What's Driving Trailer Trends?

Since the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations, all dry-van and refrigerated trailers 53-feet and longer are expected to take an ecological initiative in order to reduce their fuel emissions. This initiative is one of the many recent trends...


“This has allowed contaminants to grow in the fuel tank,” says Durm. When contaminants grow in the fuel tank, it causes the fuel systems to become clogged. In order to address this issue, Thermo King introduced a new fuel filtration system in order to help filter out both large and finer particles in the fuel system.

Another recent fuel initiative from Thermo King is the Smooth Air evaporator blower. “This allows our customers to see up to a seven percent fuel savings in their units,” says Tom Kampf, product manager for Thermo King. “By running less, consuming less diesel fuel, we’re emitting fewer pollutants into the environment.” Another advantage of the Smoother Air Blower is that it needs 24 percent less power than the preceding evaporator blowers.

The use of compressed natural gas (CNG) is another form of a sustainable fuel trend in order to improve the emissions. CNG is very popular with the company Ryder System Inc., Miami FL.

“In the LA area we’ve got over 200 vehicles out there running on compressed natural gas,” says Art Trahn, manager of technical support for national accounts of Ryder. “It’s an alternative fuel source; we have engines that were purposely built to run on compressed natural gas.”

A slowly growing trend toward electric standby units as an alternative fuel source is also being noticed among the industry experts.

 

Electric standby units

When companies want to reduce their costs and their carbon footprint, industry experts state that there is a slowly rising interest in electric standby units, commonly referred to as shore power.

“We think that’s being driven by fuel pricing,” states Olen Hunter, director of sales PACCAR Leasing (PacLease), Bellevue, WA. “The technology hasn’t radically changed, but we’ve seen a lot more customers requesting it so the adoption rate of that type of specification has increased.”

An electric standby unit is an all-electric system that can be plugged into a standard electric outlet in order to keep the idle trailer refrigerated without the use of the engine. By using an electric standby unit this lowers your fuel costs and also takes the stress off of the trucks engine. Along with remaining environmentally responsible, an electric standby unit is quieter than a diesel engine and also costs less to run.

“The operational savings could be anywhere from 40-70 percent because it’s much less expensive to run that unit on electricity than it is to run that unit on diesel fuel,” says Carrier Transicold’s Kiefer.

There has also been an improvement of a hybrid diesel-electric unit coming into the marketplace.

 

Recent body updates

There have been many enhancements to the various components on the trailers. One of the recent enhancement includes tires becoming more eco-friendly that also offer less rolling resistance. There has also been a new type of tire that offers flat protection. Goodyear recently released their SmartWay-verified G392 SSD and G394 SST trailer tires that incorporate an inner lining from DuraSeal Technology. DuraSeal is a gel-like material that instantly seals punctures on the tread of the tire up to ¼-inch.

Aerodynamic trailer skirts are also a recent trailer update to help give you less resistance when driving. “We developed our own side skirts several years ago and have continued to revise and enhance the design,” says Utility’s Cole. “The newest skirt developed is the USS-120A model which is lighter than previous designs and is SmartWay verified as an Advanced Side Skirt design with over five percent fuel savings. The new USS-120A is constructed of recyclable fiberglass reinforced, UV protected plastic for maximum durability.”

 

Let there be light!

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are one of the most popular trends to watch in the trucking industry for both interior lighting and exterior lighting. Overall, LED technology surpasses the lighting that is currently used today. LEDs use much less power off of the batteries in comparison to incandescent and florescent lighting. “All exterior lights on our van trailers are now 100 percent LED including the license plate light and the mid-ship turn/clearance light,” says Cole.

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