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SAF-Holland optimizes tire inflation pressures on the fly


ATLANTA, Ga. – SAF-Holland has announced an update to its tire management system, which brings dynamic inflation adjustments based on axle load.

The SMAR-te Tire Pilot was showcased at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show Oct. 29. It was created in partnership with AKTV8, combining its electro-pneumatic controls with SAF’s Tire Pilot Plus wheel-ends.

The system can: inflate, deflate and equalize tire pressures; optimize tire pressure based on axle load to extend sidewall and tread life; provide “smart alerts”; weigh axle loads and notify the driver of overweight loads; improve the cushioning of the vehicle and cargo, especially when lightly loaded; improve fuel economy; and reduce tire and vehicle maintenance.

A red light warns drivers of minor tire leaks, severe leaks, and overload conditions. It flashes slowly if there’s a slow leak, and fast to signal tires that require urgent attention. SAF-Holland notes the system requires no maintenance or calibration.

Kent Jones, president of SAF-Holland Americas, said the launch is the first in the company’s Smart Steel initiative.

Bill Hicks, product line manager for axle and suspension technologies, said AKTV8 built the “brains” of the system, adding more intelligence to the company’s Tire Pilot Plus inflation system it introduced nearly two years ago. The initial system, launched after the acquisition of PressureGuard, provided inflation, equalization, and high pressure relief. It didn’t have the ability to measure axle loads and adjust inflation pressures accordingly.

“We recognized there was greater potential for tire inflation management,” Hicks said.

The SMAR-te Tire Pilot will sense and adjust tire inflation pressure by load. A tire on a loaded trailer may be intended to run at 100 psi, while when empty, the tires will perform better at 70 psi. The SMAR-te Tire Pilot has those tire manufacturer-recommended pressures uploaded to it and will keep the tires at precisely the optimum pressure for the weight they’re carrying. This is key, said Hicks, because trailers are fully loaded less than 50% of the time.

SAF-Holland estimates the fuel savings could amount to about 0.3%, but tire life could be increased as much as 10-20%.


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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