ATIS, TPMS field-test results examined in TMC roundtable

March 7, 2011
During the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting recently, Al Cohn, director–new market development and engineering support for Pressure Systems International (PSI), organized and moderated a roundtable discussion focusing on tire inflation pressure technologies as part of the S.2 Tire and Wheel Study Group.

During the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting recently, Al Cohn, director–new market development and engineering support for Pressure Systems International (PSI), organized and moderated a roundtable discussion focusing on tire inflation pressure technologies as part of the S.2 Tire and Wheel Study Group.

Presented at the session were results from a recent 12-month fleet field test conducted by FMCSA to determine whether TPMS (tire pressure management systems) and ATIS (automatic tire inflation systems) can influence tire maintenance intervals and practices and improve performance and safety. Based on data collected during the test from two fleet operations, Sheetz and Gordon Food Services (GFS), outfitted with the Meritor Tire Inflation System (MTIS) by PSI, Tire SafeGuard Monitoring System from HCI Corporation, and Integrated Vehicle Tire Monitoring System from WABCO, Chris Flanigan FMCSA Office of Analysis, Research and Technology commented on each of the hypotheses FMCSA aimed to prove or disprove with their field test:

•Hypothesis 1—TPMS or ATIS use will increase the life of equipped tires. Comment: GFS tire wear data points toward increased tire life.

•Hypothesis 2—TPMS or ATIS use will improve fuel economy of equipped tractor-trailers. Comment: Fleets saw a 1.4% improvement in fuel economy.

•Hypothesis 3—TPMS or ATIS use will reduce road calls for damaged/flat tires of equipped tractor-trailers. Comment: Test fleets experience fewer road calls.

•Hypothesis 4—TPMS or ATIS correctly measures the tire pressure of equipped tractor-trailers. Comment: Minor issues were identified in each fleet.

•Hypothesis 5—TPMS or ATIS use will not introduce unscheduled maintenance that adversely affects day-to-day fleet operations. Comment: Technicians did not report altered work habits due to TPMS equipment.

Other panel members included Peggy Fisher, president, TireStamp; Frank Sonzala, executive vice-president, PSI; Mike Jeffress, vice-president–maintenance, Maverick Transportation; and Winston Minchew, asset and training manager, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.

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