Systems save tires, labor and fuel
Automated tire inflation (ATI) systems help extend tire life by ensuring that tires that too often go unseen remain properly pressurized. Automatic inflation also saves on labor costs and downtime. And as the price of diesel has climbed and trucking has become more environmentally oriented — and that includes shippers seeking “green” service providers — ATI systems have become even more appealing to fleet owners who want to reduce fuel consumption as well.
ArvinMeritor, which markets the Meritor Tire Inflation System (MTIS) by PSI, reports that “more than 80% of fleet tire problems are caused by improper inflation.” The company points out that in addition to helping save fuel by keeping tires properly inflated, its MTIS helps reduce what is the “second largest financial expenditure for most fleets, tires,” by ensuring their lifespan is not shortened by wear caused by running while underinflated.
ArvinMeritor says that the optional ThermAlert wheel-end heat sensor unit for MTIS helps alert drivers to stop for repairs before serious damage can occur due to elevated wheel-end temperatures.
Roadranger, which markets the Dana Spicer Tire Inflation and Monitor System (TIMS), states it is based on the “proven design and performance of tire-pressure management technology that has been used by the military for more than two decades.” TIMS is available integrated with the Bendix TABS-6 trailer ABS system or it can be ordered for stand-alone installation.
Unlike constant-pressure inflation systems, according to Roadranger, TIMS's seals are non-pressurized when inflation is not occurring. That, the company says, results in longer seal life for greater reliability and improved uptime from the system. There is also no axle-tube pressurization, which Roadranger says means that contamination is avoided from the axle tube, preventing premature seal wear and check-valve sticking.
Airgo says its new Airgo Gold and Platinum Edition automatic tire inflation systems are engineered to “provide the safest possible method of transferring air to damaged or compromised tires.” The company says its mechanical seal technology is comprised of carbon/graphite and case-hardened steel, dynamic and static seals for extended wear capabilities.
According to Airgo, a key benefit of its approach is a stationary system with no moving components within the hub area. “No moving parts means there is nothing to wear out and less of a chance that there will be leaks in the lubrication compartment,” states the company. “Less wear and leaks greatly reduces the risk of pressurizing and/or damaging the hub area while significantly extending the life of the system.”
Bearing Technologies LLC's PressureGuard tire inflation system uses the trailer's existing air supply to inflate and maintain the tire pressure on all of the trailer's tires to the optimum preset level, according to the company.
“The patented system uses the trailer's existing air supply to inflate and maintain the tire pressure on all of the trailer's tires to the optimum preset level. This ensures that the tires are running as efficiently as possible and maximizes the tire's life.”
Other key features the manufacturer lists include non-pressurizing the axle avoids wheel-end failures due to contamination or blown wheel seals, and the zero-pressure axle vents are remotely located above the axle to prevent moisture and contaminates from entering the wheel end. The company notes the PressureGuard system is easy to install and can be retrofitted on existing trailers as well as ordered on new trailers.
Hendrickson offers the Tiremaax tire-inflation system as a value-added option for its Intraax and Vantraax trailer suspension systems. The company says its ATI uses the trailer air supply to maintain tire inflation up to a preset level. Tiremaax detects low tire pressure and signals the operator to situations or circumstances requiring attention. It responds by directing air from the trailer air tank to one or more tires when the pressure dips below a preset level, Hendrickson explains.
The Hendrickson system is offered in two configurations: Tiremaax EC (electronic control) and Tiremaxx CP (constant pressure). The company says the difference is the control unit. Tiremaax EC boasts an electronic control unit that provides full system programming and monitoring, while Tiremaax CP has a pneumatic pressure regulator and a simpler mechanical design.
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