Aerodynamic device for trailer rear doors

TrailerTail is a new rear-drag reduction device proven to increase fuel efficiency of long-haul tractor trailers by more than 5%. Developed by Advanced Transit Dynamics (ATDynamics), the collapsible extension apparatus attaches to the rear of a swing-door van trailer and reduces low-pressure suction drag that occurs there.

Along with cutting fuel costs, the TrailerTail improves vehicle safety by providing additional stability and reducing spray, said company CEO Andrew Smith. Because it streamlines the airflow at the rear of the trailer and minimizes turbulent vortexes, hazardous road spray created in wet weather is lessened, and the back of the trailer doesn't sway as much.

The TrailerTail is constructed of four lightweight, rugged tapered panels. A unique hinge system allows truckers to operate the doors and access loading bays in the usual way for full cargo access.

To position the TrailerTail for travel, the panels on each door are pulled open and the device is locked into place.

The device extends out four feet. US DOT regulations allow aerodynamic devices to extend up to five feet behind a trailer.

To close, the device collapses into place on the trailer doors to three inches in length.

Each process takes about 10 seconds.

Third-party SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) testing “showed that the TrailerTail boosts fuel efficiency by 5.1 percent at 62 mph,” said Smith. “At 68 mph, the TrailerTail yields potential efficiency gains of greater than 6%.”

The device, which weighs 250 pounds, can be installed in about two hours with two people.

An automatic opening/closing system for the TrailerTail is under development. It will open the device when the rig reaches 35 mph and close it when the speed drops below 35 mph.

ATDynamics, which offers complete aerodynamic packages for trailers, is developing a rear-drag reduction device for trailers with rollup doors.

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