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Tracking Truck Tire Inflation Can Pay Dividends

Tire-related costs are the largest maintenance expense for commercial vehicle fleets, but with the right tools, you can help your customers save money and gain their trust in the long run.

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According to the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association (ATA), a constant 20% underinflation in a commercial vehicle tire increases tread wear by 25% and reduces the tire lifetime by 30%. This results in significant increase in tire costs for a fleet.

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It also increases fuel costs. Underinflation of just 10 psi reduces fuel economy by 1%. Tire-related costs are the single largest maintenance expense item for commercial vehicle fleet operations, and improper tire inflation increases tire-related costs by approximately $600 to $800 annually, per tractor-trailer combination.

“Tires typically lose up to 2% of their air pressure every month. A tire that is underinflated by as little as 2% can exhibit irregular wear and other tire issues,” explained Michelle Reinhart, head of business development for digital solutions with Commercial Vehicle Tires the Americas. “Worn valve stems and temperature changes can increase the amount of pressure loss, as can nail holes and other tire damage from demanding applications such as waste hauling.

“Mismatches between identical tires can be caused by differences in air pressure,” Reinhart continued, “causing irregular wear in a ‘tall tire, short tire’ pattern. Variances as small as 5 psi can cause the tires to be mismatched. This type of mismatch can occur even when the tire make, model, tread depth, and diameter are identical. A difference in air pressure between two dual position tires is easy to fix, but frequently goes unnoticed until it causes visible tire wear.”

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Continental’s Suite of Tire Monitoring Systems

The ContiTrack2 digital inspection tool and associated software identifies and tracks a commercial tire’s tread wear and tire pressure in real time. Tread depth, air pressure, mismatched dual tires and irregular wear are digitally tracked, photographed and analyzed in Continental’s password-protected cloud-based software. Using a connected iPhone, iPad or Android device, the data is immediately formatted into reports with actionable insights to reduce overall tire costs, prevent costly downtime and improve safety. Fleet managers have instant access to their tire data, unlike manual inspections, which may take hours or even days to be relayed from the service location to the fleet manager.

ContiConnect is a remote tire-monitoring platform that collects tire temperature and data via sensors that are mounted on the inner liner of the tire to prevent damage from curbing, eliminate theft and ensure the sensor can accurately detect the temperature without being influenced by heat from braking systems.

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“As trucks enter the yard, the yard reader station picks up data from the sensors and transmits it to the ContiConnect web portal via a cellular network. In the web portal, the fleet manager or commercial tire service manager can immediately access alerts for low tire pressure, track data over time and view reports and analytics for all tires equipped with sensors,” said Michelle Reinhart, Continental’s head of business development for digital solutions. “The platform also features customizable text and email notifications, so that the maintenance supervisor can receive immediate alerts when low tire pressure or high tire temperature is recorded.”

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Bridgestone BASys Fleet Analyzer

Bridgestone highlights the Bandag Alliance System (BASys) Fleet Analyzer, a mobile and web-based tool that offers detailed reports on the performance and condition of tires after an inspection is performed. The system captures more than 15 million data points on casing performance, integrity and the number of times each casing is retreaded.

“Bridgestone engineered BASys for tire service providers to monitor every aspect of a fleet’s retread program with insights, analytics and forecasting,” said Carson Spencer, director of technology products and operations, U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. “The best way to create efficiencies in operations through technological solutions is to choose a program that records data, as well as informs options for better maintenance procedures.

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“By compiling as much information as possible on a digital platform, you can help fleet managers evaluate performance data to better inform the decision-making process.”

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Dana’s Rhombus TireAnalytics Solution

Dana Inc.’s Rhombus TireAnalytics solution is a cloud-based business process and advanced predictive and prescriptive analytical platform that enables commercial truck owners and fleet maintenance managers or tire service managers to identify best practices for tire maintenance and optimize tire lifecycle management.

The system provides insights into the condition of tractor and trailer tires that help identify and analyze tire wear trends, predict maintenance issues that can be addressed preemptively to minimize truck downtime and establish optimal timeframes for scheduled replacement, the company explained.

“Rhombus TireAnalytics is a hardware-independent solution and provides integration capabilities to work with on-board devices, communications systems, various IT systems including maintenance management, inventory management, dispatch and customer management systems. With guided navigation and fleet-specific tire policies, Rhombus TireAnalytics helps even a novice complete tire inspections quickly. Alerts and notifications are sent in real-time for tire compliance issues, deviations or exception conditions,” said Chuck Avery, national sales manager of applications for Dana. “Technicians typically use a smartphone or tablet. No other IT infrastructure is required for Rhombus TireAnalytics, since it is a cloud-based application.”

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Avery explained that a tire technician will move around the truck and record all tire pressures, tread depths and tire conditions with images with the Rhombus TireAnalytics mobile application. “Tire identification and inspection data can also be transmitted to the Rhombus TireAnalytics system via several other devices including Bluetooth, RFID, drive-over devices, barcode, QR codes, etc.,” he said.

Check out the rest of the June digital edition of Tire Review here.

For more on this topic click here to read Tire Review‘s June 2019 cover story, Capturing truck tire data during service: Why it matters and how you do it.

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