“Fuel-efficient, lightweight, durable and affordable are what best describe our new generation side skirts,” said Sean Graham, president of Freight Wing, who brought some of the first trailer side skirts to market seven years ago.
“With the reduced price of the AeroFlex 2012, the return on investment is often less than 35,000 miles of trailer utilization,” said Graham. “We want to help fleets and owner operators that need to comply with the California mandate of trailer aerodynamics, by lowering the cost of implementations. However with today’s fuel prices, many of our customers are realizing that aerodynamic side skirts represent one of the best investments they can make regardless of the California rules. Plus, we now offer financing programs that result in net profits from day one, as payments are significantly less than the fuel savings.”
With more than 30,000 sets of side skirts on the road today, Freight Wing is a market leader and has hundreds of fleet customers that are experiencing the benefits of improved fuel economy.
According to Graham, Freight Wing customers are seeing from a 4- to 7-percent improvement in fuel economy, depending on their application and operating speeds. AeroFlex side skirts showed a 7 percent reduction in fuel consumption at 65 mph in J1321 Joint TMC/SAE Fuel Consumption Test Procedure Type II track testing. The EPA SmartWay program has verified the AeroFlex 2012 as an “advanced trailer skirt,” and it therefore meets the aerodynamic requirements of California regulations as a single device.
“With our latest generation AeroFlex side skirts we deliver great fuel economy performance, only in a redesigned package that is 30 pounds lighter at only 150 pounds total, yet just as durable as our original AeroFlex side skirt,” said Graham.
Using a dense matrix polyethylene material — a custom engineered automotive plastic — AeroFlex 2012 side skirts were formulated for extreme conditions. “Simply put, the material we use is the most durable, most flexible and lightest weight on the market,” Graham said. “They’ve been tested to withstand temperatures beyond what any trucker would ever encounter — from minus 103-degrees Fahrenheit to 158-degrees Fahrenheit. Plus they have excellent ‘shape memory’ — able to return to their original form after large impacts better than any other material we’ve tested. That’s critical for long-life performance and years of productive service.”
According to Graham, the AeroFlex 2012 also incorporates a new mounting clamp system that is easier to install and maintain. “We still use fiberglass rods, which provide ample support and flexibility — allowing the three-part skirt panels to bend in or up, should they have a side impact, or if they bottom out. But the mounting system attaching the rods to the trailer has been improved to prevent slipping during extreme impacts, and therefore the adjustment of rods to maintain fairing alignment.
While other trailer side skirt manufacturers use fiberglass or aluminum panels, Graham said those can have problems with impact resistance or damage when dragged over pavement in low clearance situations.
“Our earliest generation of side skirts, seven years ago, featured aluminum panels that worked well, as long as they didn’t run into anything,” said Graham. “We then tried fiberglass, which had much better side impact resistance, but would crack and fray after repeated ground impacts. All our research, testing and experience has shown that high tech automotive plastics withstand ground impacts better than other materials on the market. This allows our skirts to hug the road — with less gap between the road and the skirt, which improves aerodynamics and fuel economy. We encourage our customers to look closely at skirt materials, flexibility and mounting systems and test them thoroughly. All side skirts are not alike; some will last longer and ultimately save more money than others. That’s why we’re so excited about the AeroFlex 2012.”
About Freight Wing
Seattle-based Freight Wing was incorporated in 2003. The company’s mission is to provide practical fleet fuel savings through innovative improvements to the aerodynamic profile of semi trailers. It manufactures and distributes a full line of fairings, including trailer side skirts, belly fairings, and gap fairings and customized products for a variety of trucking applications. Freight Wing products represent the most thoroughly evaluated aerodynamic trailer fairings available to the trucking industry. Multiple scientific testing projects, to validate fuel economy improvements, have been conducted by third parties including the U.S. Department of Energy, the EPA SmartWay Program and Transport Canada.