In today’s world, fuel is a resource that truly drives the economy. In many industries the fuel cost deter-mines the price of products more than the manufacturing costs. Intermodal containers carry large amounts of transported goods across oceans, highways, and by rail. In 2010, Union Pacific asked a BYU Capstone team to address this issue by creating an aerodynamic train container that reduces the drag on the train and therefore decreased fuel consumption. Thus, the ArroWedge was born. However, the original design proved to be too expensive to mass produce, and therefore, the objective given to our team was to design an ArroWedge of equivalent aerodynamic efficiency while reducing the manufacturing cost.
Our solution consists of taking an existing 53 foot intermodal container, removing the siding from the front 13 feet and using that material to form a pointed front with flat sides as opposed to the original curved sides. This solution reduces the manufacturing cost by 88% while maintaining the aerodynamic advantage of the 2010 ArroWedge.
Due to the promising results, Union Pacific plans to manufacture enough ArroWedges to be able to have one on every intermodal train. We estimate that this will result in approximately $1.3 million in fuel savings each year and therefore save Union Pacific millions of dollars!
Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Capstone Webmaster, Department of Mechanical Engineering, BYU, Provo, UT 84602 - (801) 422-8657 Address/Directions