Robert Heath Trucking, a family owned and operated refrigerated transportation service company, and ATDynamics, the leading supplier of semi-trailer rear-drag aerodynamics technology in North America, have jointly announced that the trucking company will become the first refrigerated fleet in the United States to install fuel-saving aerodynamic trailer tails, also known by aerodynamicists as boat tails, across its entire fleet of trailers.
The 6.6% fuel savings achieved by the aerodynamic trailer tails at highway speed according to SAE J1321 testing will exceed fuel economy standards announced by President Obama this week which address truck fuel economy, according to said Andrew Smith, CEO and Founder of ATDynamics.
While TrailerTails are in use by refrigerated carriers across the country, Robert Heath Trucking has moved further, Robert Heath will become the first refrigerated carrier in the history of North American long-haul trucking to operate an entire fleet of trailers with tails. The company is setting a new precedent for shippers of temperature controlled products.”
Robert Heath Trucking has more than 300 temperature controlled semi-trailers serving Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, as well as other regional markets across the United States.
TrailerTails reduce the low pressure suction drag behind the large rear flat surface of trailers.
Robert Heath has already addressed the aerodynamic drag underneath their trailers with aerodynamic trailer skirting.
“By reducing the aerodynamic drag behind our trailers, we offer our customers a more environmentally sound way to move their cargo and reduce US oil dependency,” said Jody Heath, President of Robert Heath Trucking. “Rather than just meeting requirements, we are now exceeding all SmartWay requirements for trailer aerodynamics and further reducing our customer’s carbon footprint.”
TrailerTails extend four feet from the rear of the trailers to improve the aerodynamic profile of the trailer when traveling at highway speeds. The tails collapse automatically out of the way to provide unhindered access to the rear cargo doors of the trailers when loading or unloading freight.
Each TrailerTail installed on an average refrigerated trailer will offset the oil used and carbon emitted of approximately two passenger vehicles on an annual basis, said Smith.
Robert Heath Trucking invested in TrailerTail technology after testing the durability and operation of the technology. “Our company prides itself in carefully evaluating technology and then acting quickly when a new idea makes sense,” said Heath.
Since launching the upgraded thermoplastic composite TrailerTail model ten months ago, trucking fleets, including some of the largest fleets in North America, have purchased more than 5,000 TrailerTail units.
Mesilla Valley Transportation of Las Cruces, NM, was the first dry-van trucking fleet to announce a full fleet retrofit with TrailerTails in September of 2010.
“We expect many more refrigerated fleets to pursue full fleet retrofits over the next six months. The TrailerTail aerodynamics technology is addressing the largest area of aerodynamic drag still taxing the industry at the rear end of their trailers,” said Smith. “With TrailerTails, skirts and other aerodynamic modifications to trailers, one fleet can burn 12-14% less fuel than another fleet pulling the same cargo.”
Fluid dynamic modeling and on-road experience show that TrailerTails have safety benefits in addition to environmental benefits, he noted. By streamlining airflow at the rear of the trailer, TrailerTails reduce spray and enhance visibility for truck drivers and passenger vehicles in wet weather.
Manufactured in the United States and verified by the EPA SmartWay program, TrailerTail technology is compatible with all major refrigerated and dry van trailer configurations and is available factory-installed.
TrailerTails were approved for operation on US highways by the Department of Transportation in 2008 and are the only stand-alone rear mounted aerodynamic device which provides full compliance with California Air Resources Board trailer aerodynamics requirements, Smith said.