Leading trailer brand, Freighter showcased its aerodynamic concept trailer for the first time at the Brisbane Truck Show.
Aptly named the Freighter AeroLiner, the new trailer features a number of aerodynamic components, and is based on the Company’s patented EziLiner trailer with efficient buckle-less curtains. Key features also include side skirts, a sloping roof, automated tyre inflation and the first boat tail approved for trial on Australian roads.
Calling the boat tail in particular, a ground-breaking development, Stuart McMurtrie, MaxiTRANS Group Marketing Manager said that they worked closely with state regulators to gain approval for operating an on-road evaluation trial on a boat tail device in Australia. Boat tails are already in operation in the US and Europe, however different operating conditions in Australia have meant that it hasn’t been possible to introduce them here until now.
Freighter chose the AT Dynamics ‘Trailer Tail’ following an extensive review of available boat tail devices and also received transport authority approval to coordinate a trial with the AT Dynamics product in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Up to 15 combinations are set to hit the road in the coming months to begin gathering data. The trial will last for one year, and McMurtrie already has high expectations for the results.
He explains that US trials have shown fuel savings of between 5% and 7% when using the ‘Trailer Tail’, and he expects a similar result with the Australian trial.
While McMurtrie says that Freighter and Maxi-CUBE have been fitting aerodynamic side skirts for some time now, the skirts on display have several useful features including lift-up panels for easy access to the spare tyre and also compliance with under-run protection requirements. Their lightness in weight and strength is a result of the use of honeycomb reinforced MaxiLITE panels made in Melbourne by MaxiTRANS, and are easily repaired or replaced if damaged.
The other eye-catching feature of the Freighter AeroLiner on display in Brisbane is the sloping roof with the front quarter of the roof of the trailer having a moderate gradient, lowering the leading edge of the roof by 240mm, which McMurtrie says is intended to line up with the adjoining prime mover’s ‘air scoop’ in order to reduce drag from airflow buffeting the front of the trailer.
McMurtrie claims that the sloping roof has a great deal of potential as an aerodynamic measure, with UK tests showing potential fuel savings of around 7% on this feature, resulting in probable payback of less than a year when used predominantly on line-haul applications.
Freighter engineers will be undertaking tests on the sloping roof in the coming months to confirm these figures.
The AeroLiner also features an automated Meritor tyre inflation system, which is expected to help provide potential fuel savings of 1-4% while increasing tyre life by up to 10%, as per the Australian Government Energy Efficiency Exchange website’s figures on the benefits of maintaining correct tyre pressures.
McMurtrie is bullish about the chances of trailers such as the AeroLiner becoming a constant on Australian roads in the not-so-distant future, given the rising cost of fuel.