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Barnshaws provides profiled aluminium for artic trailers

Artic trailers

Reducing weight and improving aerodynamics in freight transport vehicles is a major focus for the commercial vehicle industry. Barnshaws is helping achieve these goals by supplying precision press brake formed chassis components and curved aluminium section extrusions for the trailer bodies of trucks designed for low weight and low drag.

While Barnshaws can bend even thin section aluminium to very precise radii it takes a high degree of skill to curve long pieces with a complex section profile and a consistently changing angle over an extended distance. Using specialist aluminium profile bending machines and bespoke CNC machined polymer roller elements Barnshaws has not only managed to achieve the desired curve in a tricky section, but also ensure complete accuracy and repeatability at a highly competitive cost point.

The curved aluminium extrusions are used on trailers to improve fuel economy and reduce carbon footprints for its operators. Modern trailers are designed so that the airflow coming from the tractor unit flows smoothly over the trailer surfaces while still providing good rear access for loading and without compromising the trailer capacity. 

Some trailers have a curved rear end to the chassis, as well as a rear roof slope that incorporates vortex generators to help reduce aerodynamic drag. There is also an air deflector at the front of the trailer to smooth the airflow from the cab.

Paul Price, Specialist Metals Team Leader is responsible for developing the aluminium bending service from Barnshaws, “There is a general trend towards using lighter weight sections and profiles in everything from building facades to vehicle bodies, and so the key for us is to make bending those sections as commercially competitive as possible.”

This allows architects, engineers and designers to use curves both for aesthetics and practical results such as losing weight and improving fuel economy through better aerodynamic performance. Barnshaws has a wide range of machinery for bending steel and aluminium sections, extrusions and plate which means the same principles can be equally applied to everything from bridges to curved roof structures. 

The aluminium is handled in a clean, non-ferrous bending area where almost any length can be processed to suit customer requirements, with additional drilling, cutting, finishing and fabricating services available to meet customer’s needs.

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