Stemco unveils auto-deploying TrailerTail

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Stemco has unveiled an aerodynamic TrailerTail that automatically deploys when a trailer reaches 55 km/h, and automatically stows away when the vehicle slows or shifts into reverse.

The timing of the announcement at the Truck World trade show seemed particularly relevant. Just a day before, panelists at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Summit were discussing the cost of deployed tails that are damaged when backing into loading docks.

“It virtually eliminates the possibility for damage,” says Bill Power, national sales manager at Stemco. Of course, even without the automation, the average cost of maintaining a Trailer Tail is $13 per year in parts, he adds.

The automatically deploying feature is available on the SmartWay-certified TrailerTail Trident model, which consists of three panels that are three feet wide, and the capabilities can also be retrofitted on existing models.

It’s all activated by an air cylinder, and closed with a manual spring. On the lower right side there’s also a damper to ensure the TrailerTail will stay closed in high winds.

Speeds and direction are determined using Stemco’s wheel-mounted TracBat Aero speed sensor, which is based on electronic hubometers. And the all-important data is transmitted by an RF signal.

Stemco acquired AT Dynamics and TrailerTail in 2015, and more than 55,000 units have been sold in North America. In Canada, the devices are mounted on 4,800 units operated by 40 fleets – even though it’s only been a year since Quebec updated its weights and dimensions regulations to allow them.

“Now it’s coast to coast,” Power said of the updated rules. Only Alberta requires a special permit.

The Stemco TrailerTail Automatic has been tested in Canada for about two years, and about 100 units are already on the road.

The system will be broadly available in the third quarter of this year.


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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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