NEW ORLEANS. Having introduced an entire new line of truck tires last year, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire is going back to basics, developing new designs for core tire components. At a technology preview during its annual dealer meeting here, the company is showing new approaches to casing design and materials intended to increase both durability and resistance to irregular wear. It is also offering its dealers a look at a variety of tire pressure monitoring systems that could be used to meet any future Federal moves to require such remote monitoring.
A new belt package on display uses less material than current tire casing designs, yet provides a stiffer platform for the tread. The lighter, stiffer package could have a direct positive impact on both original tread life and casing durability, according to Guy Walenga, engineering manager—NA Commercial Products.
The company’s engineers are also looking at a new approach to tire bead design that will provide a stronger bead, more resistance to bead damage and result in greater durability over the entire life of a casing.
The third core technology unveiled at the show is a new inner liner made with a higher level of clay in its chemical composition. Called SuperSealant, it will cut moisture migration through the casing by 50%, Walenga said, not only reducing tire air loss but also protecting the casing elements from breakdown due to moisture exposure.
The display included both wheel-mounted and valve-stem mounted pressure sensors. Both are part of active monitoring systems that measure both air pressure and temperature. Devices for reading system output include a driver display for the dashboard, a wand that allows yardworkers to pick up pressure readings as they pass tires, a gate-mounted reader and even a cellphone equipped to pick up the system’s wireless signals.