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October 29, 2019 4:30 PM, EDT

SAF-Holland Introduces SMAR-te Tire Inflation Assistant

William Hicks of SAF-Holland William Hicks of SAF-Holland addresses the media. (Anneliese Mahoney/Transport Topics)

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ATLANTA — SAF-Holland Group, a manufacturer of trailer suspensions, truck suspensions and coupling products, launched its SMAR-te Tire Pilot, a tire-pressure management system, at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show here on Oct. 29.

William Hicks, the director of product planning for SAF-Holland in the Americas, said the SMAR-te system is engineered to work with SAF integrated suspensions, and its functions can inflate, deflate or equalize all tires to ensure they wear evenly.

Hicks said the system also can change tire pressure based on axle load to maximize tire sidewall and tread life, and provide fast and accurate tire pressure control, with no regulators to wear out or recalibrate.

Such adaptive technology is out there now, but for off-road vehicles, and it’s expensive, Hicks said.

“We are trying to optimize the investment that the fleet makes in the tires,” Hicks told reporters. “We have had people say, ‘What took you so long?’ ”

The system also works to provide “smart alerts” to provide real-time system status. Hicks said that was important after fleets told SAF-Holland that they were getting too many warning lights. The alert systems within a truck cab can overload truck drivers with information, Hicks told reporters, so now the system gets rid of “nuisance” alerts. The “Smart-Alert” diagnostic LED light warns of minor tire leaks, severe leaks and overload conditions, Hicks said.

Proper communication with the driver, however, can reduce risk of citations for overloading, and improve cushioning of both the vehicle and cargo, especially when lightly loaded, Hicks said.

Proper inflation and deflation also can reduce tire and vehicle maintenance, and enhance fuel economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In an accompanying news release, SAF-Holland officials said tires are the second-highest truck operating expense, with improper tire pressure causing 80% of premature tire failures. Proper tire pressure is critical to tire life and yet, SAF-Holland officials said, 66% of fleets have tires operating at more than 5 pounds per square inch from the proper setting. At least 22% have at least one tire more than 20 PSI from the proper setting.

Hicks said the SMAR-te Tire Pilot incorporates AKTV8’s iAir electro-pneumatic control module to measure and adjust tire pressure based on trailer-axle load. SAF-Holland officials said unlike traditional mechanical tire inflation systems, SMAR-te Tire Pilot requires no maintenance or calibration.

The ability to more accurately control the proper tire air pressure reduces tire stress, resulting in optimized tire tread and casing life and reduced rolling resistance, SAF-Holland officials said.

SAF-Holland Group is a Luxembourg-based major supplier to the commercial vehicle market, delivering mainly to trailer markets. Its U.S. headquarters is in Muskegon, Mich.

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