By Neil Dowling
While the stars at truck shows are usually the truck makers and trailer manufacturers, the grass roots industries of product suppliers and services provide their own excitement and innovation.
Tyre retailers in Australia are a secretive bunch, guarding the results of surveys amongst customers on tyre life and the effects of new compounds on fuel economy as though their lives depend on it. But one company at the Brisbane show surfaced from the dark side to showcase a new development in tyre pressure monitoring, in the process attracting a lot of interest from operators who find tyre technology interesting and realise how much influence on costs a tyre monitoring programme can have.
Bridgestone Australia has signed off on a new product after successful trials of a static monitoring system that checks truck and bus tyre conditions without human involvement.
Available now to Australian operators, the Bridgestone tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) Is installed in the premises of the operator, usually at a gateway, and senses tyre air pressure and air temperature. The results are transmitted to the cabin or truck operator control centre.
Bridgestone’s TPMS, part of the tyre maker’s Total Tyre Management model, is suitable for return-to-base applications such as metropolitan delivery services, waste management, construction and bus fleets.
The data collected through the technology will also be integrated into the B Mobile platform, with low-pressure warnings creating action items within the system.
A spokesman for Bridgestone Australia told PowerTorque it had already prevented two potential vehicle fires after extreme air temperature was detected in two buses at an Australian coach operator.
The monitor, also in use overseas, has been introduced into Australia after Bridgestone saw the potential for vehicle accidents attributed to poor tyre condition.
Bridgestone’s national commercial and solutions business manager, Jon Tamblyn, estimates the technology will provide a 70 percent reduction in tyre-related failures.
“Slow leaks are difficult to detect, and often they are not picked up until it is too late,” he said.
“It only takes a few days for a slow leak to become a critical issue, or worse, result in a catastrophic failure.
“Fleet operators understand the importance and cost-per-kilometre benefits of running at the optimal pressure, and through the regular, automated checks our gate technology is designed to deliver, operators will be able to ensure their vehicles are at the correct pressure when they leave the depot.”
The system has external sensors mounted on each wheel position’s valve, each with a unique identifier to measure tyre pressure and temperature.
As the vehicle passes between the magnetometer-activated gates at the operator’s depot, the data is received and uploaded to a Cloud-based reporting system twice a day.
The system also features logic to immediately notify depot or fleet managers to critical alerts, such as a low-pressure value or unusually high temperature, via email or SMS.
Bridgestone said that because the hardware is all stand-alone, installation is simple and cost-effective, with no need to remove existing tyres to implement the technology.
Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand managing director Stephen Roche said the launch of the gate TPMS technology demonstrated how Bridgestone is committed to providing business solutions.
“The introduction of Bridgestone’s gate technology is a major advancement for the industry and will allow us to bolster our fleet offerings,” he said.
“The technology is designed to alert fleet operators of potential issues before they become a problem, and streamlines what was previously a manual task in the yard.”
The installation of the gate TPMS allows operators to automatically check tyre pressure when a vehicle enters or leaves the yard. This increases the number of checks, and provides more frequent and up-to-date data.
Bridgestone said it had made significant investments in its commercial solutions programmes over the past few years. It has launched its locally-developed B Mobile platform digitising and streamlining system for service technicians, and continued to roll out new Total Tyre Management tools.
Carrier’s latest Vector HE 19 (High Efficiency) unit was big news at the Brisbane Truck Show for operators involved in fridge pan work. The new unit includes Carrier’s E-DRIVE all-electric technology, which replaces the mechanical transmissions of a conventional belt drive system with electricity from a generator. The advantages of the HE 19 include a reduction in fuel use by up to 30 percent. It is also 82 kg lighter and 3dB (A) quieter.
As might be expected from the global leader in lighting, Hella Australia launched several innovative new lighting products at the Brisbane show.
The new RokLUME 380 N driving light is both powerful and extremely durable, for high performance in the harshest environments. Its 12 high-power LEDs provide the RokLUME 380 N’s class-leading light output of 7500 lumen, housed in a rugged body made from corrosion-free aluminium, with a tough, impact-resistant, hard-coated polycarbonate lens. A heavy-duty stainless-steel bracket protects against vibration.
