With the high fuel prices of last summer still much on truckers’ minds, ATDynamics rolled out several new products at the recent Mid America Trucking Show to help fleets improve the fuel -sipping abilities of trailers.
“Trailer aerodynamic devices have gone from being fringe products to accepted, mainstream components all due to the dramatic fluctuations in fuel prices we’ve experienced lately,” said Andrew Smith, CEO of ATDynamics.
In 2008, also at Mid America, the company introduced its patented rear-mounted “TrailerTail” – foldable panels that fit over the rear doors of a trailer to reduce drag – that it said can improve fuel efficiency by 5.1% at 62 mph, based on SAE J1321 testing.
Now ATDynamics is bringing a new “side skirt” design to the trailer market, built with a durable yet flexible thermoplastic composite material so it “bends” rather than dents or breaks. These new side skirts – manufactured in a partnership with Montreal-based Transtex Composite Inc. – demonstrated a 7.4% fuel-efficiency improvement at 62 mph, based on SAE J1321 testing validated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, said Smith.
Jeff Grossman, director of customer fulfillment for ATDynamics, noted that the side skirts are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and uneven terrain and should last 10 years. The company is confident enough in the design and the material to offer a five-year warranty on them.
“Performance means nothing without durability,” said Grossman. “We looked at the landscape of side skirts that are on or almost on the market. Over the long term, the panels used in the Transtex design should provide the lowest cost operation to fleets.”
The company is also offering the SuperSpare tire mount, designed so fleets that use wide-base tires can mount a spare unit on either the trailer or tractor—but not affect the under-chassis airflow, which would increase drag and so hurt fuel economy.
Developed in partnership with Mesilla Valley Transportation of Las Cruces, NM, the SuperSpare is compatible with any tractor with 43 in. of clear frame rail between its fuel tank and drive wheels. On trailers, it fits between cross members on the underside of a trailer and allows
unobstructed access to a spare tire on a trailer equipped with side skirts, said Grossman.