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Tim Cosgrove
Phone: (801) 573-0938
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US Patent #7207620 Awarded:
      Over the next few months we will be conducting road tests and actively pursuing the sale or licensing of this patent and our other in-process intellectual property. Selected data from the road tests will be displayed on this website when available (if licensing permits). Contact us if you are interested in the raw data from these tests or conducting coordinated in-situ tests with your fleet.

The Patent
      We have a patent for a fairing that attaches to the rear of a trailer that both reduces the aerodynamic drag of the trailer and easily swings out of the way for unloading at the dock. According to conservative estimates, deployment of our fairing will reduce the amount of fuel the truck uses by an amazing 14%. This fuel savings is possible even without any other changes to the truck, tires, or the habits of the driver. By combining the use of our fairing, modifications to the truck undercarriage (patent in process), modifications to the tire inflation specifications, and slight changes to driving habits, we expect an aggregate fuel savings of 21% when compared to unmodified tractor trailers. Our fairing smooths the airflow at the rear of the trailer, which greatly reduces the pressure drag caused by the trailer as it passes through the air. Not only does our fairing fill up the vacuum behind the trailer, but because of the fairing's unique shape, it also smooths the airflow to the side and rear of the trailer such that the buffeting of other cars on the highway is significantly less pronounced and thereby makes tractors passing cars a safer endeavor. As the company or driver that is paying the fuel bill is commonly not the owner of the trailer being pulled, the whole unit attaches to the truck in a temporary manner that does not damage or permanently modify the trailer in any way. In addition to not altering the trailer, the size of the prototype is adjustable so that it does not cover up the running or brake lights at the rear of the trailer. Pursuant to USDOT regulations, the fairing does not exceed 48" past the back of the trailer, so its use does not require certification, markings, oversize warnings, or lights in any state. A flat-back variant to meet hazmat signage requirements is also available.
      At present we have no plans for manufacturing the fairing beyond an initial run of prototypes for testing and demonstration as we are primarily a R&D entity. Parties interested in organizing a private demonstration or discussing arrangements for the sale, licensing, or manufacturing of the fairing should contact us.

Click on the images to view animations or larger versions.
Animated gif of fairing on trailer

This image is a walkaround of a truck with the fairing fully deployed.
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Animated gif of fairing unfolding

This image details how the fairing unfolds from the storage position to the fully deployed position. The top and bottom surfaces of the fairing have been removed from the model to make viewing the mechanics of this operation more visible.
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Animated gif 1
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Animated gif 2
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Animated gif 3
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These three animations demonstrate how the fairing is put on a trailer, how it is unfolded into its highway position, and how it is folded out of the way for docking.
Scale model of faring on truck
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Scale model of faring on truck
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Scale model of faring on truck
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      This is the first physical model we built. While this model represents the very finest in scale, product placement, and high-tech materials, it allowed us to test certain ideas concerning the placement and overlap distances of the various elements of the fairing. The arrangement and attachment of all of the pieces are as close to the parameters of the full-sized prototype as possible, including the placement and style of the hinges, though the duct tape and stitching will quite obviously not be a part of the final product. Additionally, this model served as a welcome visual aid for use in describing the invention to our patent attorneys.

Who are we?
      Trailer Innovations LLC is the R&D brainchild of a small and dedicated group whose varied backgrounds have enabled the group to invent and innovate in the field of tractor trailer aerodynamics. With a long history of problem solving and entrepreneurship, our team has a wide range of talents that have proven invaluable to overcoming the problems of tractor trailer aerodynamic inefficiency. Our team holds a variety of professional degrees including two mechanical engineering degrees, one specializing in structural design, the other in applied aerodynamics. Our unorthodox team also includes a commercial pilot, an electrical engineer working with NASA, an MD, a metal fabricator, and a real estate developer.
All business inquiries should be directed to Tim Cosgrove. IP sale or licensing inquiries may be sent directly to Workman Nydegger, if desired.

The Prototype
      We are currently in the process of building a full-scale mockup for testing purposes. The prototype utilizes composite construction from our aerodynamics background and construction skills garnered in a the production process of an experimental aircraft. We expect a fully-completed prototype to be finished by spring for subsequent highway testing. The testing regime we have developed will allow us both to prove the concept and work out any construction or fitment bugs that may arise. The design tweaking and production of a second prototype is planned to follow the first round of testing in case bugs arise as well as demonstrate the full interleaved vertical size adjustment capability of the final product. Below is a list of the major construction materials and a basic outline of the highway testing methodology. Changes to the construction materials or methods may be made in light of unforeseen structural, weight, or cost issues that may arise and should therefore only be used as a rough guide.

Part Construction Material
Fairing panels Sandwich construction of bidirectional weave fiberglass over 3/8" flock-sealed high-density PVC foam
Hinge frame Main channel: extruded aluminum tubing
Channel inserts, foot plates, and hinges: plate and bar steel
Channel connectivity: aircraft-grade 3/8" 9x27 steel cable
Top and bottom coverings 1.1mm semi-rigid clear PVC plastic sheeting
Medial curve frame supports 0.8mm wall 3/4" OD extruded oval-shaped piping

Highway Testing Methodology
Highway Test #1
  • Leg 1: The initial test requires a pair of fully-fueled tractors pulling similarly-loaded trailers driving in tandem (i.e. two trucks both headed from destination A to destination B at the same time) to approximate identical conditions. One trailer has the fairing attached, the other does not. The distance of the test shall be not less than 200 miles, of which no more than 20% of distance traveled or time spent shall be within cities or other traffic-controlled areas as the goal is a statistically-identifiable difference in the fuel usage between the pair of tractors, which might be hidden by the peculiarities of stop-and-go traffic. The only other stipulation on the driving style used is that the two trucks stay within view of each other so that no major discrepancies arise due to disparate experimental conditions between the tractors.
  • Leg 2: Upon reaching the destination, the fairing is removed from trailer A and affixed to trailer B for the return route following the same route. Depending on fuel use of the trip, fuel may need to be purchased and pumped into the tractor's fuel tank, in which case the exact volume of fuel dispensed will be recorded for each tractor. The trucks drive back to the origin of the test. Upon arrival, fuel usage for each tractor is recorded and the fuel savings of the fairing are to be calculated both in terms of each individual driver/tractor/trailer combination as well as the aggregate fairing vs. non-fairing tests to identify the real efficiency experienced during the trip.
Further Highway Tests
      The basic principles outlined for Test #1 will be extended to include shorter and longer distances, city traffic, inclement weather, and differences in total load weight. This highway testing plan is subject to the ever-complicating liability issues that our lawyers will be working out with each of the trucking companies selected for testing. Additionally, while care has been exercised in developing a properly controlled experiment, time, cost, and liability issues may prevent the sufficient repetition of the tests to verify with statistical certainty. Consequently, companies or parties interested in the sale, investment, or production of our product may wish to design their own tests. Please contact us for more information about scheduling a private test and we will be happy to work out a testing regime in accordance with your specific parameters.

Contact Information
Tim Cosgrove
Phone: (801) 573-0938
Contact us

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