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Maintaining the proper tire pressure is crucial to tractor-trailer productivity and efficiency. It impacts everything from MPG to safety. While the road is often punishing on tires, the last thing you need is to miss those small things that make a big impact. A nail in a tire for example– something that slowly bleeds out your tire efficiency and threatens its safety. The morning that your driver walks around the truck to find a flat tire is a service situation every fleet manager wants to avoid.
Tire inflation-minded fleets often turn to tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS) to mitigate the underinflation/overinflation risks, and those systems, like Hendrickson’s TIREMAAX® PRO tire pressure management product, do a great job of keeping tires rolling productively. But there are still moments that can surprise you with unplanned service.
“A tire inflation system can make it difficult to find small leaks. If you pick up a nail in your tire, the system automatically fills the tire. You don’t necessarily notice that you have this problem,” said Matt Wilson, general manager, controls business unit, trailer commercial vehicle systems at Hendrickson. While it keeps you rolling for the short term, it only prolongs the service inevitability. But if you knew there was a leak—one that you could shuffle around PM schedules and get the truck in sooner, before an incident occurred—wouldn’t you want to know that information?
That’s the type of question that Hendrickson’s WATCHMAN advanced wheel-end sensor technology for trailers aims to answer. Leveraging the vehicle area network developed by Sensata Technologies, the Watchman wheel-end sensor keeps digital tabs on the likes of trailer tire pressure monitoring, wheel-end temperature and wheel-end vibration data that will be communicated to the fleet through the tractor telematics system pulling the trailer.
The WATCHMAN system integrates into Hendrickson’s TIREMAAX PRO tire inflation system, and Wilson explained that Hendrickson’s goal is to deliver actionable data analytics to allow fleet managers to make informed decisions and not overwhelm them with more data than they need.
“We’re using our microcontroller to help identify edge events that are true warnings,” he explained. “What fleets are looking for is an answer to: ‘Do I have a problem?’ Our system is smart enough to do some of that computing on the trailer. We’re also going to provide warnings if we detect something that we feel is potentially a condition that needs to be addressed immediately.”
Hendrickson is rolling out its WATCHMAN advanced wheel-end sensor technology later this year.
This article was sponsored by Hendickson.