ATLANTA. SAF-HOLLAND has launched SMAR-te Tire Pilot, an “intelligent evolution” of tire pressure management.
Tire pressure management is critical to a fleet’s efficient operation, explained Bill Hicks, SAF-HOLLAND trailer suspension axle systems product manager, in a presentation at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show here. Tires are the second highest vehicle operating expense. Improper tire pressure causes 80% of premature tire failures. Proper tire pressure is critical to tire life and yet it is known that 66% of fleets have tires operating at more than 5 PSI from the proper setting and 22% have at least one tire more than 20 PSI from the proper setting.
Indeed, ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council’s Future Tire Durability and Reliability Task Force issued their position paper last year highlighting the need to improve today’s trailer tire inflation systems to include the ability to dynamically change tire pressure based on trailer axle load.
“This ties right into our strategy of where we wanted to go with smart products,” said Hicks. “How do we elevate tire inflation to the next level? That's what we've done.”
So SAF-HOLLAND, through its global Smart Steel Initiative, is partnering with AKTV8 LLC, combining patented electro-pneumatic controls with SAF’s Tire Pilot Plus wheel ends to deliver SMAR-te Tire Pilot.
“This was something that was an epiphany moment for me,” Hicks said. “What we have here is a very, very robust and cost-effective solution, which is what we were looking for. The AKTV8 electronic brain really opened the door for us into opportunities of what we can do with the system.”
This intelligent tire management system is engineered to work with SAF integrated suspensions and functions to:
- Inflate, deflate, and equalize all tires to ensure tires wear evenly
- Optimize tire pressure based on axle load to maximize tire sidewall and tread life
- Fast, accurate control tire pressure, no regulators to wear out or recalibrate
- Smart-Alerts provide real system status; no more nuisance alerts
- On-board scale with overload alert option reduces citation potential, improves CSA scoring
- Improve cushioning of both the vehicle and cargo, especially when lightly loaded
- Reduce tire and vehicle maintenance, ease service and troubleshooting
- Enhance fuel economy and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions
The patented SMAR-te Tire Pilot incorporates AKTV8’s iAir robust electro-pneumatic control module with integrated solenoid valves and sensors to dynamically measure and adjust tire pressure based on trailer axle load. The Smart-Alert diagnostic LED light warns of minor tire leaks, severe leaks, and overload conditions. Bluetooth and CAN connectivity allow enhanced configurability and serviceability, with optional telemetry integration.
Unlike traditional mechanical tire inflation systems, SMAR-te Tire Pilot requires no maintenance or calibration, according to SAF-HOLLAND. The ability to more accurately control the proper tire air pressure per the Tire Manufacturer’s load and inflation standards reduces tire stress, resulting in optimized tire tread and casing life and reduced rolling resistance.
SMAR-te Tire Pilot could revolutionize tire inflation by providing automatic adjustment of tire pressure based on trailer axle loads at a price point that makes sense for North American fleet operations. Because SMAR-te Tire Pilot leads to increased tread and tire casing life, safe and reliable tire performance, enhanced fuel economy and GHG reduction as well as reduced tire and vehicle maintenance, it’s the smart way to maximize tire life.