DALLAS — SmartTruck, a developer of aerodynamic solutions for the trucking industry, Thursday introduced the company’s new TopKit system for dry-van and refrigerated trailers.
SmartTruck designed the TopKit system to provide a cost-competitive, nearly invisible alternative to side skirts, boat tails and other cumbersome devices that extend far from a trailer’s outside edges—all of which can create durability concerns and block access to the trailer for routine inspections and maintenance, according to CEO Steve Ingram, who made the announcement at a news conference at the Great American Trucking Show under way here.
SmartTruck’s TopKit system consists of an Aero Rain Guard component that runs along the trailer’s top-rear edge and features two side fairing components on the side-rear edges, he said, adding that the new system can go virtually unnoticed as it is approximately one-inch thick.
The kit provides a SmartWay verified 5.5 percent highway fuel savings and weighs only 72 pounds.
“Over the past few years, trailer aerodynamic systems have required fleets and owner-operators to add products that extend far beyond their trailer’s original dimensions, effectively forcing trailer owners to install aerodynamic equipment that can become obstructive and can create unwanted issues,” Ingram said. “Our challenge with the TopKit system was to design a supremely effective aerodynamic package that would eliminate the previous issues fleets and owner-operators encountered when applying aerodynamics to their equipment.”
The new product, he said, was part of SmartTruck’s pledge to provide propriety elegant solutions to improve fuel economy in the trucking industy.
TopKit can be used with other aerodynamic trailer components, including that of the competition, to deliver up to 10 percent, Ingram said.
The product uses the same technology Boeing used to build the 787, thus the lighter weight, Ingram said, adding that the TopKit works equally well for dry vans, refrigerated units and trailers equipped with either swing or roll-up doors.
“In addition to eradicating the need for obstructions from the underside of the trailer, the TopKit platform does not require driver involvement or have the moving parts found in other aerodynamic systems,” Ingram said.
The design of TopKit also eliminates the increased heating of tires and brakes that can result from the use of underside-based systems, while SmartTruck’s top-based aerodynamic solution reduces the opportunity for damage from dock or intermodal operations, he said.
“Through the SmartTruck team’s research, design work and our extensive testing, which involved cutting-edge computational engineering simulations, we believe TopKit offers the industry a revolutionary option in aerodynamic design,” said Mike Henderson, chief scientist for SmartTruck.
“We have been very pleased with feedback we have received on TopKit from fleets and owner-operators, and we are committed to the goal of providing the trucking industry with the most innovative and effective aerodynamic solutions that can assist in promoting increased savings and better operational performance,” Ingram said, noting that the new product could be coupled with competitive applications.
Noting that the TopKit was SmartWay and CARB approved, the TopKit will operate in a performance band above fundamental regulations.
“We won’t participate in a compliance-only environment,” Ingram said.
TopKit carriers a suggested retail price of $999, but a rebate is available, Ingram said.