PHILADELPHIA. Specialty haulers such as flatbed and tanker fleets now have an aero add-on option previously available only for van carriers.
FlowBelow Aero Inc. reports that its Tractor AeroKit is delivering average fuel savings of up to 3 percent on tanker and flatbed tractors, versus 2.23 percent fuel savings on dry van and refrigerated van trailers. That’s based on on-road fleet usage, FlowBelow Vice President of Sales Bren Marshell told editors here for the American Trucking Assns. Management Conference and Exhibition this week.
The kit includes quick-release wheel covers and a pair of tandem fairings installed on the tractor that work together as a complete aerodynamic system to address the complex airflow around the exposed rear wheels of the tractor. The patented AeroKit system reduces aerodynamic drag and improves fuel efficiency of the tractor, typically providing a return on investment for long haul trucking fleets in one year or less, FlowBelow reports.
Marshell attributed the increased fuel efficiency of the AeroKit in tanker and flatbed applications to the more turbulent airflow around these specialty trailers compared to a standard dry van, making the aerodynamic improvement from the attachments even greater.
Additionally, limited options have been available to tanker and flatbed fleets for optimizing trailer aerodynamics, as equipment such as boat tails and side skirts are generally not compatible with these trailer types due to the trailer’s configuration, underbody design and equipment and the types of loads hauled.
Fleets gain further financial benefit from the Tractor AeroKit because it’s mounted to the tractor versus the trailer and therefore fuel savings are not diminished by the fleet’s ratio of tractors to trailers or drop and hook operations.
The FlowBelow AeroKit fairings are made of durable and flexible thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) material commonly used in automotive applications. Each kit includes four quick-release wheel covers, which provide instantaneous access to the wheel end via FlowBelow’s patented ‘push and turn’ quick-release latching system. The 70-pound can be installed on both new and existing semi-tractors in less than one hour, and fleets conducting rapid fleet-wide installations report that a single technician can install each AeroKit in as little as 30 minutes per truck, the company says.
The fairings come standard in black or white, but can be ordered to match a fleet’s color scheme or can be painted by the customer. The wheel covers, also standard in black or white, can be ordered in brushed or polished chrome.
More than 160 North American trucking fleets have deployed some 10,000 Tractor AeroKits, with over 1,000 of those units currently installed on tanker and flatbed fleets. The company projects sales of an additional 25,000 Tractor AeroKit units in 2016.