Freight Wing debuts intermodal trailer side skirts

Published January, 04 2013

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Trailer side skirts are a common sight on van trailers, especially those headed into California where new regulations require trailers to feature the fuel-saving, aerodynamic devices.

With Freight Wing’s introduction of side skirts for intermodal haulers, other modes of transport are about to see the same fuel savings. That’s the word from Sean Graham, president of Seattle-based Freight Wing.

“Side skirts have been around long enough where there is no longer a question on how well they perform, and the fuel economy improvements,” Graham said. “The payback is in months – as few as 35,000 miles in trailer utilization. And that’s caught the attention of intermodal haulers who run a lot of interstate miles. They too are looking for ways to improve fuel economy and side skirts are low hanging fruit.”

With that in mind, Graham said his company began designing and testing intermodal side skirts more than a year ago, and the results have been “fantastic.”

“They really are – results show fuel economy improvements of 5 to 7 percent with our fleet testing partners,” he said. “Originally, Anderson Hay came to us and by partnering with Dionbilt Trailers, we configured chassis side skirts for their 46-foot trailers. It was a bit of an engineering challenge but we designed a unit that is clamped onto the I-beams, below where the intermodal box rests. This keeps the two-piece side skirts intact and free from damage during loading. The skirts are also flexible and hinged to the trailer via fiberglass rods. This allows the skirts to bend and flex when bottoming out at loading docks.”

The new chassis side skirts are available for 46-foot trailers, and for most other chassis trailers of various lengths. Two side skirt construction options are available, Freight Wing’s original Dense Matrix Polyethylene (DMP) — which can take the most abuse of any side skirt on the market thanks to bounce back nature of its plastic construction — and in a composite material. According to Graham, the composite skirts have a low coefficient of thermal expansion – allowing the skirts to hold their flat panel shape to give the skirts a clean, mirrored look.

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