LOUISVILLE, Ky. – ATDynamics has introduced two new products it says significantly improve fuel efficiency and will help long-haul fleets operating in California to comply with upcoming state requirements for aerodynamic devices and low rolling resistance tires.
The company claims field tests on its trailer side skirts have delivered a 7.4% fuel-efficiency improvement at 62 mph, based on SAE J1321 testing validated by the US EPA SmartWay program. The other product unveiled was a wide-base tire mount, which simplifies the adoption of the fuel efficient tires by making it possible to carry a spare super single tire on either the tractor or the trailer.
The side skirts are made of flexible thermoplastic panels and are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and uneven terrain. Jeff Grossmann, director of customer fulfillment for ATDynamics, said that while any material can be used as a skirt to improve the trailer’s aerodynamics, not all materials can stand up to the wear and tear of a trucking operation. The material must be able to stand up to harsh weather and be able to bend but not break. Quebec’s Robert Transport tested 250 of the skirt kits and to date have had no incidents requiring repairs, according to Grossmann.
The side skirts have an expected life of 10 years and carry a five-year warranty, which Grossman said was the industry’s longest. One set of skirts weighs 175 pounds and requires 2 people 3 hours to install. The set carries a suggested retail price of $2,200, although there are discounts for volume buyers. They are compatible with all common trailer specifications and will be available for retrofit and for factory installation by select trailer OEMs.
ATDynamics’ SuperSpare wide base tire mount is designed to answer one of the main issues surrounding super singles: the lack of a wide distribution network for spares. Although considered a top item for aiding in fuel reduction, only about 2% of industry trucks are equipped with them because owner/operators and fleets are afraid of not been able to easily find a quick replacement in the event they blow a tire or having to pay exorbitant fees to get the replacement. Wide base singles don’t fit on conventional tire mounts.
The SuperSpare is available in two models. The SuperSpare for Tractors is compatible with any tractor with 43 inches of clear frame rail between its fuel tank and drive wheels. The SuperSpare for Trailers 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.
The SuperSpare requires one person working 30 minutes to install.
A third product from ATDynamics, the previously released TrailerTail is a rear-mounted aerodynamic device that can achieve SmartWay-validated fuel savings of than 5.1% at 62 mph, based on SAE J131 testing.
Under first-of-their kind standards for trailer aerodynamics approved by the California Air Resources Board, effective in stages beginning in 2010, most 53-foot dry vans operating in the state must be equipped with aerodynamic devices that improve fuel efficiency by at least 5%, while for refrigerated trailers the benchmark is 4%.
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