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Equipment Watch (November 01, 2002)

Michelin's eTIre monitoring system boosts tire management practicesMichelin has developed a new tire tracking and monitoring system the company says can save fleets hundreds of thousands of dollars.Th...


Michelin’s eTIre monitoring system boosts tire management practices

Michelin has developed a new tire tracking and monitoring system the company says can save fleets hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The eTire system was unveiled to the market at a press event in Orlando, Florida, after years of testing with U.S. fleets. The system consists of an in-tire sensor, which is coupled with a sensor dock on the inside of the tire wall. The sensor weighs less than an ounce, meaning it won’t disrupt a truck’s balance.

A fleet can scan the tire using either a handheld or Drive By Reader (DBR) device which records each tire’s air pressure, temperature and ID number. That information can be accessed over an Internet connection by fleet managers who can then utilize the information to better manage their tire program.

“The eTire system delivers the benefits of true, cradle-to-grave tire tracking and air pressure monitoring using radio frequency transmissions,” according to Mike Tolman, E-Commerce Products Manager with Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “We can now deliver the information managers need to make decisions that impact their fleets every day.”

The in-tire sensor provides quick and accurate readings of a tire’s pressure, taking the tire temperature into account as well. “We measure the temperature inside the tire and we compare that to the ambient temperature outside and then we just do a simple calculation which gives us the cold equivalent pressure,” explains Tolman.

This is a major safety advance, since hot tires often record a tire pressure as much as 12 psi greater than the actual pressure. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for a dangerously deflated tire to go undetected since it would often fall within the acceptable limits if measured while still hot.

For fleets that always insist on taking readings while the tire is cool, the waiting time (while the tire cools) can now be eliminated thanks to this new technology.

The ID number each sensor is equipped with is also an important feature, says Tolman. “By having a unique ID number, we can now track each individual tire electronically,” he says. Once mounted, a sensor is able to remain attached to that individual tire for the life of the tire – including retread cycles. When the tire is disposed of, the sensor can be re-attached to a new tire and the old information will be archived while the sensor immediately begins recording the new tire’s data.

That’s one of the reasons Michelin decided to make the sensors battery-free.

“Batteries and the high heat associated with the retread cycle don’t mix very well,” says Tolman. So, with no batteries to worry about replacing, what powers the sensor?

“The power source is generated off the DBR or the handheld reader, which triggers the sensor to wake up,” says Tolman.

Most of the time, the sensor is inactive, and only begins recording data when prompted.

While Michelin recommends fleets install the permanent DBR in addition to having the handheld device at the ready, it’s not always necessary to have both methods available. Smaller fleets may want to consider the cheaper option of using a handheld reader at all times. However, the handheld reader must be docked and it takes a bit longer to scan each tire individually.

The handheld device consists of a screen and touchpad, with a wand designed to reach between dual tires to get an accurate reading of each tire.

“This whole system has been designed around the dual configuration,” says Tolman.

The DBR, on the other hand, reads each tire instantly as the truck is driven through the readers, and a light indicates to the driver whether or not there’s a problem. By the time the driver is out of the truck, details about the problem can be accessed.

Michelin has also created a Web-based interface called BIB TRACK, which allows fleet managers to view the latest data recorded by the sensors.

“BIB TRACK is essentially a complete 100% tire tracking program,” says Phil Arnold, also an E-Commerce Products Manager with Michelin. The BIB TRACK program is where the information is stored and accessed, and Michelin says it virtually eliminates the tedious data entry requirements previously required by most tire management programs.

The program can generate reports such as total cost summaries, location summaries, tire inventories and tire mileage.

And since it tracks a tire over the course of its life, the program also allows fleet managers to weed out tires with repeat problems. For instance, the program includes a “low air count” category that indicates how many times a particular tire has been found to be under-inflated. Rather than sending a driver back out on the highway with a potentially unsafe tire, a fleet can replace the tire knowing it has developed a continuous leak.

