An aerodynamic system with components that mount under the trailer offer an alternative to side-mounted skirts and can improve fuel economy by up to 11%, according to developer SmartTruck. The UT-6 Trailer UnderTray System is also approved by EPA’s SmartWay program as a verified aerodynamic device.
The UT-6’s basic component is fitted ahead of a trailer’s axles, changing the airflow as it emerges from underneath the trailer to reduce drag and improve baseline fuel efficiency by 8.5%, according to the company. Additional components mounted around the wheels and at the rear of the trailer can further reduce drag to deliver the 11% improvement seen in test run for the company.
“Drawing on our experience in aerospace technology and motorsports aerodynamics, we’re able to make the airflow work for, not against the truck,” said Steve Wulff, sr. vp & gm. “There’s a lot of science and sophisticated aerodynamic modeling behind these products.”
The system is made of polyethylene plastic and mounted with galvanized hardware and fasteners to resist weather and chemical damage, according to the company. A full UT-6 system adds approximately 350 lbs to a dry van trailer and installation is said to take approximately three hours.
“Previous attempts to gain a return on our investment of typical trailer aerodynamic technologies haven’t existed until now,” said Bruce Stockton, vp of maintenance & asset management for Con-way Truckload, which has been testing the system. “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.”