Manager: Tom Jerbis
Title: Maintenance Director
Fleet: Dillon Transportation, Burr Ridge, IL
Operation: Nationwide hauler of asphalt and highway construction materials
According to maintenance director Tom Jerbis, Dillon Transportation has been convinced for years of the value of installing tire-pressure monitoring and inflation systems in its trailers. The problem, as he tells it, was finding a system that did not solve one problem only to create another.
Dillon runs 126 mostly Peterbilt tractors and 216 bulk, tank and flatbed trailers to deliver liquid asphalt and other construction and roofing materials nationwide.
“We were sold on the value of tire inflation systems,” he says, “as we know for the most part drivers are not checking inflation. And we get a lot better tire life when all eight trailer tires are at equal pressure; the result is more even tread wear and less tire failures which involve expensive road calls.
“We opted for a tire-inflations system a few years back but we began to experience wheel-end failures. The design of that system brought on seal failures which in some cases resulted in wheels coming off trailers.
“That supplier gave us upgraded parts as a fix,” he continues, “but our trailer supplier suggested another product. But we had parts issues with that system.”
Zip for two but still sold on the potential of a trailer inflation system to cut tire costs, Dillon gave a third player a whirl.
“Our trailer dealer learned of the Airgo (www.tireinflation.com) constant tire-inflation system and put us in touch with them,” says Jerbis.
“I looked their system over and discovered it had several appealing features lacking in the others we'd tried,” he relates.
According to Airgo, the system relies on check valves to automatically detect when a tire loses pressure, whether the loss is from a puncture or seepage.
The system then immediately draws air from the vehicle's pneumatic system and directs it to the tire in need.
Air pressure is delivered via the trailer's hollow axle housing, or by pressure tubing in the case of non-pressurized applications, the manufacturer adds. The air then goes through the hub assembly and into the tire.
“Their design is different,” says Jerbis, “and we've found for us it's simply a better system.”
As Jerbis sees it, Airgo's key distinction is the vents that release air to prevent any impact on seals. “It's a much more simplified design and has certain components that won't wear out,” he states.
“On top of the design advantages,” he continues, “their system cost us less to purchase for a dual-axle setup than the previous ones we used.
“We've had the system on now for six months with no problems,” Jerbis advises. “And whenever Airgo has upgraded something they've replaced those parts at no cost to us. We feel the system is well worth it if it saves us ten road calls a year.
“Airgo has helped us improve tire performance across our fleet without adding additional maintenance,” he sums up, “so now every trailer we buy is equipped with their system.”
Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.