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Vion aims to reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of its vehicle fleet on German roads by up to 8 percent over the next few years. The necessary reduction in diesel consumption by an average of 1.8 l/100 km is enabled by a holistic aerodynamic system for semi-trailers developed by aerospace engineers at the Aachen start-up Betterflow. In mid-March, Vion took delivery of the first semi-trailer with an aerodynamic package.
“The fuel consumption of a tractor unit is significantly determined by the aerodynamic properties of its trailer”, says Sven Janssen, Director of Logistics at Vion. “The better the aerodynamics, the lower the air resistance, which means lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from the tractor unit.” The aerodynamic designers at Betterflow have been exploring this connection and creating specific products since 2014, making them the perfect partner for a pilot project at Vion.
In order to reduce the fuel consumption of tractor units and consequently their CO2 emissions according to driving cycle, load and vehicle configuration, the start-up’s engineers have developed three specific components: underbody panelling, a slat for the front wall of the trailer, and a rear wing system that opens automatically at speeds of 60 km/h.
A streamlined solution
In order to bring this streamlined solution – from aerospace technology to the meat industry – with these semi-trailer trucks on the road for the first time, our logistics colleagues selected Mercedes Benz AG and the commercial vehicle manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull as additional partners.
“With this future-oriented ‘pilot’ programme for food logistics, we will now gather experience with the aim of gradually converting our entire fleet for road freight meat logistics,” says Sven Janssen. With an average annual mileage of 100,000 km each, Vion’s approximately 300 trailers in Germany and the Netherlands would consume over half a million litres of diesel less, thus reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 1,500 tonnes. “Anyone who – like us at Vion – wants to take responsibility for sustainability throughout their entire supply chain cannot ignore the issue of mobility and logistics,” explains the Director of Logistics. “As a pioneer in the meat industry, we are consistently taking the next steps towards future-oriented food supply systems.”