ATLANTA. Eco Flaps said an evaluation with Exa Corp. on the use of its aerodynamic splash guards on less-than-truckload equipment found significant fuel savings, even when used with more than one trailer.
“The segment of the trucking industry that run with two or three trailers at a time, which includes most LTL carriers, is really limited when it comes to aerodynamic devices. Most are designed specifically for single-trailer application,” said Bren Marshell, vice president of sales for Eco Flaps. “Our recent work with Exa Corporation shows that when Eco Flaps are installed in all flap positions on multiple trailers, drag is reduced significantly, resulting in greater fuel savings and quick [reutrn on investment].”
Last fall, Eco Flaps commissioned Exa to perform an aerodynamics and fuel economy analysis using a day cab tractor with two 28-foot trailers connected by a dolly. This particular configuration runs with eight mud flaps and is known to have more complicated aerodynamic issues due to multiple gaps and a greater area of flap wind resistance.
For the testing, Exa created four scenarios: a baseline with conventional flaps, changing out the truck and dolly flaps for Eco Flaps, a full swap out of all eight flaps for Eco Flaps, and an equipment setup with no flaps used.
The results showed a 4.7% improvement in drag at highway speeds when all eight flaps were removed - even though the pup trailers already utilized aerodynamic skirts. The use of eight Eco Flaps created the same results. The total fuel savings from this amount of drag reduction is estimated at 2.7%.