One thing that truck washes and mobile fleet washing companies learn extremely fast is that not all trucks are created equally and many are much harder to wash than others. The number of different type of truck configurations is indeed staggering, it’s amazing really. I guess I ought to know, as prior to retirement I was in the truck washing industry. Okay so, let’s talk about this for a second – specifically washing the trucks of the future.
Now then, I am not sure if you’ve noticed at all, but more and more over the road trucks have extra skirts underneath to keep the airflow moving – this helps save fuel. In the future all trucks will have to have this. After all, Goldman Sachs Analysts have already predicted oil barrel prices to top $130 by 2013, personally, I believe it might happen sooner.
There was an interesting article in Gizmag on November 30, 2011 titled; “Mercedes Benz showcases its Aero Trailer concept in Belgium,” by Vincent Rice which showed some truly spectacular aerodynamic trailer design pictures for over the road trucks. In fact, they are so cool, you may wish to go do a search to check them out. The article stated;
“Mercedes has reduced the frontal wind resistance of the Actros tractor unit by 15%, in 2,600 hours of wind tunnel testing. They used the same rigorous wind-tunnel work to the trailer half of the equation. The interior dimensions of the trailer are maintained. A front air dam reduces the distance between tractor and trailer and a number of precisely-calculated curved panels to the outside and underneath of the trailer channel air to a striking rear diffuser. There is a 15” extension or rear “boat-tail” as well.
In my book, “Truck Technologies of the Future,” and in several articles online here, I’ve discussed the need for such designs as well as promoted other designs for the trucking industry including the famous Italian designer; Luigi Colani. If you don’t know about Luigi’s work, you should search out Wikipedia for an overview as well as use a search engine “image” website to see what great aerodynamic designs he’s done.
Okay so, being in the truck and fleet washing industry, I can say that many of these newer designs with aerodynamic skirting cause a challenge for robotic truck washing equipment, and take a lot more time for crews at truck washes cleaning with soft-bristle brushes and hot-water pressure washers. This means that truck wash companies are going to have to raise the price, and the robotic truck washing equipment makers will need more sensors and electronic eyes to get all the nooks and crannies. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this.