FlowBelow Aero Inc., a leading manufacturer of tractor-mounted aerodynamic products, recently announced the signing of Groupe Trans-West to deploy its fuel saving Tractor AeroKit system across the company’s Canadian fleet of 180 tractors.
As part of its evaluation process, Trans-West conducted independent, third party fuel efficiency testing through Canada’s PIT Group, an esteemed transportation technology testing organization.
“For any fuel-saving technology that we consider, we first look to see if the device has been tested by the PIT Group,” said André Boisvert, vice president of technology and development at Groupe Trans-West. “Since the group had not tested the device before, we coordinated with them to run the test. We were pleasantly surprised when the fuel savings results from the third party testing we did were aligned with the fuel savings that FlowBelow claimed, which helped to make the decision to retrofit our entire fleet an easy one.”
In parallel with the third party testing, Trans-West also conducted real-world fuel and durability testing of the AeroKit on 20 tractors over a one-year period to confirm the AeroKit’s ability to perform through Canada’s harsh winter climate and to ensure that there were no problems with chains, snow and ice. Based on the fleet-wide adoption of the Tractor AeroKit, Trans-West is expected to save up to 100,000 gallons of diesel per year.
Boisvert said there were some concerns about winter performance of the devices and some questions about how difficult it might be for drivers to install snow chains with the FlowBelow devices installed.
The testing proved FlowBelow posed no problems when running chains. "We also found the undercarriage of the truck had less snow build up that we found on trucks not equipped with the devices. And we found no problems with snow build-up on the fairings themselves. In other words, winter and cold weather proved to be non-issues."
Trans-West is a SmartWay Transport Partner and operates highly efficient trucks and trailers. Trans-West tractors and trailers are equipped with FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit Systems, APU’s, fuel tank fairings, low rolling resistance tires, trailer side skirts, TrailerTails and automatic tire pressure systems. The company also uses driver speed caps to maximize fuel efficiency.
“Groupe Trans-West is an award-winning Canadian fleet and industry leader in fuel efficiency and technology adoption,” said Josh Butler, president of FlowBelow Aero, Inc. “We look forward to expanding our presence in Canada and project that wide-spread adoption of the FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit would save the Canadian trucking industry over 100 million gallons of fuel over the next decade, significantly decreasing transportation costs as well as the emissions impact of trucking on the environment.”
Groupe Trans-West is a Quebec based, truckload carrier and an industry leader in Canadian long haul transportation. Founded in 1988 by long haul driver Réal Gagnon, Trans-West operates a fleet of 180 tractors and 450 trailers that primarily hauls food products from the western and southern United States to eastern Canada, totaling more than 35 million miles per year. The company has grown to 525 employees and is the recipient of numerous awards such as the 2016 Truckload Carrier Association’s National Fleet Safety Award and Deloitte’s Top 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada award for five consecutive years.
FlowBelow is a Texas-based aerodynamics company founded by mechanical and aerospace engineers, Josh Butler and Kyle Walker. Their product development process includes advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling and extensive interaction with fleet mechanics and drivers to ensure the products provide utility, efficiency, and profitability for fleets. FlowBelow’s products are manufactured in the USA and have fuel savings verified by third party SAE Type II fuel economy testing.
The patented FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit includes quick-release wheel covers and a pair of tandem fairings that work together as a complete aerodynamic system to address the complex airflow around the exposed rear wheels of the tractor. The fuel savings provided by the Tractor AeroKit typically provides a return on investment for long haul trucking fleets in one year or less.