Bridgestone Americas Inc. showed off its advanced air free commercial truck tire concept in late February for the heavy-duty trucking market at the 2020 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Atlanta.
The event is North America’s premiere technical conference for trucking fleet professionals, vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers.
The Bridgestone air free tire, not yet on the market, is designed for high-speed, long-haul applications. It leverages a proprietary design where tire tread is placed on a unique structure of high-strength, flexible spokes. This eliminates the need for a tire to be filled and maintained with air.
“Commercial fleets are increasingly looking for ways to maximize uptime and reduce emergency roadside events,” said Jon Kimpel, executive director, new mobility solution engineering, Bridgestone Americas Inc. “When tires don’t need to be filled with air, this essentially erases the downtime associated with a flat tire, improving safety and making mobility more efficient.”
The initial design concept is intended for the trailer position. Reported data from tire manufacturers shows trailer tires account for approximately 20 percent of truck tire purchases. Furthermore, research indicates 40 percent of all tire failures occur in the trailer position.
The air free commercial tire solution is designed to be retreadable. Retreads help reduce natural resource consumption by replacing only the tire tread, rather than the entire tread and casing combination.
“The benefits of an air free commercial truck tire solution are many – this offering has the power to reduce downtime, maintenance and emergency roadside service calls,” said Kimpel. “Combine that with a high retread rate, and our advanced air free tire concept has potential to substantially lower the overall total cost of tire ownership for fleets.”
The advanced air free commercial truck tire concept is part of a larger Bridgestone air free portfolio, including solutions for personal mobility, such as bicycles and small electric vehicles.