It's not surprisingly that with the cost of fuel and oil reaching crisis levels, the issue of proper tire inflation has come to the forefront of the industry. First of all, since tires are oil-based, every time a tire is destroyed, more oil must be used to produce a new one. Secondly, running under — inflated tires-especially on the trailing vehicle — increases rolling resistance, resulting in poorer fuel economy.
Those are two good reasons to consider an automatic tire inflation system. There are other benefits as well, such as extended tire wear and safety. The next generation of the Meritor Tire Inflation System by PSI addresses safety and environmental issues by including a corrosion-resistant stainless steel retaining ring and a larger, longer-lasting stainless steel tube that allows for higher air flow to the tire. The design is available on new trailers and for retrofit to existing equipment.
Last month, PSI also launched a tire inflation system for OE and retrofit applications that integrates heat-sensing capabilities. The heat sensor technology warns drivers visually and audibly of impending heat buildup in a wheel end in order to help them avoid dangerous fires and/or wheel loss. PSI will be displaying the new technology for fleets at the upcoming TMC meeting and Mid-America Trucking Show.
Airgo Systems says tire inflation systems represent an important safety solution for the trucking industry as it strives to comply with the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. Airgo produces constant tire inflation systems (CTIS) for commercial longhaul vehicles, including tankers, reefers and dry van trailers.
CTIS not only monitors tire pressure, but automatically inflates leaking tires while a vehicle is in motion, using the trailer's existing air supply. Once activated, a warning indicator alerts the driver of a tire problem via a light mounted on the trailer in sight of the driver's rear view mirror. The driver can assess the problem and continue driving until reaching a service facility safely off the highway.
Dana Corp.'s Commercial Vehicle Systems group recently enhanced its Dana Spicer Tire Pressure Control System (TPCS) with a new integrated Driver Display Module that, in conjunction with new dash-mounted rocker switches, simplifies the selection of tire pressures to maximize vehicle mobility under varying load and terrain conditions. TPCS is available for factory installation on most makes and models of vocational trucks manufactured in North America, Dana notes.
Recently Dana's Commercial Vehicle Systems group signed an agreement to market and sell the SmarTire tire pressure and temperature monitoring system to the commercial truck and bus market in North America under the SmartWave brand. SmarTire Systems, based in Richmond, British Columbia, will initially introduce three versions of its system to meet varying fleet customers' needs, from basic inflation monitoring to off-vehicle communications.
As a value-added option for its customers, Hendrickson offers the TireMaax tire inflation system with its Intraax and Vantraax trailer suspensions. Recent component upgrades to TireMaax, the company reports, have increased its strength, durability and efficiency. According to Hendrickson, the affordable system helps fleet owners minimize costly tire wear and improve productivity and fuel mileage.
TireMaax is governed by an electronic control unit that signals operators when a situation requires attention. It responds by directing air from the trailer air tank to one or more tires when the inflation pressure dips below a preset level. Tire pressure settings can be adjusted with an optional hand-held programmer.
Reineke offers a tire inflation system called the PressureGuard TIS, which has easy-to-remove hubcap venting plugs that permit faster and easier lubrication. With PressureGuard there is also no need to pressurize the hollow axle, so the risk of wheel-end failures due to blown seals is eliminated, according to Reinke.
Last fall, Reinke announced it had begun offering the PressureGuard TIS in conjunction with Stemco's Sentinel long-life wheel-end systems. The company says that with this combination, tires will last longer by wearing more evenly and wheel-end performance will be extended.
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Pressure Systems Int'l. (PSI)