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
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
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.
This image is a walkaround of a truck with the fairing fully deployed.
[583Kb animated gif]
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.
[427Kb animated gif]
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.
- CEO: Tim Cosgrove
- Business Attorney: Ray Barrios, PLC
- Patent Attorney: Workman Nydegger [www]
All business inquiries should be directed to Tim Cosgrove. IP sale or licensing inquiries may be sent directly to Workman Nydegger, if desired.
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.
||Sandwich construction of bidirectional weave fiberglass over 3/8" flock-sealed high-density PVC foam
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,
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.