ATLANTA, Ga. – SAF-Holland has unveiled the Tire Pilot Plus tire pressure management system for its CBX and ULX suspensions – topping up or even releasing air to ensure proper tire pressures across a trailer.
While customized for North America, the system draws on a platform that has been in Europe since 2013.
A related status light mounted on the front wall of the trailer shines only when pressures drop 20 psi below a set point, when tire condition would be in danger, rather than triggering every time a small pressure adjustment is made. And the relief valve only works when a supply line is attached and the system is turned on. Double redundancies ensure tires will not deflate because of heavy brake applications.
It’s all built around several robust features. A braided stainless steel hose has been used instead of thermoplastic tubes found in competing systems, and knurled brass fittings at the hubcap and tire ends will tighten by hand. The hubcap incorporates fins to protect air fitting connections from damage, and has a guide lip that supports easy alignments and seals the surface to keep oil from escaping. A vented axle spindle plug helps to keep the system’s air clean and dry, SAF-Holland adds, noting how this can help prevent wheel-end failures due to contamination or blown bearing seals.
Other structural highlights include high-temperature components, a polished stainless steel main shaft, bronze bushings, and double-lipped radial seal. The system’s brain, meanwhile, is a control box protected in an impact-resistant enclosure.
Automatic tire inflation systems have been in the market since the 1980s, and more than half of new trailers have some form of the systems involved, observes Roger Jansen, product manager for trailer axles and suspensions – Americas. “Tire inflation adoption has increased almost twofold year over year, as long as I’ve been around.”
There’s a good reason. The Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations has determined trailer tires can lose up to 2 psi of air per month through inner liners and casings, no matter the use.
About 80% of premature tire failures are directly related to pressure issues, Jansen added, noting that tires inflated by 10% will wear 9-16% faster than their properly inflated counterparts. “Most tires never achieve their full potential.”
Tire Pilot Plus comes with a five-year warranty and retrofit kits are available.