Continuing its holistic trailer design strategy and new Smart Steel product initiative, SAF-Holland has introduced the SAF Tire Pilot Plus automatic tire inflation system that allows fleet managers to extend tire life, improve fuel efficiency, reduce service and optimize uptime.
The new product was released Sunday at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
In debuting the Tire Pilot Plus, SAF-Holland Product Manager Roger Jansen says proper tire inflation has a direct effect on tire wear and fuel economy.
“Modern tires are capable of achieving high tread life but most don’t because of premature failure, the majority of which are related to improper tire pressure management,” said Jansen.
According to TMC, trailer tires can lose up to 2 psi per month through the inner liner and casing, regardless of use. The TMC calculates that tires underinflated by 10 percent will wear 9 percent to 16 percent faster than properly inflated tires. TMC also reports underinflated tires add rolling resistance that can reduce fuel economy by as much as 2 percent, and Jansen adds that 80 percent of premature tire failures are the result of improper wear.
SAF-Holland says Tire Pilot Plus provides consistent and proper inflation to compensate for psi loss. The system inflates tires and bleeds air from over-inflated tires to maintain proper psi and also maintains equal pressure across all wheels. Tire Pilot Plus will be available in the second half of 2018 and carries a five-year warranty.
Designed by leveraging the company’s European Tire Pilot platform launched in 2013 and custom engineered for North American market and SAF Holland’s CBX and ULX series suspension systems, Jansen says Tire Pilot Plus allows fleets to achieve a one-year payback by reducing tire wear, decreasing downtime, reducing maintenance and improving fuel economy.
Tire Pilot Plus uses a rotary union mounted inside the spindle to provide better protection. The system is constructed with braided stainless steel hoses, knurled brass connections at both tire and cap ends and a heavy-duty hubcap with built-in fins to protect air fitting connections.
Citing the numerous warning lights and alerts drivers receive on a daily basis, SAF Holland opted to activate the trailer-mounted warning light only when tire pressure falls 20 psi below the set point, indicating a significant tire event and prompting the driver to take immediate action.
Dedicated airlines from the Tire Pilot Plus control box to the wheel ends maintain pressure at pre-set levels, eliminating the need to pressurize the axle. To prevent air loss, SAF-Holland says the bronze bushing ensures proper alignment of the rotating shaft, and a double-lipped radial seal (O-ring) prevents the system air from escaping into the axle wheel end. And, the patented vented axle spindle plug within the axle spindle end keeps the system’s air dry, clean and free of contaminants to avoid wheel-end failures due to contamination or blown bearing seals.