Photo via Transtex

Photo via Transtex

Transtex Composite says its Edge aero improvers for van trailers have been granted Elite status by the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program. The company announced this at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s recent equipment expo in Nashville, 

Elite means a set of equipment will save at least 9% in fuel at highway speeds – nothing to blow off with a shrug, as long as a trailer spends a good portion of its time moving down the highway and not sitting in a yard somewhere.

The ELITE designation was issued by the EPA in late December 2014 for Edge skirt-tail and for the skirt-tail-cone combinations, according to Marc Bolduc, Transtex’s general manager. 

Skirts are hung from a trailer’s sides – a familiar sight on today’s Interstates – and direct air away from the undercarriage. The cone is placed on the nose to reduce turbulence behind the cab or sleeper and the front of the trailer. The Edge Tail mounts on the trailer’s rear to reduce the suction effect caused by swirling air.

The Tail resembles the Trailer Tail from ATDynamics, but seems unique in that its panels automatically deploy when the rig reaches about 45 mph, then fold up as it slows down. No powered mechanism is needed.

Air suction pulls out the hinged, 30-inch-long panels, Bolduc explained, and the reduced vacuum at lower speeds allows the spring-loaded panels to retract. A video showing it work is here.

Edge panels are made from strong, lightweight glass-reinforced thermoplastic material, he said. The flexible side panels give quite a bit when encountering an obstruction, then pop back into shape, as shown on another You Tube video near the Tail demo.

The products are the result of a decade of engineering, design and testing, he said. That included wind tunnel testing at Auto Research Center in Indianapolis. Much of ARC’s work is for auto racing teams, and thanks to Bolduc I got a tour of the place a couple of years ago. The testing isn’t cheap at about $30,000 per day, but answers a lot of questions about a fairing’s design.

Edge products are available for most commercial configurations including 53-foot trailers, 28-foot pups, and intermodal chassis, and may be custom ordered in various colors and material compositions. 

Next week: What are SmartWay’s Elite guidelines?

Author

Tom Berg
Tom Berg

Tom Berg

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

View Bio
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