LOUISVILLE, KY. Aerofficient announced that production of its new Slider side fairing for on-highway trailers will begin in April at a news conference here on Friday during the Mid-America Trucking Show. The company said the unique, patent pending system automatically expands or contracts when the trailer's axles are moved to fill the gap between the trailing edge of a standard “fixed” trailer side fairing and the trailer’s tires.

The new Slider can be installed with the company’s fixed fairings on new trailers, or added to units with existing Aerofficient fixed side fairings.

“In TMC Type IV testing by a prominent fleet using an independent fuel economy testing expert, our Slider fairing boosted fuel savings by 80% over trailers using standard fixed fairings in a zero wind condition when the trailer’s tandems were set at the 41-ft setting,” said Jim Reiman, CEO of Aerofficient. “Assuming 60,000 miles of highway driving and $4.00 per gallon fuel cost, the Aerofficient Slider will save $1,235.00 more than a standard side fairing.”

According to Reiman, there are several reasons standard side fairings do not consistently achieve the high savings generated in test conditions when used in revenue-generating driving over a long-term period.

“One of the most significant [of these reasons] is that in revenue-generating driving, the trailer’s tandems are often set rearward from their maximum forward position,” said Marty Fletcher, Aerofficient’s executive director of Product Development and fuel economy testing expert.  “Since a standard side fairing cannot extend rearward of the trailer’s front tire when the trailer’s axles are at their most forward setting, a gap is created between the trailing edge of the fairing and the front tire when the trailer’s tandems are set rearward of their maximum forward position. The greater the gap between the trailing edge of the fairing and the trailer’s front tire, the less efficient the side fairing becomes.”

According to Fletcher, filling this gap and preserving and enhancing the fixed fairing’s efficiency by effectively lengthening it is the aerodynamic goal of the Slider. He said the results speak for themselves:  “At a typical 41-ft axle setting, a gap of 30 to 40 in. exists between the fixed fairing’s trailing edge and the trailer’s front tire. Testing with a 35-in. gap against multiple competitors’ standard fixed fairings in highway SAE Type IV tests, the Slider generated 7.2% savings compared to 3.8% to 4.2% for competitors’ standard fixed fairings.”

The Slider is affixed to the trailer’s sliding axles, and moves forward/rearward with the axles. No driver involvement is required and the Slider does not interfere with operations, pointed out Reiman. If maintenance is required beneath the trailer, he said the Slider can beeasily detached from the axles and slid forward for quick and easy under-trailer access.

Reiman said that both the Slider and the company’s fixed fairings are extremely durable. Extensive testing by Aerofficient included FEA, life cycle, vibration, thermal expansion and contraction, and road simulation evaluations.  All Aerofficient trailer fairings are made with an engineered, automotive grade injection-molded plastic panel material. The company’s patent-pending hinged technology permits the fairings to bend in or out 90 degrees to pass over obstructions without being damaged. The fairings are also designed to hold their shape in extreme temperatures and to resist ice and snow packing.

All Aerofficient side-fairing products use a patent-pending clamp system for fast installation without the need to drill holes in the trailer.

Reiman noted that the Slider as well as all Aerofficient side fairing products have been verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership as "Advanced Trailer Skirts."

Aerofficient’s Slider fairings will be manufactured in Livonia, MI, and will be available from the manufacturer and through trailer dealers nationwide once production starts next month.