There are easier ways to check tyre condition than crawling underneath a truck or trailer.
When dealing with tyre companies it appears that each tyre manufacturer prides itself on resisting the temptation to tell anyone, including its customers, anything about the features and benefits of its products.
Despite the technology contained within a tyre casing being as technically advanced and interesting as that involved in the engine and transmission businesses, it seems that an inner fear exists with some tyre executives that any attempt at publicity might result in the loss of a customer to a competitor.
That position may of course change, especially as tyres are now developing their own level of intelligence and are able to communicate individually with their owners, telling them how they are feeling and whether they are under pressure or suffering from an over-inflated ego.
As one of the largest automotive suppliers and tyre manufacturers in the world, Continental showcased its latest and most innovative technology for commercial fleets at the recent North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show in Atlanta, Georgia.
This technology centres around the company’s new intelligent-capable regional-steer tyre, as well as its new GHG 2-compliant (Greenhouse Gas) monitoring solution.
Continental offers a wide portfolio of intelligent-capable steer tyres which can be ordered pre-equipped with TPMS sensors (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) from the factory.
The fear of a steer-tyre failing is something that concerns every truck driver, since they are some of the only tyres running in a single rather than a dual configuration. If a failure occurs at high speed it can in the worst-case scenario result in a major accident, or if managed correctly at least a severe fright for the driver.
Maintaining proper tyre inflation on a steer tyre is critical, allowing fleets to extend the tread life, maintain casing integrity for future retreading to the drive and trailer positions, improve safety and handling, and help prevent steer-tyre blowouts.
PowerTorque decided to check out the inner brilliance of Continental’s new breed of intelligent tyres by having a chat with the latest products, as they take part in prove-out trials in the North American market.
Continental’s newest steer tyre is the Conti HSR 3, a regional-steer tyre delivering excellent mileage with scrub resistance. It will replace the HSR2 in regional-steer usage, delivering higher mileage than the predecessor.
The Conti HSR 3 is built on the Conti 3G casing for improved durability and retreadability, essential elements for delivering the lowest overall driving cost to regional fleets. The key differentiator between the popular HSR2 predecessor and the new Conti HSR 3 is the enhanced belt package of the new product. With significant engineering improvements, it withstands highly concentrated pressure and increases penetration resistance.
Built for increased stiffness, it reduces heat build-up for improved wear and longer mileage. This also extends the casing life for enhanced retreadability.
The Conti HSR 3 is currently undergoing field testing, which includes working with a refrigerated food service fleet in Pennsylvania where vehicles travel about 1000 km per day, stopping at multiple store locations.
High scrub resistance and highway distance were of utmost importance to this fleet and while the test is still ongoing, results are positive. Competitor products were expected to deliver 260,000 – 290,000 km, according to the fleet. The Conti HSR 3 is currently projected to deliver more than 354,000 km under the same conditions.
In addition to the new Conti HSR 3, Continental offers a full portfolio of intelligent-capable steer tyres, customised to the needs of fleets in different applications.
Conti EcoPlus HS3 is Continental’s most fuel-efficient steer tyre, delivering maximum fuel economy and on-road mileage for long-haul applications. It took first place in fuel efficiency tests conducted by the PIT Group of FPInnovations as part of its annual Energotest campaign, with results released last January.
In the line-haul application test, the following 11R22.5 tyres from Continental were tested: Conti EcoPlus HS3 steer, HDL2 drive, and Conti EcoPlus HT3 trailer tyres.
The Continental tyres delivered a fuel economy of 3.12 km/litre (32.05 l/100 km), which represented a 2.1 percent fuel saving over Michelin X-Line Energy Z, D, and T tyres. Based on national average kms/litre, distance traveled and fuel cost from the North American Council on Freight Efficiency, fleets could save over $US13,500 ($AUD19,400) per truck by switching to Continental tyres.
Conti HSL 3 is Continental’s steer tyre for long haul and super-regional applications, delivering excellent on-road mileage combined with fuel efficiency. It took first place in the regional fuel efficiency tests from PIT Group.
In the regional application test, the following 11R22.5 tyres from Continental were tested: Conti HSL 3 steer (2019 rename of Conti Hybrid HS3), HDR2 EcoPlus drive, and Conti Hybrid HT3 trailer tires.
The Continental tyres delivered a fuel economy of 3.08 km/litre (32.47 l/100 km), which represented a 6.3 percent fuel saving over Michelin XZE2, XDN2, and XZE2 tyres. Based on national average kms/litre, distance traveled, and fuel cost from the North American Council on Freight Efficiency, fleets could save over $US12,800 ($AUD18,400) per truck by switching to Continental tires.
