A Stemco Trailer Tail can save several percent in fuel at highway speeds, but it does no good if it’s not folded out and smoothing air flow over the top and sides of the van or reefer. So it must have been good news to believers in the product when an automatically deploying version was introduced recently. And it so happens that this product was one of the finalists in competition for the Truck Writers' Technical Achievement Award, announced last week.
A number of truck writers involved in the annual award process thought the device was useful enough that they nominated it. The Stemco Trailer Tail AutoDeploy was available during 2018, so was eligible. It was also among the dozen or so product nominees considered innovative and possessing the potential to make an impact on the trucking industry, other criteria for the award.
Cummins’ lightweight and powerful X12 diesel got the most votes from the truck writers, so won the award. (I was one of the people on the committee, and Jim Park, HDT's equipment editor, was the chairman).
The latest TrailerTail incorporates speed-sensing radar that automatically deploys the TrailerTail when the vehicle reaches 35 mph, Stemco says. The AutoDeploy system features a notification light that indicates whether the tail is opened or closed, which protects against damage when the driver is backing up.
The system is compatible with both new trailers and as a retrofit for existing TrailerTail Trident models, Stemco says. If it works as promised, I’d call it very clever and useful.
If fleets begin buying the automatic version and current users switch to it, sightings of closed TrailerTails on the highway should gradually disappear.