One of North America's largest railroads approached Aerofficient and asked for fairings that could save fuel during long drayage operations, said Jim Reiman, the company's CEO, during a press announcement at the American Trucking Associations' annual management conference Sunday. Designers responded with a product that will stand up to the punishment of container loading but deliver the same fuel efficiencies as van and reefer fairings.
The panels are hung on brackets that cantilever outward from a chassis' central beams so they match the container's side walls, he explained. A patent-pending design feature lets the top of the fairing flex and bend to absorb the shock of an imperfect loading operation.
"We spent a great deal of time and resources studying this market before creating our new intermodal chassis fairing," Reiman said. "Durability and the necessity to absorb shocks and collisions with containers during the loading and unloading process were identified as 'mission critical' design criteria.
"It is now well established that side fairings can significantly reduce fleets' operating costs through fuel savings, but only if the fairing can survive the rigors of real world operating conditions.
"If a trailer has to be pulled off the road to repair or replace a fairing, even if it's done at no charge, it still ultimately costs the customer money and dramatically affects the ROI."
Aerofficient's new Basic fairings for vans and reefer trailers feature the same geometry, panels and attachment clamps as its hinged line of fairings, but omit the hinge, he said.
Flexible panels will bend inward and outward to negotiate obstacles as high as 18 inches, and will not warp in the sun or crack in the cold.
They naturally shed snow and ice, weigh just 97 pounds per side in standard installations, and are offered in multiple configurations. They also cost about 20% less than the hinged side skirts.
"Adding the hinge is an expense that some fleets just do not need due to the nature of their particular transport," explained Reiman. "The Basic Line is still the same superior flexible, durable product as our original hinged product, it just doesn't have the hinge.
"Those fleets with less experienced drivers, steep loading docks and unpredictable or extreme conditions will be encouraged to use our original hinged design. Those with less extreme conditions will find the Basic Line a more cost effective solution since both lines generate the same fuel savings."
Current products include high-quality, lightweight and extremely durable side skirt fairings that meet EPA SmartWay standards. Soon to be introduced are a front gap fairing and a collapsible rear fairing. More information is at www.aerofficient.com.