Truck World more than tires
Whether goods or passengers, the transport industry is a clear testimony of the changes currently sweeping through the tire industry, and not just in terms of tire development and improvement but also as far as solutions aimed at improving mobility.
"The world around us is moving faster than ever and tires are no exception. In a rapidly changing "business" we want to be among those who drive this change going from a "simple" tire manufacturer to a provider of all-round mobility solutions," says Stefano Parisi, CEO of Bridgestone South Region. As a proof of this the company invested 2% of its 2017 turnover in research, not to mention the progressive expansion from producing rubber objects, to developing and maintaining sales networks, preventive maintenance and digital solutions as confirmed by the agreement signed at the beginning of the year with Tom Tom".
In this context, Truck World, i.e. the truck and bus tire sector, is the best expression of the change that is taking place within Bridgestone, a change that involves premium tires, technologies and digital solutions designed to meet the needs of transport fleets and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Today, more than ever, fleet owners and operators are under pressure to maximise productivity and minimise operating costs. Faced with these challenges and to ensure that fleets and original equipment partners continue to benefit from affordability, sustainability and efficiency, Bridgestone is likewise investing in mobility solutions.
"Transport fleets are facing ever-increasing challenges. They are a priority for Bridgestone," says Steven De Bock, Bridgestone EMEA's Director of Sales & Operations Commercial Products. We are investing heavily to be the kind of partner they need at this time of change. Our solutions and products are designed to maximise productivity and minimise total cost of ownership. We are making a historic transition from a premium tire manufacturer to a mobility solutions company. This, however, does not mean that we are neglecting our core business. In fact, hi-tech tires are just as important for commercial fleets, called upon to overcome the challenges they face. That's why our range of premium tires continues to grow and remains a priority for Bridgestone as we enter the future of mobility”.
Moving from words to hard facts, Bridgestone unveiled two new premium tires specifically designed for the truck and bus segment: Duravis R002 and Coach-AP 001. Recently, the Ecopia H002 was also introduced. Furthermore, Bridgestone expanded its range of digital solutions and applications to include Total Tire Care, FleetPulse and TomTomTelematicsWebFleet in its product portfolio.
Coach-AP 001: designed for efficiency
Coach-AP 001 is the first Bridgestone tire completely dedicated to the bus segment. Developed to reduce operating costs without neglecting safety, Coach-AP 001 earned a B for fuel efficiency on the European labelling system (which means reduced CO2 emissions and lower running costs), with an external noise level (PBN) of only 69 decibels and a B rating for wet grip. The 3PMSF and M+S markings means is perfectly at ease in the coldest months of the year. Bridgestone Coach-AP 001 is available from October 2019 in size 295/80 R22.5.
Duravis R002: longer life to cut tco
Bridgestone Duravis R002, on the other hand, was designed to help hauliers reduce operating costs. Designed to be versatile and provide excellent wet grip, the Duravis R002 has been developed in partnership with 17 transport fleets in 13 countries. Compared to its predecessor, the Duravis R002 (steering, tractor, trailer) guarantees improved wear resistance, 45% higher, and a cost per kilometre reduced by 15%. Duravis R002 is a multi-purpose tire suitable for a wide range of applications, from motorways to regional roads. Having achieved the best-in-class "A" wet grip label on the steering axle - and ready for the winter season thanks to 3PSFM and M+S markings on all three axles - it guarantees superior wet grip and year-round performance. In addition to the 4 main sizes already available, a further 6 will be added from 2020. Duravis R002 will be fitted as original equipment by heavy duty vehicle manufacturers such as Daimler, Iveco, Man, Renault, Scania and Volvo.
