What makes the SMART construction system aerodynamic?
Hello and welcome to the third in our series looking at what makes SMART, smart?
Today Swift TV has come to Swift HQ to look into the letter A which stands for Aerodynamics
I am Blair Jacobs and joining me now is the Design Director at Swift Group: Chris Milburn.
Chris, when we think about aerodynamics caravans aren’t exactly Formula One racing cars are they, why is it so important to think about aerodynamics for the caravans?
Well aerodynamics is important because of the relentless increase in fuel costs that we have seen over the years which makes holidaying more and more expensive. The car industry has spent a lot of time and effort making the cars as fuel efficient as possible and it’s only right we make the caravans equally as aerodynamic to improve the efficiency of the product.
Any caravanner will know that when you hitch up to a caravan your fuel efficiency decreases and some of that is to do with the weight but an awful lot of it is to do with the aerodynamic drag that the caravan is creating so we study all of that and make sure we can improve on the aerodynamics of the van to maintain a good fuel efficiency.
The other thing that is important is also the stability of the van, it’s reassuring to know that when you are travelling along the road, the aerodynamics or the wind is not buffeting the caravan around too much, and that we can study also through the work we do with aerodynamics.
What work does Swift do on aerodynamics then?
Well right from the early concepts we are developing the designs using computers so it makes it very easy for us to do computer simulation work on all aspects of the design but in particular the aerodynamics and the process we use for that is Computational Fluid Dynamics.
We use some very sophisticated software to analyse the airflow over the car, the caravan, along the sides of the caravan, along the roof of the caravan to understand the aerodynamic efficiencies, the drag that’s created by the aerodynamics. We work very closely with a supplier partner Total Sim who are the experts in this particular field and advise us every step of the way in terms of the design process and how to optimise the design shape to get the best aerodynamic efficiency.
How has this improved fuel efficiency?
Well the amount of saving does depend very much on the car and caravan combination of course but typically an owner who has a 2.0 litre saloon car, diesel saloon car that is, will expect to save round about 5% to 9% on its fuel compared to towing a caravan of one of our leading competitors.
So tell what does the future hold?
Well we have learnt an awful lot over the last few years in terms of the aerodynamic studies that we have done. In fact there are a number of new and exciting ideas that we have got in the pipeline and we have managed to make a few patent applications as well so there are quite a few interesting ideas that I hope will get into new product that you will see over the next few years.
Well as always fascinating to learn more about it. Thank you for taking us through the aerodynamics of the SMART system.