“It’s designed to capture those tires that are sneaking under the radar,” says Arnold.

While Michelin engineers masterminded the eTire system and the company’s dealer network will be the driving force behind it, the eTire system is applicable to any brand of truck tire.

Although it’s commercially available immediately, Michelin’s dealer network has yet to place a price tag on the system. While the installation of a DBR – and even the handheld readers itself – won’t come cheap, the company is hoping to offer the sensors at a cost of less than $30 each (all figures are in U.S. dollars). It may just be a matter of time before truck stops and dealerships have the readers available for use, but in the meantime a large fleet may find it a worthwhile investment. Michelin also suggests fleets consider sharing the DBR with others fleet on a user-pay basis.

Michelin compiled a cost savings chart indicating a fleet of 2,400 trucks and 4,000 trailers stands to save more than $640,000 per year. That tally is drawn from figures submitted by one of the system’s test fleets.

Haldex unveils latest generation of desiccant air treatment for brakes

Contaminants in the air system cause extensive brake damage ranging from clogged valves, deteriorated rubber parts and poor brake performance. To fight back Haldex has released its five-stage cleaning system, the Multi-Treatment Cartridge, which represents the company’s latest generation of desiccant air treatment.

Haldex claims its cartridge provides up to three times the water drying capacity for air brake systems compared to competitive dryers. And the company adds that this water drying capacity doesn’t impede airflow, which reduces chances of corrosion and freezing problems.

The five-stage cleaning system begins by eliminating solid particles through a fine corrosion- and chemical-resistant aluminum mesh. The air then flows through a large desiccant bed where oil and water droplets are eliminated. A second desiccant bed removes oil and water vapor, while the main desiccant bed treats water vapor and any remaining contaminants. As a final precaution, ultra-fine particulates are removed from the airflow through a dust filter before the air enters the system.

The cartridge has a 4-bolt slide-in-and-out design for quick replacement while still on the vehicle.

Petro-Canada achieves worldwide first with audit

Petro-Canada Lubricants passed the audit for the new ISO/TS 16949 standard and is the first lubricants manufacturer worldwide to be recommended for registration.

ISO/TS 16949 is the first globally recognized technical standard designed specifically for third-party industry suppliers.

In a continuing tradition, Petro-Canada was the first lubricants manufacturer to be ISO 9001 certified in North America and the first in Canada to achieve QS 9000.

Haldex Consep air pre-treatment system designed for severe service applications

Haldex has launched an air pre-treatment condensor/separator designed specifically for severe service applications that encounter extreme temperatures and humidity or require heavy loads and frequent stops.

The Haldex Consep condenses, separates and removes 90% of the oils, liquids, and other contaminants from the vehicle’s air brake system before the air reaches the air drye
r, the company claims.

The company explains that the circular path of the air through the Consep cools the air, causing oils, water and contaminants to condense and separate from the air. Because of this process, the Consep reduces corrosion and possible failure of the air system components caused by contamination, Haldex says. It can also substantially increase air dryer desiccant life.

An integrated automatic drain valve purges the contaminants periodically, while the built-in heater prevents freeze-up. Mounted between the air compressor and the air dryer, the compact Consep requires no scheduled maintenance during its service life, according to Haldex.

TMB Industries acquires Phillips & Temro Industries

Phillips & Temro Industries, a manufacturer of cold-weather starting products and engine silencers which runs two facilities in Winnipeg, has been acquired by TMB Industries, a Chicago-headquartered private equity firm. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Phillips & Temro was owned by The Budd Company.

Jim Todd has been appointed President and CEO of Phillips & Temro. He has held executive management positions in several companies, including Rockwell International and Emerson Electric. Also joining the organization is Dave Hawkins, who has been appointed CFO. The current president of the company, Gary Edwards, has been appointed to the position of COO.

The company’s OEM manufacturers include Ford, General Motors, Cummins, Caterpillar, Kohler, PACCAR, Freightliner and Volvo/Mack.


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