SmartTruck introduces, begins production

SmartTruck, a new manufacturer of aerodynamic products for the trucking industry, introduced its UT-6 Trailer UnderTray System today at the 2010 ATA Management Conference & Exhibition.

SmartTruck has begun production of the system, which provides a fuel efficiency gain of at least 8.5 percent for the base model, with the full UT-6 trailer system delivering more than 11 percent gains in fuel efficiency, according to test results.

The system was designed as part of SmartTruck’s goal of improving the aerodynamic performance of Class 8 tractor-trailer units by nearly 60 percent.

“With aerodynamic forces accounting for a significant portion of a truck’s fuel efficiency, we’re providing the trucking industry with the ROI-driven, next generation in trailer aerodynamics,” said Mitch Greenberg, president, SmartTruck. “Fleets want to see the return on their investment. We have the testing and research to back our product, and now we look forward to making a difference for fleets and owner-operators across North America.”

“We want to take a Class 8 tractor-trailer rig and reduce its drag coefficient to lower than that of a low-drag, sports car,” added Mike Henderson, SmartTruck CEO and chief scientist. “That’s a big task, but we’re using our experience in the aerospace, motorsports and automotive industries to make it happen.

“With the roll-out of our first product, the Trailer UnderTray System, we’re well on our way. This system reduces drag by as much as 18 percent, increasing highway fuel efficiency by more than 11 percent.”

The UT-6 system starts with a base model, with additional components and options available to further enhance the performance of the system. The SmartTruck system is on the verified aerodynamic technologies list in the EPA SmartWay program.

Partnerships

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, SmartTruck utilized the Jaguar high-performance computing (HPC) system to help develop its aerodynamic designs.

Jaguar is a Cray XT5 system and is currently the world’s fastest computer. Jaguar supports government, academic, and industrial research in energy, environmental and basic science that is important to the United States.

After designing the new Trailer UnderTray System, SmartTruck conducted SAE J1321 Type II testing, as well as aerodynamic straight line testing, to compare Class 8 tractor-trailer efficiency.

The results showed a significant jump in fuel efficiency for tractor-trailers equipped with the SmartTruck UT-6 UnderTray System:





SmartTruck also partnered with Michelin to understand the effects of tires on aerodynamics. The testing also found that using wide single tires along with the UnderTray System components improved the trailer aerodynamics, resulting in fuel efficiency by an additional 0.75 to 1 percent.

“While rolling resistance accounts for roughly 35 percent of fuel use, aerodynamic forces account for approximately 40 percent,” said Don Baldwin, product marketing manager Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “With the advances Michelin has made in reducing rolling resistance through X One wide single tires, it’s great to see SmartTruck making similar strides with their UnderTray System.

“The fact that wide single tires make a trailer more aerodynamic only adds to the benefits that both of these technologies provide.”

Components

The SmartTruck UnderTray System is made of durable polyethylene plastic - a 100 percent recyclable material used in many truck and marine applications, said Steve Wulff, the company’s senior vice president and general manager. “The material is proven to stand up to the abuse of the road, chemicals and weather, meaning the SmartTruck system is designed to last as long as your trailer.

“Installation of the system on existing trailers is straight-forward,” he continued. “The system is bolted to the trailer using weather-resistant, galvanized hardware and fasteners. No special tools or equipment is needed the trailer can be ready to roll in as little as three hours.”

Carriers

A number of fleets are initial customers for SmartTruck products, including Con-way Truckload, Frito-Lay and PepsiCo. Other fleets will be evaluating the SmartTruck system, including Swift Transportation, Lily Transportation and Fremont Contract Carriers.

SmartTruck’s UT-6 system will enable Con-way Truckload to more than double the fuel mileage improvement offered by typical trailer aerodynamic technologies and provide a true return on the investment, according to Bruce Stockton, vice president of maintenance and asset management, Greenberg said.

“SmartTruck’s technology is like none other available in the industry today,” he said. “Previous attempts to gain a return on our investment of typical trailer aerodynamic technologies haven’t existed until now.

“With years of aerospace experience at their back, we believe SmartTruck has found a way to utilize the airflow and minimize turbulence around a tractor-trailer, while improving safety as well as fuel efficiency.”

“PepsiCo and Frito-Lay are committed to improving the performance of its entire fleet, particularly in the miles per gallon,” said Mark Whittaker, vice president, transportation, PepsiCo. “We are working on improving Class 8 vehicle mpg and SmartTruck's UT-6 is an important step forward in this mission.”

“Midlands Carrier Transicold is excited to work with SmartTruck on making this new trailer concept available to fleets and owner-operators,” said Bill Willett, president, Midlands Carrier Transicold, an Omaha, NE dealer working with SmartTruck. “The initial reaction to the UnderTray system has been excellent. In fact, our first fleet customer took all of our evaluation units.”

The SmartTruck UnderTray System is made of durable polyethylene plastic – a 100 percent recyclable material used in many truck and marine applications. The material is proven to stand up to the abuse of the road, chemicals and weather, meaning the SmartTruck system is designed to last as long as your trailer.

“Installation of the system on existing trailers is straight-forward,” said Wulff. “The system is bolted to the trailer using weather-resistant, galvanized hardware and fasteners. No special tools or equipment is needed - the trailer can be ready to roll in as little as three hours.”

Trial offer

Under its 10-4 Guarantee offer, SmartTruck will provide up to 10 Trailer UnderTray Systems to a fleet. If within four months, the fleet is not satisfied with the overall performance of the system, the units may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price.

“We’re very confident in the performance of our product,” said Greenberg.

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