The primary benefit Krause and Pingel stress is that there doesn’t need to be anything installed on the vehicles or on the tires. And as they point out, if you have 200 vehicles with 10 tires per vehicle, that’s 2,000 sensors, 2,000 connections. “Because there are so many sensors which need to be serviced, it is very expensive,” says Pingel.
Krause summarizes, “I think tire pressure monitoring systems are great, I just like the way that we do it, it is one unit per facility. It’s no moving parts, it’s static, and the information is available to the maintenance supervisor or who ever needs that information.”
Another option many agencies are looking at is nitrogen-filled tires. Lighter of NitroFil shares information from the study, “Tire Nitrogen Filling System,” a final report to Industrial Technologies Sector of Ingersoll Rand Corp. by Nader Jalili, PhD, and Prakash Venkataraman, a graduate student with the department of engineering, Clemson University. According to the study, by inflating truck tires with nitrogen, fuel economy can be increased by roughly 23 percent and tire life increased by 50 percent.
The biggest culprit in the typical air-filled tires is the oxygen. “While oxygen is important for you and I to survive, it’s usually harmful to anything that’s not a living organism,” says Lighter.
Oxygen permeates through a tire approximately three to four times faster than nitrogen because oxygen has a slightly smaller effective molecular size than nitrogen. Nitrogen permeates through the tire more slowly, and it contributes to proper inflation pressure, so improves maintenance for the tire. Better pressure maintenance contributes to reduced tire wear, so tires last longer.
Compressed air with oxygen also contains water. That’s problematic for a tire and for a wheel assembly,” says Lighter. “You want nothing but pressure and that’s what nitrogen provides; no water, no oil, no particulates and, moreover, no oxygen.”