Evidence of the most common

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Evidence of the most common Powered By Docstoc

  E    vidence of the most common
       catastrophic tire failure mode
  can be seen on any highway. But
                                                                                           equipment, and most can be retro-
                                                                                           fitted on older vehicles.
                                                                                               Even the simplest, wheel-
  “road alligators,” those ugly shards                                                     mounted visual pressure indicators
  of rubber that compromise every-                                                         can have a marked effect on tire
  one’s safety, can be all but elimi-                                                      life. For example, “We love our
  nated with a little common sense.                                                        Cat’s Eye monitors,” insists Rolf
     Many people, especially the                                                           Listau, maintenance manager for
  motoring public, blame retreaded                                                         Elite Carriers, based in Wausau,
  tires for the problem, but faulty                                                        Wis. Since investing in them, “our
  retreads are rarely the cause. A few                                                     tire failures have gone from six a
  years ago, a task force organized by                                                     month down to one,” he adds,
  the Technology & Maintenance                                                             “and proper pressure helps fuel
  Council collected 1,070 large frag-            BY PAUL RICHARDS                          economy, too. Even owner-opera-
  ments of truck tires along eight sec-                                                    tors who pull our trailers are
  tions of highway, coast to coast.         that’s not just tread. It’s casing, and it’s   putting them on their own trucks.”
  Only 11 fragments indicated that a        a direct result of tire pressure neglect.          Moving up to monitoring/infla-
  tire had been victimized by defective         Also, even if a tire isn’t underin-        tion systems, the price is steeper, but
  retreading, and it’s estimated that       flated enough to fail, vigilant tire           the results are automatic. “We’re
  roughly half the rubber fragments         pressure maintenance can reduce                really strong on proper tire pressure,”
  found on roadways come from tires         premature wear, and can have a                 notes Tom Newby, director of field
  that never have been retreaded.           positive effect on fuel economy.               maintenance for Old Dominion
     Low air pressure is the real cul-          While one maintenance solution             Freight Line, based in Thomasville,
  prit. How? The reinforcing belts in a     is to check tire pressure frequently,          N.C. “And we’re sold on monitoring

   Don’t blame retreads when you forget to keep your tires properly inflated.
  tire are meant to flex a certain          there are devices that check pressure          and automatic inflation (the fleet
  amount while rolling under load,          virtually constantly and, depending            uses ArvinMeritor’s PSI system).
  which generates a manageable              on the product, add air on the go.             We’ve seen reduced tire cost per mile
  amount of heat. However, when a           Onboard pressure monitoring                    and better treadwear. If I can avoid
  tire is underinflated significantly,      devices, which generally cost less             one blown tire on the road, the sys-
  the belts flex to a much greater          than $500, provide at-a-glance pres-           tem has practically paid for itself.”
  degree, generating enough heat to         sure measurement, while onboard                   So, if you’re at all interested in
  break down the integrity of the tire.     monitoring/inflation devices, which            helping clean up the highways — and
     If bending a paper clip back and       generally go for less than $1,000,             saving money — refer to the accom-
  forth can burn your fingers, imagine      can detect a low-pressure condition            panying comparison chart and see
  what bending a steel belt can do to a     and restore proper pressure without            which system is right for you.
  tire. If you see a rubber fragment on     human intervention. Some of these
  the road with wires sticking out of it,   products can be spec’d on new                             (Chart starting on page 76)

74 Commercial Carrier Journal May 2006
     Tire Inflation and Monitoring Systems

       Airgo            Airgo Systems Automatic Tire      Trailer                   Monitors and inflates            Uses truck’s air com-
       Systems          Monitoring and Inflation System                                                              pressor to provide air to
                                                                                                                     trailer tires

  ArvinMeritor          Meritor Tire Inflation System     Trailer                   Both, with warning light indi-   Takes air from trailer
                        (MTIS) by PSI                                               cating inflation in progress     reservoir and channels
                                                                                                                     through control box that
                                                                                                                     distributes it to axles; no
                                                                                                                     electronics; runs without
                                                                                                                     vehicle power except for
                                                                                                                     warning light

  ColVen                Safer Corp.Vigia Tire Guardian    All (two systems)         Monitors and inflates            Uses truck’s air com-
                                                                                                                     pressor to provide air to
                                                                                                                     all tires

