Trailer Talk

Extensively faired trailers show big savings, skirt maker says

October 12, 2012

Brian Layfield, president of Laydon Composites Ltd. in Ontario, Canada, read our recent Trailer Talk about the MAN-Krone aero tractor-trailer shown at the IAA show in Germany.

He sent in these comments about the trailer's wheels being covered by deep skirts, and about extensive fairings in general:

"We have had full aero concept trailers here in North America for five years. The problem always gets down to the perceived maintenance with wheels covered and the additional costs. With fuel in Europe at $8.00 per gallon you start to overlook a lot of the operational issues.

"The bullet train doubles we tested at ARC reduced fuel consumption by over 12%. This technology is available here in North America. All we need are customers.

"The testing on the Conway trailer was done using the (SAE-TMC) J1321 Type 2 and 3 test methods and all performed by Goodyear at their facility in San Angelo, Texas. The 53-foot trailer showed an 11.5% fuel savings and would cost $1500.

"The Doubles were done in the 1/8th scale tunnel at Auto Research Center in Indianapolis," he said. Wind tunnel data indicated fuel savings of the extensively faired doubles combination ranged from 8% at 50 mph to 15.6% at 75 mph. Data compilation followed SAE J1252 procedures.

"To equip a set of doubles as shown, including the tractor chassis fairings, is approximately $2,500," Layfield said.

Next - what would it cost to keep such fairings in good repair? We'll look into that.