It’s important to visually inspect the side skirt, fasteners and bracketry for damage and integrity – especially if the skirts bottom out frequently in your operations, or if you’ve had a hard side impact.
Again, damage to your side skirts will depend upon the material used in the side skirt, and on the bracketry and its flexibility. Some will take a hit better than others.
As we move forward in the years to come, much has been made about the need to improve the fuel efficiency of tractors and trailers even further, and many millions of dollars have been earmarked by the U.S. Department of Energy to help the cause.
We, too, are involved and our goal is to realize a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy over trailers without fairings. This is a 6 percent improvement over what is commercially available now (through our side skirt and gap fairing).
This improvement would come from a combination of side skirts, gap fairings (streamlining turbulence between the tractor and trailer) and fairings at the end of the trailer.
But, in the here and now, products are available to streamline air, and your fuel bill, through side skirts. And, with a payback and ROI that can be measured in months, not years, trailer skirts are quickly becoming a common sight on highways.
Sean Graham is president of Freight Wing. Based in Seattle, WA, the company manufactures and distributes a full line of trailer side skirts, belly fairings, gap fairings and customized products for a variety of trucking applications. Freight Wing products are SmartWay- and Transport Canada-verified.
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