The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will debut the commercial-vehicle application of its new self-inflating Air Maintenance Technology, which it said can aid in both saving fuel and reducing VO2 emissions, at the 2012 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) Commercial Vehicle Show under way in Hanover, Germany.

According to Goodyear, its Air Maintenance Technology mechanism allows tires to maintain constant, optimum pressure without the use of external pumps, electronics or driver intervention. The tire maker added that the resulting proper tire inflation from Air Maintenance technology-enabled tires can improve fuel economy, prolong tread life and optimize tire performance.

 Goodyear said customers can expect these benefits from its Air Maintenance Technology:

·         “Optimum tire pressure is key in the commercial market. It is estimated that for every 10 psi lost in tire inflation, there is a one percent loss in miles per gallon.”

·         “AMT is expected to play a major role in optimizing tread life in the commercial tire market. Tires which are under-inflated by 10% decrease tread life by 9-16%. By utilizing Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology, fleet operators will be able to realize the full mileage potential of their tires, thus saving money by prolonging the use of their tires.”

·         “Properly inflated tires are also necessary to keep a vehicle’s handling performance at optimal levels. Under-inflation means less evenly distributed pressure on the road. It also reduces the tread area that is in direct contact with the road and can impact the integrity of the tire casing, which is key to the retreading process.”

·         “The life of a commercial truck tire is often extended by retreading. The commercial truck AMT system is being designed to perform after the retreading process.”

“We believe the Air Maintenance Technology application for commercial  vehicle tires will not only enhance the performance of the tire, but will also provide cost savings to fleet owners and operators through the extension of tire tread life and increased fuel economy” stated Goodyear CTO Jean-Claude Kihn. “The progress we continue to make with this technology is very encouraging. We look forward to further testing of this concept.”

“Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology has the potential to be a game-changer for the commercial trucking industry,” said Phillip Kane, vice president, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “By addressing issues that are critically important to trucking operations, Air Maintenance Technology can help keep their trucks up and running while optimizing their productivity.”

Engineers at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Akron, OH, are credited with the development of the commercial application of this concept and the supporting technology. Goodyear noted that prototype tires have been produced in Goodyear’s Topeka, KS, plant and rigorous validation testing has confirmed that the AMT pumping mechanism works. An extensive fleet trial is planned to gather real-world information from customers in 2013.

A $1.5-million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology is helping speed up research, development and demonstration of the AMT system for commercial vehicle tires, Goodyear said. And a grant from the Luxembourg government for research and development will continue to help fund Goodyear’s efforts in researching and developing the AMT system for consumer tires.