During challenging economic times, our industry has always recognized news about new trailer builds as an indicator of increased freight and a sure sign of recovery. So here’s some good news.
Just last month Wabash National Corp. announced a three-year purchase agreement with Swift Transportation Co., Inc., which calls for building 3,100 new DuraPlate HD dry vans over the next 12 months. Trailer production for the 3,100 units began at the end of March. In addition, the trailer maker recently confirmed a three-year purchase agreement with Prime Inc., which is for 4,000 ArcticLite refrigerated van trailers over the next 34 months with 725 of those trailers being built this month.
As managers add new trailers to the fleet, they are going to be thinking about additional equipment that helps them save money, which means they will be looking for more fuel efficient trailers. That makes EPA SmartWay Certified trailers very appealing, and with good reason.
Last year, Wabash reported that its AeroSkirt received EPA SmartWay Partner certification as a proven fuel and emissions saving device. The company reported that independent testing verified that a trailer equipped with a
DuraPlate AeroSkirt was shown to provide a 5.6% fuel savings. The company also has calculated that you can expect to pay for the investment you make in less than a year in an average over the road operation.
Jamie Scarcelli, vice president and general manager of Wabash’s DuraPlate product group, describes a desirable characteristic of DuraPlate as a choice for use in a side skirt on a trailer. He said, “It has the ability to flex and deflect damage. In addition, its mounting brackets allow it to flex both inward and out. If there is any damage, it is very easily repaired.”
These are not just idle claims. EPA SmartWay Partnership Certification requires testing, with which suppliers seeking product approval must comply, that is extensive and thorough. Mike Courtney, senior project engineer for the DuraPlate Products Group, said, “In addition to road tests and durability tests, several iterations of controlled engineering tests were done with various skirt designs. The result is the current item that offers a 5.6% fuel savings.”
The SmartWay Partnership requires applicants to use standard SAE/TMC fuel economy tests that utilize a control product and a test product—in this case equipped and non-equipped trailers. The control trailer, which stays the same throughout all the testing, allows an accurate determination of the savings offered by the test trailer. The Partnership actually goes beyond these accepted test condition parameters. SmartWay puts additional restrictions on both ambient temperature and wind speed.
US EPA Certified SmartWay Trailers can be ordered directly from the following manufacturers and their dealers:
Great Dane Trailers
Stoughton Trailers LLC
Trailmobile Canada Ltd.
Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co.
Vanguard National Trailer Corp.
Wabash National Corp.
Many trailer dealers will sell upgraded trailers that have been certified SmartWay. Contact your local dealer to see if it offers retrofit equipment that meets SmartWay specifications. For more information about SmartWay trailers, visit www.epa.gov/smartway/transport. FE