Vanguard Trailers is exploring some new design elements to make trailers lighter and easier to build without compromising durability or product life cycle.
Mark Roush, Vanguard's director of engineering, explained during a press conference at Mid-America that using adhesives instead of rivets to construct the sidewalls of a new 53-ft. dry van prototype allowed the company to speed up production time while lowering costs. And as the adhesive's strength is rated at 2,200 psi, trailer durability isn't affected.
“It also allows for a smoother sidewall, improving trailer aerodynamics and decal application, and reduces the risk of corrosion by eliminating metal rivets,” he explained.
Vanguard is also experimenting with a new composite floor for its trailers, saving 700 lbs. without changing the trailer's 18,000-lb. floor weight rating. “This composite material won't rot or corrode like wood nor does it mind getting wet,” Roush said.
Vanguard is also testing new “underside” trailer skirts around the landing gear and rear axles to help improve a 53-ft. trailer's fuel economy profile. “These trailer skirts could potentially improve fuel economy by 7% or more,” Roush said.