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How TruckWings improve fuel efficiency

April 4, 2024
TruckWings, an aero device recently acquired by ConMet, has been shown to improve fuel efficiency. In this video, developer Daniel Burrows explains more.

While traveling down the highway, drag and wind resistance have a big effect on tractor-trailers' fuel efficiency. They have to work harder and burn more fuel to overcome the forces pushing against them. To become more aerodynamic and use less fuel, truck operators can add on several types of simple aero devices, such as side skirts and wheel covers. 

One of the more recent innovations in the space is called TruckWings, developed by Daniel Burrows and TruckLabs in 2016, which attach to the back of the cab and spread out at speeds above 52 mph to close off the large gap between the tractor and trailer, directing air to go around the trailer and not push up against it. According to Burrows, reducing this drag can impact fuel efficiency by 6%. The technology has been used for over 800 million miles on the road and was acquired by ConMet in late 2023, with Burrows becoming vice president and general manager of the product.

To find out more about what this innovation accomplishes and how it helps cut fleets' fuel costs, we caught up with Burrows in New Orleans at the 2024 TMC Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition.

[Video walkthrough below]

Burrows explained that maximizing aero savings is an age-old problem in the trucking industry, and one which has a dramatic impact on fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, developers need to minimize any extra maintenance that may accompany the addition of aero devices as well. This is where TruckWings comes in as a fully automated solution and modification to the tractor that doesn't need any driver intervention or trailer modifications.

"If there is a problem, we've designed it so the driver can disable the system, and your truck can drive without ever being taken out of service," Burrows said. "We know a running truck is a truck that's making money."

"Every one of these is connected to a telematics system which will let you know not just if there's a problem, but what type of problem it is," he continued. "So you can have parts ready, and you can actually do the maintenance and know what the health of your TruckWings are at any given time."

These features make it possible for drivers to recieve the fuel cost-reducing aerodynamic benefits of TruckWings while also ensuring that the device will never contribute to unplanned downtime.

About the Author

Lucas Roberto

Lucas Roberto is an Associate Editor for Fleet Maintenance magazine. He has written and produced multimedia content over the past few years and is a newcomer to the commercial vehicle industry. He holds a bachelor's in media production and a master's in communication from High Point University in North Carolina.

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