TAMPA, Fla. — Laydon Composites has announced the introduction of a low-cost solution that the company said can be fitted to a trailer in an hour, minimizing downtime and providing fleets with a “truly economical way to comply with trailer fuel saving regulations.”
The new Hybrid TrailerSkirt was introduced at the American Trucking Associations Annual Technology and Maintenance Council meeting here in February.
Laydon has partnered with Crane Composites to re-design its EPA SmartWay-certified advanced aerodynamic Hybrid TrailerSkirt.
Crane Composites, the industry’s oldest manufacturer of flat sheet composite panels for the trailer industry, designed a purpose-built panel specific for trailer aerodynamics. Complementing the panels, Laydon has designed an injection moulded and patent-pending “mono clamp” and strut. The design uses state-of-the-art CAD modeling and FEA (finite element analysis) to stress test the design and the material in all temperatures, whether extreme heat or cold, according to Andy Acott, Laydon sales manager, who noted the unique design means a two-man team can mount the fairings in an hour.
“We’ve been listening to our customers and implementing what they want: an inexpensive, easy and fast to install, lightweight, flexible enough to withstand everyday abuse and most importantly, fuel efficient,” Acott said. “We have designed an extremely quick way to install skirts with our new ‘mono clamp’ one bolt flexible mounting strut. Two people can install a complete set of skirts for a 53-foot trailer in around one hour.”
The patent-pending flexible spring is made from woven fibreglass, polypropylene where the fibreglass strands are orientated at zero, 90 and 45 degrees.
“This allows a higher level of stress without failure than any other composite strut on the market and the spring is pre tensioned for added strength,” Acott said. “We have cycled the flexible spring beyond the breaking point of other skirt supports from competitive manufacturers by over 20,000 cycles.”
The skirt panels are designed to match the strut durability, while being light and able to move with the struts.
“Going in, we had an extremely long ‘wish list’ of what the side skirt panel must be capable of doing,” Acott said. “Crane’s engineering experts managed to ‘tick all the boxes’ and we’re proud to offer a panel that not only is incredibly strong, but will bend and move with the flexible spring. It also had to be lightweight, UV resistant and be the lowest cost per square foot in this industry.”
The California Air Resources Board rules mandate trailer aerodynamics on all 2011 model-year, 53-foot trailers and sets a phase-in period for older trailers.
Demand for trailer skirting is rising sharply and Laydon predicts the trailer skirt retrofit business will be much larger than new trailer sales.
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