Feb 01, 2013
Aerodynamic trailer developed to reduce fuel costs, carbon footprintBack
Africa|Aluminium|Design|Efficiency|Environment|Freightwing|PROJECT|Road|Safety|Serco|Spar South Africa|System|Technology|transport|Africa|United States|Aerodynamic Trailer Attachment Developer|Manufacturing|Perishable Products|Products|Retail|Solutions|Steel|Trailer Body Manufacturer|Charles Davidson|Clinton Holcroft|Infrastructure|Operations|South Africa|Aero
© Reuse this
Decisions about which features will become standard on future Spar trailer designs will be made this year.
The initial concept designs and research on the available technology and accessories for the Serco Green trailer started in May 2011. The concept was refined in early 2012 and production of the new prototype started in September last year, says Serco MD Clinton Holcroft.
Spar national transport manager Charles Davidson says the project, which Spar is very excited about, was born out of Spar’s com- panywide initiative to reduce its carbon footprint. “We approached Serco to come up with a green concept trailer, but one which would be practical and not have an adverse impact on our usual loading operations,” he says.
The key issue for Serco was to optimise the aerodynamic efficiency of the 15-m-long and 4.3-m-high trailer without compromising the interior loading volume, which can handle 30 t of perishable products using pallets and insulated lugs.
This was achieved by focusing on the three major sources of aerodynamic drag in the typical tractor-trailer application – the tractor-trailer gap, the trailer side and the trailer wake.
One of the improvements to the trailer is the tapered rear end of the roof to help maintain the airflow of the trailer body and to effectively reduce the trailer’s wake, which subsequently contributes to reduced drag and improved fuel economy.
Serco also installed a side aerodynamic kit from US-based aerodynamic trailer attachment developer Freightwing. These design changes significantly reduce wind drag and, in turn, improve the fuel consumption of the truck-trailer combination, says Holcroft.
The trailer is also fitted with an electronic braking system for improved road safety and electronically controlled air suspension, which reduces the overall height of the truck and trailer and enables the trailer to adjust to a normal dock height for loading and unloading.
The trailer also uses disc-braked axles for improved vehicle safety, single tyres with aluminium rims and high tensile steel in the chassis to reduce the truck’s weight and rolling resistance. Holcroft says the trailer weight was, as a result, reduced by just over 500 kg.
Further, the tractor is fitted with aero- dynamic truck fairings, provided by truck fairing specialist Aerotruck. This was fitted to improve airflow, notes Holcroft.
The trailer also features underbody side skirts, manufactured from a flexible and durable polypropylene plastic, which improves the trailer’s aerodynamics by reducing wind drag, particularly in the presence of crosswinds. This further results in improved fuel consumption.
Holcroft says the first trailer fitted with side skirts was delivered in October last year and the second trailer, fitted with side skirts and the roof taper, was delivered in November.
One of the main challenges in designing the green trailer was to ensure that the new features could be developed without significantly increasing the cost of the trailer, while ensuring a favourable return on investment for Spar, says Holcroft.
To do this, Serco’s design team, with more than 30 years’ experience, was employed to develop suitable solutions to meet Spar’s requirements.
Holcroft credits Spar – which has a fleet of more than 400 vehicles – for innovatively pushing the envelope and incorporating bold green features to reduce its carbon footprint through streamlining its vehicles.
“We have enjoyed working with Spar – a company prepared to actively work towards protecting the environment – as we are conscious about using green concepts in the manufacturing of our truck bodies and trailers,” he says.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Other Materials-Handling News
Article contains comments
Updated 6 hours ago The Competition Tribunal on Friday gave a conditional go-ahead for mobile operators Cell C, MTN and Vodacom to buy out their respective subscriber bases, as South Africa’s last independent service provider Altech Autopage calls it a day. The Allied Electronics...
Updated 6 hours ago The drought in Southern Africa could become one of the worst on record should the current below-normal rainfall continue, the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme said this week. The El Niño conditions presently being experienced in the region had resulted in a...
Updated 6 hours ago Kelibone Masiyane has been appointed the new MD of PPC Zimbabwe, succeeding Njombo Lekula, who had recently been redeployed as MD of PPC’s international operations. Masiyane would be supported by new PPC commercial director Iain Sheasby and new PPC GM of finance...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
This Week's Magazine
Lifting, transporting, installing and ballasting solutions provider Ale has expanded its global fleet of trailers and invested in the latest range of widening trailers that can be mechanically widened from 3 m to the desired width for any project. Ale ordered 48 axle...
The market for the BMW 7 Series in South Africa differs quite significantly from the rest of the world. China, the US and the Middle East almost exclusively buy the long-wheel-base version, using the German manufacturer’s luxury high-end sedan as a chaffeur-driven...
January new-vehicle sales fell by 6.9%, to 48 615 units, compared with the same month last year. Statistics released by the Department of Trade and Industry show that the domestic new passenger-car market declined by 6.1%, to 34 936 units, compared with 12 months ago.
Information technology (IT) equipment and infrastructure multinational Dell is providing open infrastructure systems for clients so that they can use any systems, including innovative new systems, that suit their business needs, says Dell Europe, Middle East and...
South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group, Denel, has set up another international partnership, based in Hong Kong. This new subsidiary is Denel Asia and it is a joint venture (JV) with South African private sector company VR Laser.