  Dana Corp.            Dana Spicer Tire Inflation and    Trailer                   Monitors and inflates            Electronic control unit,
  Commercial            Monitor System (TIMS may be                                                                  solenoid-controlled man-
  Vehicle Systems        integrated with Bendix                                                                      ifold with pressure sen-
  Group                 TABS-6 trailer ABS)                                                                          sor, rotary air seals at
                                                                                                                     wheelend, communica-
                                                                                                                     tions link

  Hendrickson           TireMaax                          Trailer                   Monitors and inflates            Governed by an ECU, the
  Trailer Suspension                                                                                                 system provides a respon-
  Systems                                                                                                            sive tire inflation system
                                                                                                                     that automatically taps
                                                                                                                     trailer air supply to main-
                                                                                                                     tain inflation without press-
                                                                                                                     urizing axle tube seals
                                                                                                                     when not inflating; in-line
                                                                                                                     check valves isolate tires

  Link Manufacturing    Cat’s Eye                         Drive and trailer duals   Monitors only                    Tire pressure-monitoring
                                                                                                                     eye connected to the two
                                                                                                                     valve stems via rubber or
                                                                                                                     stainless-steel hoses in
                                                                                                                     lengths of 12, 14 and 16
                                                                                                                     inches; includes internal
                                                                                                                     check valve so if one dual
                                                                                                                     goes flat, the other stays

  Michelin              Michelin eTire System             All                       Monitors only                    eTire Intire sensor is a
  North America                                                                                                      batteryless sensor
                                                                                                                     activated by handheld
                                                                                                                     or drive-by reader

  Stemco Bat RF         AirBat,TracBat, HandBat,          All but steer             Monitors only                    Heart of the system is ad-
                        DataBat                                                                                      vanced sensor technolo-
                                                                                                                     gies used to monitor and
                                                                                                                     track mileage and tire
                                                                                                                     pressure; couples
                                                                                                                     these sensors with wire-
                                                                                                                     less collection methods

  Wabco                 Integrated Tire Pressure          All                       Monitors only                    Radio frequency transmissions
                        Monitoring System                                                                            reports in real time any deviation
                        (co-developed with Michelin)                                                                 from the desired tire pressure,
                                                                                                                     via wheel-mounted sensors

76 Commercial Carrier Journal May 2006

Yes                        Yes                                 Regulates and filters air twice before use; 8     ArvinMeritor
                                                               cfm capacity; includes indicator light that
                                                               notifies driver of leakage

No, wired warning light    No, light on trailer front corner   Proven design with 1,800,000 units in ser-
                                                               vice; simple design, low maintenance, long-
                                                               term durability; operates from -30 degrees F
                                                               to 240 F; system hubcaps universally
                                                               available; wheelend heat sensor option to
                                                               warn driver of excess heat due to bearing
                                                               or brake release problems that may cause
                                                               fires or even wheel-offs

No, wired warning light    No                                  Can serve all wheel positions
                                                                                                                 Dana Corp. Commercial
                                                                                                                 Vehicle Systems Group

No                         Yes                                 Air seals non-pressurized when not inflating
                                                               for longer life and overall system reliability;
                                                               measures tire pressure, not airflow, to
                                                               eliminate nuisance warnings; no venting at
                                                               wheelend to prevent contamination; seal
                                                               conduits in the axle prevent premature seal
                                                                                                                 Hendrickson Trailer
No                         No                                  TireMaax does not pressurize the axle;            Suspension Systems
                                                               incorporates a vent designed to protect
                                                               the wheelend from contamination and
                                                               pressurization; LED power indicator shows
                                                               blink code troubleshooting; indicator
                                                               illuminates only when maintenance is

No                         No                                  Check tire pressures at a glance with easy
                                                               reading Cat’s Eye gauge; single airing point;
                                                               protects good tire when one tire fails; saves
                                                               fuel; increases tire life

Yes, assigning a unique    No                                  The eTire system provides fleets with com-
identifier to each tire;                                       plete tire pressure maintenance and asset         Michelin North America
sensor remains attach-                                         tracking
ed to a tire throughout
its life and retreading

Yes, uses RFID to com-     No                                  Easy to install and easy to check tires
municate accurate pres-
sure readings to the
handheld device

Yes                        No                                  Reports pressure reliably and independently
                                                               for each tire; inconvenient and expensive
                                                               manual controls are eliminated              ■
                                                                                                                 Stemco Bat RF

                                                                                                                 May 2006 Commercial Carrier Journal 77