Conti HSC 3, a heavy truck, steer/all-position, construction tyre, was launched in October 2019. As an on/off-road tyre, its performance is focused on durability, with excellent on-road mileage.
The Conti HSC 3 delivers significant benefits over its predecessor, HSC1, including an estimated 11 percent distance improvement. Built on Continental’s 3G casing for reduced heat build-up and improved retreadability, the tyre also features a wider tread platform to increase mileage.
The off-road belt package delivers improved penetration resistance. The new cap/base tread compounds deliver a 100 percent improvement in the reduction of cuts to the belt during cut-and-chip testing, as well as reducing heat build-up.
The Conti HSC 3 answers demands from the market, including excellent on-road mileage, stone ejectors in the tread pattern for self-cleaning to prevent stone drilling, and strong, thick sidewall reinforcement. As an intelligent tyre, it is ready for Continental’s digital tyre monitoring solutions to identify punctures and creeping air loss, helping avoid breakdowns in a time-critical industry.
The entire Generation 3 construction tyre line – Conti HSC 3 steer, Conti HDC 3 drive, and Conti HAC 3 all-position – as well as the Conti Coach HA3 motor coach tyre, are manufactured exclusively as intelligent tyres with embedded TPMS sensors, due to the inherent benefits of tyre monitoring in their respective industries. All other Continental tyres can be specified as intelligent tyres on customer request.
Continental offers a full portfolio of digital tyre-monitoring systems to meet different fleet needs. Components of all systems can be combined to take advantage of different functionalities.
Tyre-monitoring solutions include the ContiPressureCheck on-vehicle TPMS and ContiConnect Yard digital tyre-monitoring system with web portal.
ContiPressureCheck Solo is a trailer TPMS system and is the company’s newest tyre monitoring solution. It monitors the trailer-tyre status and notifies the driver of tyre pressure issues in real-time while keeping the trailer system completely separate from the prime mover.
“This new solution keeps fleets and trailer manufacturers ahead of pending legislation and demonstrates our commitment as a partner to the commercial vehicle industry,” said Paul Williams, Continental’s executive vice president of commercial vehicle tyres in the Americas.
“With this addition to our digital tyre-monitoring portfolio, we now offer solutions for long-haul fleets and owner-operators, for fleets who return to the yard daily, and for trailers.”
Continental tyre sensors form the basis of all of the company’s commercial tyre monitoring solutions. Mounted on the inner liner of each tyre, they are protected from weather, theft, kerbing and damage during tyre mounting. Sensors can be retrofitted into existing tyres, or intelligent tyres with preinstalled sensors can be ordered directly from the Continental factory.
The Central Control Unit, mounted on the trailer, continuously receives data from the tyre sensors and activates alerts if needed.
The notification light, mounted in an industry-standard position and visible in the driver’s side mirror, is activated if low pressure is identified in any of the trailer’s tyres. Multiple levels of low-pressure alerts ensure notifications reflect the severity of the issue.
Trailers equipped with telematics systems can also transmit tyre data into the telematics dashboard, allowing back-office support personnel to view trailer TPMS information remotely. Integration with Truck-Lite Co’s Road Ready trailer telematics system is already available.
The battery-powered sensors last up to six years or 640,000 km, keeping maintenance to a minimum. Continental’s solution is not connected to trailer air hoses, so it does not introduce additional leak points into the air system or require intensive upkeep to prevent air leaks. As a stand-alone trailer TPMS, it is ideal for drop-and-hook scenarios since there is no connection needed to a specific tractor.
In the United States, tyre fitment will have to conform to the requirements of incoming legislation that will meet greenhouse-gas emissions and fuel-efficiency standards from multiple regulatory bodies.
The Phase 2 GHG Trailer Rules set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which go into effect in 2020, currently contain provisions for certain trailers to install either a tyre-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) or an automatic tyre inflation system (ATIS). Regulations also state that trailers will be required to use low rolling-resistance tyres.
“If the legislation stays as currently written, fleets will be able to meet all GHG 2 regulations with just two simple items from Continental: the ContiPressureCheck Solo trailer TPMS and our extremely low rolling resistance tyres,” explains Carolina Wagner, Continental’s head of marketing for commercial vehicle tyres in the Americas.
“That’s it, just two products and your trailer can be GHG 2 compliant. You won’t need an aerodynamic kit or any additional products.”
As the introduction of intelligent tyres gathers momentum, here’s one product that can make a significant impact globally by communicating its thoughts to management, irrespective of language difficulties. Next time you see a tyre fitter talking to themselves in the tyre bay, they could just be having a chat with their mates.