DHL Exel Supply Chain and TK Maxx have partnered with manufacturer Don-Bur to design and develop a new aerodynamic front bulkhead air deflector for double deck trailers that provides both environmental benefits, carbon and cost reductions without compromising the cubic capacity of the vehicle.
Results from initial controlled trials by DHL show that the new air deflector can provide up to 3.5% savings on fuel and can reduce CO2 by 20kg per daily trip or an equivalent of 5.25 tonnes per vehicle per annum. Following the successful trial, the air deflector has been fitted to ten of TK Maxx’s new double deck trailers and once retrofitted to the remaining 92 in the fleet throughout 2008, will provide the retailer with significant emissions and fuel cost savings.
DHL Exel Supply Chain’s specialist Department Stores and Fashion team, jointly with DHL Central Engineering, have worked with TK Maxx to develop a solution that improves fuel economy on double deck trailers without compromising load capacity and without incurring the cost of new vehicle purchases. The two companies began to investigate how to make the trailers more aerodynamic and approached manufacturer Don-Bur to design and produce a prototype that met with these key objectives and could be implemented quickly and easily.
The unique streamlined shape of the air deflector designed by Don-Bur reduces the quantity of air being forced into the gap between the tractor and the trailer, minimizing turbulence and the resultant ‘drag force’ on the vehicle.
Simon Barker, Vice President, Logistics at TK Maxx explains: “The integration of lifting double deck trailers into our fleet has already significantly reduced the number of road miles and deliveries to stores, due to the vehicles’ increased capacity, and therefore we did not want to have to increase our fleet size again by introducing aerodynamic trailer designs that may have also reduced load capacity. The new system is an excellent solution and the controlled tests demonstrate that we can retain maximum volume and cut fuel consumption at the same time. However cost efficiencies are also paramount to our business and thanks to intelligent design innovation by DHL and Don-Bur the fuel savings will provide a payback within the first year - even after taking into account the cost of fitting and production for each trailer.”
Paul Richardson, Managing Director at DHL Exel Supply Chain’s Department Stores and Fashion UK and Europe adds: “DHL welcomes TK Maxx’s strong support of new innovation. This development forms part of DHL’s commitment to minimizing the impact of its operations on the environment and comes as a result of looking for greater efficiencies in fuel economy and investigating ways we can reduce carbon emissions in the retail supply chain. By joint agreement, our contract with TK Maxx contains a specific clause stipulating a pledge to achieving important environmental and social responsibility targets, so this was a great opportunity to work in partnership with a leading fashion retailer, to share our experience in this field and help drive innovation.”This is the latest initiative in a series of projects developed by TK Maxx and DHL, reflecting the contractual ‘green’ clause between both companies, which outlines their commitment to working together to meet key environmental goals.
The prototype by Don-Bur was fitted to a double deck trailer and a trial was undertaken by DHL Exel Supply Chain from 6 June to 6 July, 2007 using TK Maxx’s on-board vehicle telematics to measure and log fuel consumption. Fuel readings were taken on a typical distribution route totalling a 695km round trip, and then compared to a standard double deck trailer undertaking the same journey at the same time. Results showed an average saving of 7.62 litres of diesel per round trip from the trailer fitted with the new air deflector.