[what's new in:] Inflation monitoring

Nov. 10, 2014
Keeping tires properly inflated keeps costs in line

Even for motivated drivers and technicians, managing tire pressures manually is difficult to perform well, says Joshua Carter, CEO of Aperia Technologies. The time of day, outside temperature and gauge variations, among other things, make accurate manual pressure readings difficult. That’s why tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems are such a compelling idea. They eliminate variables, even under the best of circumstances.

“Rolling resistance is impacted by inflation in all tire positions,” Carter adds. “While Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data suggest that maintaining proper tire pressure can result in a 1.4% fuel efficiency increase for a tractor-trailer combination, the bulk of that savings potential comes from trailer and drive tires. If you take into account higher mileages on power units in most operations, the ROI delivered by monitoring and inflation systems is actually quickest on drive axles in most cases, though trailer applications still deliver a rapid break even.”

Aperia’s Halo Tire Inflator, a self-powered, bolt-on inflation technology for drive and trailer axles, uses a wheel’s rotational motion to pump and maintain optimal tire pressures. According to the company, a 12-month study of mpg and tread wear with a truckload carrier using Halo on a number of tractors resulted in an ROI of less than nine months. ROI estimates for trailers, due to lower annual mileages, are about 15 months.

The Bendix SmarTire TPMS monitors pressure and temperature inside a tire and communicates tire pressures, along with a deviation value that shows the amount of over- or under-inflation from each tire’s cold inflation pressure, wirelessly to an onboard receiver. Bendix relates that as little as 10% under-inflation results in a 2% drop in fuel economy, increasing spending by up to $1,000 per year, and helping reduce tire-related breakdowns. The average cost savings can be $2,000 per incident.

Continental Tire the Americas offers its ContiPressureCheck tire pressure monitoring solution, which utilizes sensors mounted inside tractor and trailer tires to provide temperature and pressure readings and send alerts and warnings to the cab. Without the system, the company notes, additional fuel costs for increased rolling resistance due to under-inflated tires, at a per gallon diesel price of around $3.35, adds up to $875 per year.

Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems provides the TireMaxx Pro automatic tire inflation system as an option on its InTraax and VanTraax trailer suspension systems. The system draws from the trailer air supply to keep tires properly inflated to a preset pressure level based on changing environmental conditions. The company says a typical fleet spec’ing TireMaxx Pro will see a payback in two years or less.

Pressure Systems International offers the Meritor Tire Inflation System (MTIS) by P.S.I. The trailer system routes compressed air from the trailer supply to a control box and then into each axle to inflate any tire that falls below a designated pressure setting. The company reports that the estimated ROI for factory-installed systems is 12 months when accounting for fuel, tire life and labor savings, and eliminating service calls.

Stemco provides ROI data for its BatRF solution, which includes the AirBat tire pressure monitor, tire sensors, and an in-cab driver alert system. According to the company, its TPMS has a payback of $900 in one year so the cost of $1,100 to $1,200 to outfit a tractor-trailer means the system pays for itself in about 14 months.

TireStamp’s TireVigil TPMS and TireVigil TPMS Trailer solutions provide tire pressure monitoring data that fleets can use with analytical software to produce alerts and reports that improve tire maintenance. Using a North American Council on Freight Efficiency calculator, TireStamp says most fleets find that TireVigil TPMS has an ROI of under 12 months.

Wabco’s Integrated Vehicle Tire Pressure Monitoring (IVTM) system reports real-time deviation from desired tire pressure to drivers, and in combination with TrailerGuard telematics reports pressures to a web portal and to fleet managers via text or email. According to the company, at 15% under-inflation, fuel, tire, maintenance and breakdown cost savings with the system provide a payback in 6.7 months.

For determining ROI for tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems using actual fleet data, suppliers have made available online calculators.

For more information, visit these websites:

Aperia Technologies

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

Continental Tire the Americas

Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems

Pressure Systems International




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