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Industry supplier Stemco has discontinued production of its TrailerTail product, which helped pioneer improved aerodynamics at the rear of the trailer.
The TrailerTail, designed to reduce drag at the back of trailers to boost fuel economy, was one of three “underperforming” product lines that Stemco parent company EnPro Industries decided to end during the fourth quarter, EnPro CEO Marvin Riley said in the company’s Feb. 25 earnings report.
“These actions support our continuing work to significantly reduce our exposure in the heavy-duty truck market by eliminating low-margin businesses,” Riley added. “We expect to fundamentally reshape our heavy-duty truck business and its cost structure this year.”
Other discontinued product lines are Stemco brake shoes and brake kits for heavy- and medium-duty trucks. EnPro sold its brake plant in Rome, Ga., to MAT Holdings Inc., a diversified manufacturing company based in Long Grove, Ill.
The TrailerTail was discontinued because it “did not fit well” with Stemco’s other product lines, which include wheel seals, hub caps, axle spindle nuts and heavy-duty bearings, Chris Surdo, vice president and general manager, told Transport Topics. Stemco will continue to supply TrailerTail users with components and products “for warranty needs,” Surdo said.
The TrailerTail was first released in 2008 by aerodynamics supplier ATDynamics, which Stemco acquired in 2015.
“The TrailerTail proved to everybody how much fuel you could save” with a rear fairing product, said Daryl Bear, chief operating officer and lead engineer for Mesilla Valley Transportation Solutions. The Las Cruces, N.M., company tests and validates aerodynamics equipment.
MVT Solutions’ parent company, Mesilla Valley Transportation, was among the motor carriers that had used the TrailerTail and achieved fuel savings with it, Bear said. However, damage at docks was an issue for some operators that used the TrailerTail, he added.
The back end of trailers continues to be a focus for many fleets and aero manufacturers. Bear called it “the hot area right now.”
Among new products that MVT Solutions has tested are Rocketail and the Michelin Energy Guard kit. Rocketail makes side wings and a top fairing for the rear of trailers.
The Energy Guard kit made by Michelin North America includes side skirts, trailer end fairings and a “wake-reducer” — a piece on the rear doors.
Tests by MVT Solutions showed both provided fuel savings, Bear said.
Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. this year introduced its Utility Aerodynamic Tail, designed to diminish turbulence at the rear of the trailer.
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