Gas 'em up

Not taking care of tires will only increase their cost to own, not to mention make them less fuel efficient on the road

With the cost of fuel rocketing along it may be easy to lose sight of the number-two equipment cost for most fleets — tires. But not taking the utmost care of tires will only increase their cost to own not to mention make them less fuel-efficient on the road.

An idea that's not new but has not been seen as practical by many truck fleets — filling tires with nitrogen instead of air — may get a timely boost thanks to a new development from the Ingersoll Rand Productivity Solutions Group.

According to Ingersoll Rand, their new Nitrogen Tire Filling System will ensure better tire performance with a greater degree of safety while giving users the ability to grow along with demand.

Ingersoll Rand says its Nitrogen Tire Filling System relies on state-of-the-art membrane technology to deliver high-quality nitrogen to tires. Nitrogen is a dry, inert gas that Ingersoll Rand says leaks through a tire's rubber walls three times more slowly than oxygen. As a result, tires filled with high-quality nitrogen stay inflated longer — and therefore grip the road better and provide greater control in all weather conditions.

The company notes this is why nitrogen tire inflation has been widely adopted both for military vehicles and the highest-performance race cars.

“It's an obvious safety issue,” points out Ray Evernham, himself a three-time Nascar Nextel Cup champion crew chief and team owner of Evernham Motorsports. “Simply put, tires filled with nitrogen provide more stable pressure. That's why Ingersoll Rand's system represents the best solution for drivers and tire repair centers.

Improper tire inflation, Evernham notes, compromises tire load capacity, decreases fuel economy and results in sluggish handling and heat buildup. And heat buildup can lead to catastrophic tire failure — also known as a blowout.

“We recognize the fact that every shop has different tire inflation needs,” points out Ryan Lang, Ingersoll Rand solutions manager. “The Ingersoll Rand Nitrogen Tire Filling System gives an owner the ability to adjust and meet increased demands by upgrading his or her system.”

He explains that what this boils down to is a shop can buy a system sized to its needs and then increase system capacity as needed.

“A smaller service shop owner will probably need to purchase a one-membrane system while the larger fleet operation may need to purchase a four-membrane system,” notes Lang. “However, as that service shop's business grows, and more people learn about nitrogen, the service shop that purchased a one-membrane system has the ability to upgrade to a two-, three-, or four-membrane system by purchasing additional membranes for the system they currently own.”

Lang points out the Ingersoll Rand system has no moving parts, is very quiet and requires simple annual maintenance. He says the system can be connected easily to an existing compressed air supply and can be ready to generate nitrogen in minutes.

He says yet another advantage nitrogen has over oxygen is that as oxygen leaks out through a tire's rubber walls, it oxidizes the rubber compounds in the tire, causing the tire to deteriorate. In contrast, nitrogen is a clean, moisture-free gas that “slows down tire aging.”

“Fleet operators will quickly realize the cost savings which can be attained by running nitrogen in their tires,” states Lang. “The number of tires that they will have to retread each year will be far fewer. Studies have shown that tire life can be increased by up to 26% — which is a huge cost-saving potential.”

For more information, call 800-376-TOOL or go to irtools.com.

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