Ecopia H002: lower running costs even in extreme weather conditions
Launched by Bridgestone in September 2018, the new Ecopia was developed with fuel efficiency in mind. The innovative tread and compound developed using new technology guarantees long-distance driving and reduces total running costs lowering fuel consumption. Ecopia H002 steering, tractor and trailer tires are A-A-A-labelled for fuel consumption. Designed to allow drivers to cope with difficult weather conditions, besides ensuring traction on wet roads (B-B-B), the new Ecopia H002 is also approved for winter driving as evidenced by the acronyms 3PMSF and M+S. In fact the range complies with all European winter tire regulations. Available sizes are 315/70 R22.5 (steer/drive) and 385/55 R22.5 (trailer). The entire line, including the Series 60, is in the process of being completed to cover all the sizes required for long-distance driving.
FleetPulse: reducing down-time
FleetPulse is a three-in-one digital solution that provides fleet managers with real-time information on the condition of their vehicles in order to reduce maintenance costs, increase travelling time and simplify operations. FleetPulse uses a tire-monitoring hardware to ensure that the pressure is right cutting unnecessary costs caused by untimely tire maintenance, which could lead to increased fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Bridgestone's recent acquisition of TomTomTelematics completes the offer for fleet owners and managers. WebFleet, TomTomTelematics' fleet management solution, supports businesses by communicating real-time information on vehicle location, driver behaviour, fuel consumption data and offers the possibility to communicate with a field team.
New products, new services: 2019 is a pivotal year for Bridgestone
Andrea Marconcini, regional director commercial products at Bridgestone Europe South Region, explains that "it's not enough to have a good tire - and we believe ours is one of the best products on the market - but you also need to be able to offer something extra, you need to offer solutions that support fleets managers in cutting costs and managing their fleet. Today we have a 360 degree offer: mileage cost, centralised billing, and Tom Tom Telematics telematic solutions. The truck market is traditionally difficult, and offering more solutions can help us gain market share”.
What were the key points in developing the new Duravis 002?
"It is a regional product, widely used in Europe over roads other than motorways, and will replace all the other products we have for this segment. All the new technologies have been integrated to ensure maximum durability and reduced costs for the operator: this was the principle behind the design. Between new products and digital solutions 2019 should be a pivotal year for us. Every year and a half we renew a significant portion of our range to keep up with changing needs and new transport regulations.
How are you addressing the staggering Italian road haulage industry?
"Recently we have witnessed a “natural selection” among operators. Transport fleets have diminished in total numbers although the number of large commercial fleets has increased, even if Italy is still far behind the rest of Europe. As things stand, credit represents one of the main problems, both for us and for retailers. We are preparing a tool that will support both retailers and fleet managers in granting credit through financial instruments, so that the retailer is protected and fleets can enjoy payment extensions. However, there is still a fundamental problem that needs to be tackled if the sector is to be revamped”.
Total Tire Care: a platform of digital services
Bridgestone's Total Tire Care is a complete tire management solution that uses technologies and systems able to monitor, maintain and manage fleet tires, ensuring safety and reducing maintenance costs. Customers can choose from packages including Toolbox for tire monitoring, Fleetbridge for tire status and contract management, Basys for casings management, Tirematics for pressure measurement and proactive maintenance. As each fleet is unique, all Bridgestone tire management solutions can be tailored to each individual need. Currently Total Tire Care is used by around 500 fleets in managing something like 300,000 vehicles through half a million worksheets in 2,100 “service and maintenance structures”.
Radio frequency identification in the spotlight
All new Bridgestone truck and bus tires will be equipped with a Radio-FrequencyIDentification (RFID) electronic tagging system that will enable fleet managers to improve casing traceability and optimise their TCO. Bridgestone's RFID-equipped tires are also able to work with the Total Tire Care customised tire management programme and maintenance service packages, which bring significant added value. RFID is a technology which automatically identifies and stores information about objects, animals or people based on the ability to store data by particular electronic labels, called tags (or even transponders or proximity keys) and on the ability of these to respond to remote requests by dedicated fixed or portable devices, called readers. This identification is made through radio frequency, thanks to which a reader is able to communicate or update the information contained in the tags. Despite its name, the reader is not only able to read, but also to write information. In a certain sense, RFID devices can therefore be likened to wireless reading and writing systems with a number of significant applications.