Tyre Monitoring with Greater Accuracy
Goodyear introduces the company’s first commercial use of microchips in truck tyres. The new Goodyear Regional RHT II RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) 435/50R19.5 trailer tyre has a microchip built into it. The new tyre offers fleet operators benefits including reduced downtime, improved tyre management and greater security. This technology won an award for Goodyear inLatin Americaearlier this year.
Monitoring tyres can be a slow process as each tyre has to be identified by its sidewall markings, which are often not easy to see due to dirt or scuffing. RFID means that an operation can very quickly identify each tyre by passing a hand-held scanner around the sidewall and then have that information accurately electronically recorded. There are further benefits as these tyres are much easier to trace than other tyres if they are stolen and the tyres can be monitored throughout their service lives, including retreading.
The reason that the size 435/50R19.5 was selected for RFID fitment is that it is the most popular tyre size amongst ‘megatrailer’ operators, allowing maximum volume within the European 4 meter overall trailer height limit. RFID makes tyre management faster and more accurate.
The microchip is built into the tyre on the assembly line and is programmed with a unique code that identifies the tyre, enabling a hand-held reader to see the type and size of the tyre as well as its unique identity number. In service, a Goodyear service provider or fleet operator can quickly scan all RFID tyres and record the details electronically, saving time and ensuring accuracy. Stock control of new, used and retreaded tyres is a further benefit.
Ewals Cargo Care, a European leading logistics provider with a turnover in 2010 of €550 million and 49 depots in 18 countries, operates 3 100 trailers and 1 200 intermodal Huckepack mega trailers. The Netherlands-based company, which has been a Goodyear customer for many years, has been trialling the new RFID-equipped Goodyear Regional RHT II 435/50R19.5 trailer tyres.
“The new tyres offer us significant benefits”, said Bart van Rens, Fleet Control Manager for Ewals. “The RFID speeds-up maintenance as it allows us to very quickly and accurately identify the tyres. It also will reduce the problem of tyres being stolen from our trailers.
“We have been working with Goodyear on these new tyres. With the first tyres we tested, it took some time to locate the microchips with the readers. Now the tyres have marks on the sidewalls to show where the microchips are located and the trailer manufacturers mount the tyres so that they are on the outside. This speeds-up the process even more.”
Regular maintenance is very simple. The operator scans the tyre with a hand-held reader, the tyre is automatically identified from its microchip. The tyre pressure gauge and tread depth gauge are both linked to the same system by Bluetooth and their readings are automatically recorded for that tyre.
“Previously, each tyre’s six digit identity code would have to be read off the sidewall. This took time and mistakes could easily be made. Now it is fast and it is impossible to make a mistake with RFID,” said Bart.
The other very important benefit with the new tyres is security. “We suffer from the theft of our trailer tyres. Even when the police recover stolen tyres, proving where they came from is often impossible as the tyre’s identity digits are usually removed. Because the RFID microchip is built into the tyre, it cannot be removed without destroying the tyre. This means that thieves are not able to disguise the origin of these tyres and will avoid stealing any with RFID logos on the sidewall. We are discussing with Goodyear a way of more visibly identifying these tyres so that the thieves avoid them,” concluded Bart van Rens.
This tyre is not in use in South Africa.
DEVELOPMENTS AND AWARD
Goodyear has been working on this system for a number of years and most recently has been using it in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. All Goodyear 315/70R22.5 Truck Race tyres are built with RFID. This system is used by Goodyear for tyre management purposes at races and FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) officials use it for regulatory purposes.
Earlier this year Goodyear was selected as “One of the best of the Automotive Sector 2011 – Innovation Technology Category” by a team of journalists from AutoData Publishing, the most specialized auto industry magazine in Brazil. This was in recognition for Goodyear’s work related to Radio Frequency Identification technology in its tyres.
Goodyear anticipates extending RFID to other tyre types and sizes in the near future. Currently RFID tyres are produced inLuxembourg. The Goodyear plant at Wittlich inGermanywill also be producing these tyres.
While the RFID chips currently only carry identifying data it may be possible in the future to make them dynamic so that real-time monitoring of pressure and temperature is possible.
This technology is not currently available inSouth Africaand sub-SaharanAfrica. As fleets on the continent move towards these large super single tyre sizes, this technology could be made available to them.