The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) for commercial vehicles will begin testing on U.S. trucking fleets in the next few months, as part of a research project supported by United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Vehicle Technology.
Since 2011, Goodyear has been developing and testing its Air Maintenance Technology, which the company says can aid in fuel savings and carbon dioxide reductions while potentially improving tire life, casing durability and safety and eliminating need for manually inflating tires. During the next phase of testing, multiple U.S. and Canada-based trucking fleets will test AMT over the next 18 months in their normal daily operations.
“This is an important milestone in the development of AMT for the commercial trucking marketplace,” saysJoseph Zekoski, Goodyear’s chief technical officer. “The tires equipped with AMT have performed well in testing, and we are pleased that so many of our fleet customers were eager to collaborate with us in the next phase of testing.”
Goodyear says AMT enables tires to remain inflated at a specified cold inflation pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. The system utilizes peristaltic pump technology to automatically maintain tire pressure at fleets’ desired levels. All components of the AMT system, including the pump, are fully contained within the tire, Goodyear says.
Tire-related costs are the single largest maintenance item for commercial vehicle fleet operators. Only 44 percent of all truck tires are within 5 lbs. per square inch (psi) of their target pressure, and 7 percent are underinflated by 20 psi or more.
Under inflation also reduces tire life. By comparison, Goodyear says properly inflated tires result in lower emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance. The AMT system for commercial tires is being designed to perform under a variety of operating conditions and through multiple retreads.
“This phase of testing will go a long way in helping us determine when we can make this technology available in the commercial tire marketplace,” says Zekoski.
The DOE’s Office of Vehicle Technology has provided a $1.5 million grant to assist in the Akron-based research, development and demonstration of the AMT system for commercial vehicle tires. Representatives from the Office of Vehicle Technology met with the Goodyear AMT team in September to review the progress on the project, the company says.