PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — FlowBelow Aero, a company that produces wheel covers and fairings for tractors and trailers, has introduced a new system for flatdeck and tanker fleets.
The introduction was made at the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.
The modified AeroKit has proven in testing to provided even greater savings than the company touts for van and reefer applications. While those users see a fuel economy improvement of 2.23%, verified by SAE Type II third-party testing, the company says tanker and flatdeck fleets are seeing closer to 3% in fuel economy improvements.
This is a big development, according to Bren Marshell, vice-president of sales for FlowBelow, since tanker and flatdeck fleets have traditionally had few options when it comes to aerodynamic devices that work in their applications.
“They have limited options to improve trailer aerodynamics,” Marshell said. “They were very eager. These guys haven’t had anything to buy.”
Indian River was the first tanker fleet to deploy the new, modified AeroKit. Now there are 1,000 systems deployed on tanker and flatbed units, Marshell said.
“All are seeing greater numbers than what we get on vans and reefers,” he said.
The company tweaked its existing AeroKit to adapt it for tanker and flatdeck applications. Some of the challenges it had to overcome included a larger tractor to trailer gap, a less aerodynamic trailer underbody and less opportunity for connecting and streamlining the airflow from the tractor to the trailer and along the trailer’s body.
FlowBelow now has about 10,000 trucks on the road equipped with the AeroKit system across all applications, and Marshell said he expects that to climb to 35,000 units by the end of 2016. He said the fairings between the wheels differentiate the AeroKit from traditional wheel covers, increasing fuel savings from about 0.5% to 2.23-3%.
Another differentiator is the patented quick-release system that allows operators to access the wheels within just three seconds without tools, rather than having to physically detach the wheel covers from the wheels.
FlowBelow now has an aerodynamic kit for tanker and flatdeck fleets.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies