SAF-Holland unveils tire pressure system for trailers

March 5, 2018
Company says it helps reduce tire wear, decrease maintenance downtime, and improves fuel economy; adding up to an ROI of less than a year.

ATLANTA. SAF-Holland rolled out its new Tire Pilot Plus tire pressure management system (TPMS) here at the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) 2018 annual meeting; a system designed to reduce trailer tire wear and the costs associated with it and improve fuel efficiency, all while reducing maintenance service.

“Tires represent the second highest vehicle operating expense for fleets,” explained Roger Jansen, SAF-Holland’s product manager for trailer axles and suspensions. “The reality is that most tires do not achieve their tread life potential. One reason for that is premature failure – and 80% of [tire] failures are directly related to tire inflation pressure.”

He added that TMC research indicates trailer tires can lose up to two pounds per square inch (psi) of inflation pressure per month through the inner liner and casing, regardless of use. TMC also calculates that tires underinflated by 10% will wear 9% to 16% faster than properly inflated tires, with underinflated tires adding to rolling resistance that can reduce fuel economy by as much as 2%.

To negate all of that, SAF’s Tire Pilot Plus provides consistent and proper inflation to compensate for psi loss. The system not only controls pressure through inflation, but also maintains equal pressure across all wheels and features High Pressure Relief (HPR) for over inflated tires, which could occur from extreme temperature changes during operation, Jansen said. By reducing tire wear, decreasing downtime by reducing maintenance, and improving fuel economy, SAF believes its Tire Pilot Plus system offers a return on investment (ROI) estimated at less than one year.

Leveraged from a tire inflation system platform designed by SAF for the European trailer market back in 2013, Tire Pliot Plus will be available second half of this year as Jansen said the company is wrapping up validation testing right now.

Components of the Tire Pilot Plus system include:

  • Knurled connections at both the cap and tire ends of the stainless-steel hose, for easy hand-tighten connections without a wrench.
  • A multi-functional hubcap with an integrated guide lip on the inside of the cap to enable easy alignment, sealing the surface to prevent oil escaping. The hub cap is also designed with special “fins” that protect the air fitting connections from damage.
  • Use of a polished steel/flexible tubing insert shaft and internal double lip seal that provides a more robust seal that allows for potential axial misalignment.
  • A warning light on the front wall of the trailer illuminates only when it senses a reduced pressure of 20 psi on the regulator setting; greatly eliminating “false-flag” type notifications.
  • Dedicated airlines from the Tire Pilot Plus control box to the wheel ends maintain pressure at pre-set levels, eliminating the need to pressurize the axle.
  • To prevent air loss, the unit’s bronze bushing ensures proper alignment of the rotating shaft, and a double-lipped radial seal (O-ring) prevents the system air from escaping into the axle wheel end.
  • The patented vented axle spindle plug within the axle spindle end keeps the system’s air dry, clean and free of contaminants to avoid wheel-end failures due to contamination or blown bearing seals.
  • A customized plug-in electrical harness maintains trailer tire pressures even when the system is not connected to the tractor.
About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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