IMPROVED DESIGN: Dana Spicer's tire maintenance system can help reduce tire blowouts and maximize your tire investment, it is claimed.
LUGOFF, S.C. – Dana Corporation has enhanced its Tire Maintenance System (TMS) for trailers by adding several new features.
The company has redesigned its electronic control unit (ECU), allowing customers to completely reprogram the ECU through the serial data-link connector.
This allows users to incorporate new features that may become available in the future.
“We had a bunch of customers who requested that and that’s why we provided it,” said Jim Beverly, chief engineer for advanced chassis control systems with Dana.
Enhanced diagnostic methods have also been introduced to simplify troubleshooting and a scratch-pad has been added for data storage.
Dana engineers have also improved the wire harness to better protect connection points. New over-molds provide increased protection from the elements and the power cable can be plugged directly into the ABS ECU – no adaptor cable is required.
Further protection to the components is also available through a new, optional wheel-end guard that protects the tire hose and tee from being stepped on when drivers climb onto the truck.
“These enhancements and others planned for the future once again demonstrate our commitment to new and emerging technologies to meet the demands of all customers,” said Beverly.
Dana is a strong proponent of TMS because the company insists the system can deliver real value to fleets – particularly when it comes to fuel economy and reducing roadside assistance costs.
“Fleet surveys indicate that approximately half of tire-related service calls could be eliminated with use of a tire pressure maintenance system,” Beverly said. “We accomplish this by actually measuring tire pressure, maintaining tire pressure automatically, and signaling a warning only when necessary.”
He added some of the benefits of TMS include: extended tread life; improved retread-ability; and an increase in overall tire efficiency. However, one of the greatest benefits could be a reduction in roadside assistance calls.
Beverly pointed out more than 50 per cent of costs attributed to breakdowns are tire-related. Still, the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) has published a survey suggesting 60 per cent of fleets check their trailer tire pressures only once per month (tire manufacturers suggest checking tire pressures weekly).
In terms of fuel economy, correcting a 20 per cent under-inflation on all the tires on a truck/trailer combination can improve fuel mileage by one per cent, Beverly said. Meanwhile, a constant 20 per cent over or under inflation can reduce a tire’s life by 30 per cent.
“Fleets with TMS experience better fuel economy due to the prevention of under-inflation. A 10 psi drop in a trailer’s tire pressure will increase rolling resistance by two per cent,” explained Beverly.
“Tires under-inflated by 15 per cent will cause fuel penalties of around 2.5 per cent. The combination of these customer benefits allows for a payback on the TMS system in as little as six months.”
Beverly said Dana Spicer’s TMS for trailers has several key advantages over other systems. For one, it routes air through the axle via sealed conduits which prevents pressurization of the axle tube. This prevents hub, air seal and check valve contamination.
Also, the system doesn’t vent at the wheel-end which helps prevent hub contamination due to water ingestion.
Instead, the system vents back through the axle, which also helps prevent seal blowout.
In addition, the system only checks tire pressures on power-up and every 10 minutes afterwards. Because it’s not constantly checking tire pressures, “Longer seal life is ensured as seals will not be pressurized for the hundreds of thousands of road miles when no inflation is required,” Beverly explained.
Dana representatives suggest it’s possible government will legislate some form of tire pressure warning system on commercial vehicles, and the company is confident its system will be well-poised to answer the call.
“Tire pressure monitor systems simply alert vehicle operators to an under-inflated situation, and do nothing to correct the problem,” Beverly said.
“Our product not only detects under-inflated situations, but it also remedies the problem.”
As for the future of TMS, Pat Brandt, sales manager, trailer OEM sales for Dana added “We see future opportunities where our system interfaces with other vehicle sensors, such as those associated with brake wear and wheel end temperature. That promises to significantly improve the performance, reliability and dependability of any commercial truck application.”