Following its debut in 1999, HELLA’s iconic DuraLED® combination light has been vastly improved with the release of the DuraLED® Combi, which now includes an ADR-approved inbuilt reflector, stop light, tail-light, indicator and reverse light in a super-slim, maintenance-free sealed unit. It’s designed to withstand not only high-pressure washing but even temporary submersion, as well as being corrosion, impact and shock-resistant, for a longer service life and backed by a lifetime warranty.
Other new HELLA lighting products include the new LED Light Control Units ensuring ADR-compliant indicator failure control, as well as the innovative VISIOTECH series of work lights and reversing lights that enhance safety during loading.
HELLA’s broad commercial vehicle product portfolio also includes brake system products from leading European friction brands TEXTAR and DON, including a new TEXTAR brake disc for the Volvo FH12 to match TEXTAR’s Original Equipment brake pads. The Hella range also includes the latest thermal management and filtration products from Original Equipment brands BEHR HELLA SERVICE and MANN FILTER, as well as the SCANGRIP range of high-power workshop lights.
Specialist German seat maker ISRI has unveiled a new air-suspended seat range that is being introduced into OEM brands before becoming available to aftermarket buyers.
The NTS2 has already been picked up by OEMs including Hino and for the Volvo FE − which is set for Australian launch itself next year − but representatives at the Brisbane show said it could be two years before ISRI opened the doors to this model hitting the replacement seat market.
Though similar in appearance to the current NTS, the second-generation version features adjustable seatbelt height to eradicate chafing of the neck and shoulders of the driver or passenger. ISRI said this was incorporated into the NTS2 because of customer feedback.
The new seat design also has a longer seat-height adjustment to suit occupants needing a higher or lower cushion. The seat cover is now made from recycled material and the foam is of mixed density, replacing the previous single-density cushion.
ISRI said the bolsters were of a firmer material than the cushion and centre of the backrest. The seat also comes with a new style of optional armrest.
OEMs have the ability to add extra features to the NTS2, including seatbelt warning lights and seat heaters. These functions are not offered from the ISRI factory.
Narva announced at the Brisbane Truck Show that it will offer new LED light packages coming in six months to retrofit existing halogen headlights. The packages are slip-in units designed for easy fitment.
It is part of a programme to give owners of older vehicles a way of increasing light output to boost safety.
Narva has already released LED headlight inserts in the traditional 5 3/4-inch size, which are a direct replacement for halogen inserts complete with a H4 connector.
The latest lights have a black-chrome finish and LED features of free-form optics, and a brilliant white light at 6000-degrees to resemble natural daytime conditions and minimise eye fatigue.
The light is available in two versions − the 72110 with high and low beam, daytime running light and position light-pipe functions. The 72144 version has high beam and directional indicator functions.
Both are fully sealed and weatherproof (IP68 and IP69K) and have heavy-duty construction with impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses to protect against damage from deflecting rocks and roadside debris.
The housing is made of die-cast aluminium that is corrosion and impact resistant, while solid state LED construction means there are no filaments or bulb tubes to be damaged.
The lamps also have built-in reverse polarity, over-voltage protection and an active thermal management system, and come with a five-year warranty.
The multi-volt design (between 9 and 33 volts) makes them compatible with 12-volt and 24-volt systems.
For vehicle owners with seven-inch headlamp inserts, Narva has LED headlamp inserts as model number 72104 and 72106, which have the same benefits as the smaller inserts.
TRP has produced its first full product range guide, filling 284 pages with part numbers of OEM components and a range of accessories.
There is also cross-reference parts numbers, specifications and images to ensure the correct part if ordered.
Parts covered run from brakes to HVAC components, lighting and air systems, wheels, steering and suspension, and even cabin parts.
The parts and accessories are then available through TRP stores around the country, or PACCAR dealerships and service-parts outlets.