TAMPA, Fla. — The gap between a tractor and trailer is seen as one of the next frontiers in vehicle aerodynamics, and Jost believes it has the component that can make a difference. It comes in the form of a fifth wheel that automatically alters the size of the gap while equipment is running down the road.
Based on the Pro Tech slider, the Smart Gap System (SGS) will move toward a cab at one inch per second, back at two inches per second, or back at five inches per second in the event of a sudden stop. The maximum shift will be from 12 to 36 inches. Of course, the product would only be viable to a fleet that does not meet maximum gross weights, eliminating the worry of overloading an axle.
The system includes a hydraulic cylinder, 12-volt hydraulic-electric power unit, and a hydraulic accumulator.
“We wanted to be the first to market with the technology,” says Rich Carroll, vice-president, sales and marketing. The patent on the idea of moving a fifth wheel on a moving vehiicle was actually secured five years ago.
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