The implementation of constructive ideas and innovations to reduce fuel consumption in today’s high transport cost world has the potential to make a positive impact on the “bottom line” of companies, small businesses and individuals.

In the heavy vehicle sector, leading South African truck and trailer building company Serco offers several features and additions to assist its clients in significantly reducing running costs.

Serco CEO Clinton Holcroft says his company prides itself on always giving its customers the edge and savings in fuel costs are currently a priority.

Among several Serco offerings which contribute towards transport cost reductions are:

(1) A new smart trailer system which provides a cost-effective solution for transporters to reduce running costs.

The onboard weighing feature enables operators to identify axle overloads and thus prevent possible fines and delays. The smart system sends an alarm in real time where axle limits are exceeded, making it possible for adjustments to be made.

Integrating with the trailer EBS system, it is possible to keep a check on mileage and provide alerts when the trailer is due to be serviced. By monitoring the supply of air pressure to the braking system, leaks and damaged airbags can be detected, contributing to a safe and efficient running trailer.

Door opening sensors and temperature probes are an option and these integrate with auxiliary systems such as tyre pressure monitoring and GPS tracking to enhance the performance of a transporter’s fleet management system.

Ensuring a trailer is running optimally helps reduce fuel consumption and costly breakdowns as well as improves vehicle safety.

(2) Aero dynamic features such as freight wings improve trailer aerodynamics leading to savings in fuel of between 2% and 7% depending on average speed, as well as reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Holcroft said the side skirt accessories had proven in independent testing in the United States to achieve fuel savings of up to 7.45% on highways.

Holcroft said the lightweight flexible plastic panels used in the side skirts were resilient in the event of contact with fixed objects and had a smooth finish providing an ideal surface for branding.

The side skirts help reduce wind drag under a trailer and are particularly suitable for vehicles travelling long distances.

* The injected panel technology used in the building of the company’s Protec Steel Frostliner trailers improves thermal efficiency by as much as 40% when compared to alternates, thus reducing fuel consumption and wear and tear on the fridge. This cuts the carbon impact on the environment and directly improves product shelf life and losses from returns due to poor temperature control. “Superior thermal performance of the insulated body contributes substantially to reducing fuel consumption of the fridge over the life of the vehicle,” said Holcroft.

* Reducing the weight of the body and chassis help rolling resistance and result in a reduction in fuel consumption. The new Serco 2022 lightweight design trailer chassis excels in this area providing weight savings of up to 600kg over the norm which is achieved by improved design and high tensile materials. Fuel savings of up to 1% have been recorded through the weight saving.