs. with configuration offering between eight and 20 inches of total ground clearance.

Solus’s wheel cavity uses NASA’s deep cavity flow control technology for unlimited access to the lug nut and axle oil lube level and 1.3 percent in fuel savings.

Laydon Composites Ltd.’s (LCL) Hybrid 248 fairings for intermodal trailers attain 5 percent fuel economy savings and are designed to avoid damage from tongs of intermodal cranes.

LCL’s The Curve is a 129 lb. wishbone underside fairing that starts as a single fairing then splits in two to cover the rear axle assembly. It also delivered 5 percent fuel economy savings.

SmartTruck’s Under Tray UT-1 device is for the underside of the trailer only, and brings a 5.5 percent savings.

Also at the conference, Double Coin Tires and China Manufacturers Alliance (CMA) said they plan to bring a wide-base trailer tire – the FT125 – to the U.S. market. Double Coin’s FT125 wide base trailer tire weighs 168 lbs. compared to the 200 to 230 lb. weight of a typical dual-tire pairing on a trailer axle.

Buoyed by its recent compliance evaluation from EPA SmartWay, the company plans to reach full production of the FT125 late this year or in early 2013, Fleet Owner said.

Photo: Solus

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