WITH ever increasing fuel costs, trailer aerodynamics is growing in importance as a source for reducing fuel & carbon emissions. A key issue raised by transporters, however, is whether the variety of
accessories available on the market are, in fact, proven or not.
Freight Wing, based in the US, a leading specialist in the field of trailer aerokits, having supplied over 100,000 aerokits into the US market was recently in South Africa for the launch of their product in South Africa with Serco, who are their local partners. Known as the ‘Aeroflex’ system, it is described as “the complete solution to trailer aerodynamics, combining skirts, gap and tail fairing.”
The Chief Operations Officer of Freightwing in the US, Coty Hollifield, was at the breakfast held in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg to deliver a presentation on the product, which helps reduce wind, drag under a trailer and are particularly suitable for vehicles travelling long distances.
Serco Managing Director Clinton Holcroft said the lightweight flexible plastic panels used in the side skirts were resilient in the event of contact with fixed objects, had a smooth finish providing an ideal surface for branding and had a potentially attractive payback.
Hollifield said the side skirts have proven in independent testing in the US to achieve savings of 7.45%, and as a result have grown in popularity as transporters look for a competitive edge. Holcroft said Freightwing had arranged for a formal test to be done locally on a Serco trailer at Gerotek. Conditions for the test were stringent and in line with parameters required in the United States. The process involved testing over a two-day period, where the variables such as tyre pressure, trailer and truck weight, driver habits, temperature and wind speed are all monitored so as to ensure accurate readings can be measured of the fuel consumption with and without the Aeroflex skirts fitted.
At 80km.h, a minimum saving of 2,5% on fuel was achieved. “This is significant because such a saving results in a payback of less than 12 months. During the testing we picked up some ideas to fine tune the fitment to achieve a result more in line with the proven fuel savings achieved in the USA. We are now in the process of refining our fitment techniques, which we believe will get fuel savings close to our target of 5%,” said Holcroft.
Serco has devised a return on investment calculator and loaded it on to their website to enable customers to get an idea of what sort of payback they could achieve with the Aeroflex fairings.
“Saving running costs while going greener couldn’t be easier.”