Brussels, November 28, 2011 – Goodyear introduces the company’s first commercial use of microchips in truck tires. The new Goodyear Regional RHT II RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) 435/50R19.5 trailer tire has a microchip built into it, which uniquely interfaces with FleetOnlineSolutions, Goodyear’s internet-based tire management program. The new tire offers fleet operators benefits including reduced downtime, improved tire management and greater security. This technology won an award for Goodyear in Latin America earlier this year.
Monitoring tires can be a slow process as each tire has to be identified by its sidewall markings, which are often not easy to see due to dirt or scuffing. RFID means that an operative can very quickly identify each tire by passing a hand-held scanner around the sidewall and then have that information accurately electronically recorded . There are further benefits as these tires are much easier to trace than other tires if they are stolen and the tires can be monitored throughout their service lives, including retreading.
The reason that the size 435/50R19.5 was selected for RFID fitment is that it is the most popular tire size amongst ‘megatrailer’ operators, allowing maximum volume within the European 4 meter overall trailer height limit. Several large ‘megatrailer’ fleets use the Goodyear FleetOnlineSolutions (FOS)1 tire management system, which operates using the Internet and with the close monitoring of tires being essential. RFID makes tire management faster and more accurate.
The microchip is built into the tire on the assembly line and is programmed with a unique code that identifies the tire, enabling a hand-held reader to see the type and size of the tire as well as its unique identity number. In service, a Goodyear service provider or fleet operator can quickly scan all RFID tires and record the details electronically, saving time and ensuring accuracy. Stock control of new, used and retreaded tires is a further benefit.
Ewals Cargo Care, a European leading logistics provider with a turnover in 2010 of €550 million and 49 depots in 18 countries, operates 3,100 trailers and 1,200 intermodal Huckepack mega trailers. The Netherlands-based company, which has been a Goodyear customer for many years, has been trialling the new RFID-equipped Goodyear Regional RHT II 435/50R19.5 trailer tires.
“The new tires offer us significant benefits”, said Bart van Rens, Fleet Control Manager for Ewals. “The RFID speeds-up maintenance as it allows us to very quickly and accurately identify the tires and link into the Goodyear FleetOnlineSolutions fleet management system. It also will reduce the problem of tires being stolen from our trailers.
“We have been working with Goodyear on these new tires. With the first tires we tested, it took some time to locate the microchips with the readers. Now the tires have marks on the sidewalls to show where the microchips are located and the trailer manufacturers mount the tires so that they are on the outside. This speeds-up the process even more.”
“Previously, each tire’s six digit identity code would have to be read off the sidewall. This took time and mistakes could easily be made. Now it is fast and it is impossible to make a mistake with RFID,” said Bart. “Every maintenance entry on the computer is 100% correct with these new tires.”
The other very important benefit with the new tires is security. “We suffer from the theft of our trailer tires. Even when the police recover stolen tires, proving where they came from is often impossible as the tire’s identity digits are usually removed. Because the RFID microchip is built into the tire, it cannot be removed without destroying the tire. This means that thieves are not able to disguise the origin of these tires and will avoid stealing any with RFID logos on the sidewall. We are discussing with Goodyear a way of more visibly identifying these tires so that the thieves avoid them,” concluded Bart van Rens.
DEVELOPMENTS AND AWARD
Goodyear has been working on this system for a number of years and most recently has been using it in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. All Goodyear 315/70R22.5 Truck Race tires are built with RFID. This system is used by Goodyear for tire management purposes at races and FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) officials use it for regulatory purposes.
Earlier this year Goodyear was selected as “One of the best of the Automotive Sector 2011 – Innovation Technology Category” by a team of journalists from AutoData Publishing, the most specialized auto industry magazine in Brazil. This was in recognition for Goodyear’s work related to Radio Frequency Identification technology in its tires.
Goodyear anticipates extending RFID to other tire types and sizes in the near future. Currently RFID tires are produced in Luxembourg. The Goodyear plant at Wittlich in Germany will also be producing these tires.
While the RFID chips currently only carry identifying data it may be possible in the future to make them dynamic so that real-time monitoring of pressure and temperature is possible.
1FleetOnlineSolutions (FOS) is an internet-based tire management system that links the customer with Goodyear Dunlop, taking care of all aspects of contract administration. Goodyear Dunlop contract customers can access the system, which links service providers with Goodyear Dunlop’s FOS database. Wherever service is required, the local TruckForce center accesses the database and is able to see all the customers’ contract details and technical requirements in the local language. The system takes care of invoicing and stock control and ensures that customers are charged according to their agreements and are invoiced accordingly. In-built reporting systems allow customers to access the system to monitor their accounts and view key performance indicators. FOS also significantly reduces paperwork.