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Beyond tires

Innovative truck


Transport vehicles are becoming increasingly hi-tech and their components are no less important, starting with tires, evermore crucial as far as efficiency and lower running costs are concerned. 

Massimo Condolo

Transport vehicles are becoming increasingly hi-tech and their components are no less important, starting with tires, evermore crucial as far as efficiency and lower running costs are concerned. The recent industrial vehicle show (IAA) in Hanover, held at the end of September, was the perfect showcase for many new developments in casings and compound technology, as well as services, apps and software offered by tire manufacturers.


Bridgestone, second generation

With Bridgestone Ecopia H002 tires, all axles can be fitted with A-labelled energy-efficient tires. All three versions, HSteer for steering axles, HDrive for drive axles and HTrailer for trailers, have reached the highest efficiency class; they are labelled B for grip on wet roads and boast both M+S and 3PMSF markings. Ologic, on the other hand, is a narrow tread design with a large diameter, fit for use on electric vehicles. Starting next year, all Bridgestone tires will be fitted with RFID tags as standard, making it easier to trace them through the Total Tire Care program. Bridgestone’s fleet management system, called FleetPulse, sets deadlines and checklists for vehicle inspection. Provides real-time information on the condition of the vehicle and manages workshop bookings and roadside assistance. Communication with drivers and fleet managers is done via a cloud.


Goodyear, all-silica tires

The all-silica compound is one of Goodyear’s Fuelmax Performance main innovations. Previously  presented as a trailer tire only (T), it is now available in drive axle (D) and the steering axle (S) configuration. They all come with RFID label as standard; The Fuelmax D Performance tread design assists traction and self-cleaning capacity with self-generating grooves appearing at 60% tread wear to ensure life-long traction. The company has calculated that a fleet of 100 vehicles, adopting Fulemax on all 5 axles of each articulated truck, could save as much as 214 thousand litres of fuel every year, besides 557 thousand kg of CO2 and 290 thousand euro in running costs. Two new Goodyear Proactive Solutions apps help fleet managers and drivers in day-to-day tire management; the Drive Over Reader ground sensor, which can be positioned at the entrance of a depot, reads the pressure, load and depth of the tread of each tire as the vehicle passes over it and matches the data to the vehicle's licence plate, which is automatically detected. TPMS and DOR devices will then generate daily reports and alerts to be shared with the operators and drivers; the GPRS signal used by the TPMS devices (also available in a new Heavy Duty version for off-road vehicles) come in handy also as an anti-theft mobile tracker.


Hankook, on and off-road technology

The new treads in the Hankook SmartWork line, AM11, DM11 and TM11, have been specifically developed for construction site vehicles designed to cover most of their miles on public roads. The AM11 has three extra-wide main drainage tread grooves in a zigzag design, and special rubber blocks in the tread grooves stop stones from becoming lodged; sipes, chamfered block edges contribute towards more block stability and improve braking and handling response. TM11 has a half-open shoulder design, while the directional V-shaped tread design and interblock tie-bars at the centre of the DM11 ensure high block stability and outstanding grip in the wet and mud.


Continental supplies the charge

Electric trucks are the focus of research at Continental. Under the Man CitE, a prototype electric delivery vehicle, we find new tires with a highly sought-after design which combines a striking blue stripe on the sidewall with a hand-carved profile and blue groove bottoms on the tread,  manufactured by hand in a dedicated factory where the company is able to produce special parts in small series. Research on electric vehicles stems from the different needs of these vehicles compared to traditional buses and diesel trucks: weight distribution and centre of gravity differ greatly, just as the torque delivered by these power units; tests are expected to start soon on a fleet of electric buses in the city. Rolling resistance has been reduced as much as possible to ensure greater mileage. In addition, Continental offers TPMS systems connected directly to on-board networks or telematic systems able to communicate with drivers and operators. The Conti Connect Yard, on the other hand, is a reader located at the entrance of the depot, which reads TPMS data, to be shared with 36 onboard telematics systems, including Mercedes FleetBoard, Tomtom and Visirun.


New sizes for Michelin

Michelin’s all-position, long-range bus tire X Coach Z, marked 3PMSF, is now also available as a 295/80 R22.5. Together with the Multi Energy Z and D for trucks (all-position and drive axle tires respectively) they expand the tire ranges able to guarantee consistent performance right down to the minimum depth required by law (2 mm). This means using the tires safely until the complete end of their life, reducing the number of replacements: from the traditional 120,000 km to 155,000, with obvious economic and environmental advantages. Furthermore, Michelin’s apps such as My Best route for route planning, My Inspection for maintenance and My Training for on-going driver training, have been updated to include a dedicated version for Iveco’s LNG-powered Stralis. Still on software, Truckfly, is an app that optimizes routes including rest areas, relies on a community of 120,000 drivers who contribute to its updating, 45% of whom are French.

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