The first new product to emerge since WABCO’s purchase of Laydon Composites a year ago is the OptiFlow AutoTail. With SmartWay designation through tests by Canada’s National Research Council, it automatically deploys at 70 km/h and closes at 15 km/h, drawing on speed data from the trailer’s antilock braking system.
The automated opening helps to ensure that the potential aerodynamic benefits are always realized at highway speeds, while the closing will help to prevent damage at loading docks.
SmartWay tests show the panels can improve fuel economy by up to 4.3% at highway speeds.
Unlike competing systems, the company says, the panels use cantilevers rather than hinges to swing into place. They’re also curved, 21 inches wide, and made of injection-molded thermoplastic.