Tires that monitor pressure and temperature in real time are paving the way for even smarter solutions in the construction business, to enhance safety and improve predictive maintenance.
The construction industry is taking a page from the passenger car business book and capitalizing on the advantages of a cloud-based system that sends alerts when tire pressure is too low.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) have been mandatory in new passenger cars in the EU since 2014, and for longer than that in the United States. Now, with the steady advance of the Internet of Things, they are becoming big news in the construction business as well.
“TPMS is a hot topic in construction, mainly because there are huge savings in maintenance,” says Luca Giovannini, Senior Marketing Innovation Manager for Trelleborg Wheel Systems. “For passenger cars, the monitoring is largely about safety. For construction vehicles, the ability to optimize performance is the other great advantage.”
The new Trelleborg TPMS System was first presented at the construction machinery trade fair Bauma in Munich, Germany, in April 2019. This was followed by a commercial launch in August 2019.
“We may not be the first tire manufacturer to launch TPMS for construction tires,” Giovannini says. “But by carefully studying the market we have been able to create a premium solution for our premium tires, that is engineered for better performance. Our offering stands out. And as with most of our innovations, we have had a bottom-up approach, where we started by listening to our customers.”
Compared with other solutions on the market, the new Trelleborg TPMS sensor has an extra-long battery life. It’s guaranteed to last for at least five years, far exceeding the average lifespan of most construction tires. The sensor is easy to mount, as well as to move from one tire to another. As long as the sensor is active, the data collection is uninterrupted and the history of temperature and pressure data will remain intact.
“What we have launched so far is only step one for making the operator’s life easier in demanding construction environments,” Giovannini says. “Our future roadmap will add more features that will help optimize performance in different ways. In the reasonably near future, the data collected by TPMS systems should, for instance, be able to predict and guarantee the perfect route and speed of operations for extended tire life.”
All connected tires rolling on construction sites across the globe will contribute to the TPMS development process by collecting data.
“Analysis of the big data gathered will most likely allow more dynamic operations, extending tire life and reducing the number of products carried in stock for safety, both of which are great money savers,” he says. “And if our customers approve, we will also use the data to improve the performance of our tires, to make them even more efficient, and to see how we can be more effective in our service actions.”
As Trelleborg can offer premium tire pressure monitoring systems for farm vehicles as well as for the construction and other industries, Giovannini and his team are already preparing for the next launch – a tailor-made, risk-eliminating TPMS solution for vehicles working at ports and airports.
“In construction, each machine generally has a specific purpose, which limits some of the risks if correctly monitored,” he says. “In port operations the speed is higher. Heavy loads require higher tire pressure, which increases the risks of accidents, especially in container handling operations.”
The biggest scope for increased safety, though, would be to present sensor that could measure the wear on the tire and signal when it’s time for replacement. “That would be the ultimate innovation for tire manufacturers as well as drivers of all kinds of vehicles,” Giovannini says. “I am sure that someone soon will discover the magic formula, and I would not be surprised if that technology is in place within the next five years.”
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