Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) let you monitor and manage tire pressure, but automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS) provide additional tire support by automatically maintaining optimal pressure levels.
“Through periodic checks combined with the option to communicate tire pressure data to the main office, an automatic inflation system helps to reduce the possibility for human error to enter the equation in tire maintenance,” said Dana’s Bosler.
Historically, ATIS has been typically only applied to trailers, where as TPMS has been more applicable for tractors due to the ATIS airlines being plumbed to the outside of the tractor. That caused them to be more susceptible to damage and breakage.
Aperia’s Halo addresses the airline plumbing issue by bolting a self-contained pump directly to the axle cap or hubcap that generates pressure when rotated. It has a pendulum-like mass, similar to a self-winding watch, which hangs while the pump is rotating with the wheel. The relative rotational motion is used to create a pumping action, and it does not require drilling or tapping the axles.
“Think of a hubodometer that adds air to low tires as they roll down the road instead of just counting miles,” Aperia’s Carter explained. “It’s a new approach that is a viable solution for tractors. Fleets running automatic inflation systems spend less time gauging and filling tires and see fewer tire replacements due to irregular wear and compromised casings.”
It’s important to note that employing any ATIS solution doesn’t replace regular maintenance. “Maintenance once the vehicle returns home is still required,” Fisher said. “The system should be checked to see if it was operating when the vehicle was on the road. If so, the problem tire has to be identified by checking all the tires. Also, it must be checked to see that it is turned on. Often technicians will turn it off and forget to turn it back on. The ATIS must be maintained as well. Many fleets have forgotten to do this and allowed the ATIS to deteriorate and developed leaks of its own, causing tires to go flat.”