The objectives of this project are to:
•Increase overall commercial fleet fuel efficiency
•Improve tire wear and service life
•Decrease fleet tire maintenance costs and compliance with federal safety regulations
Under-inflated tires significantly reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by increasing rolling resistance (drag force). The Air Maintenance Technology system described in this proposal replenishes lost air and maintains optimal tire cavity pressure whenever the tire is rolling in service, thus improving overall fuel economy by reducing the tire’s rolling resistance. The system consists of an inlet air filter, an air pump driven by tire deformation during rotation and a pressure regulating device.
Pressurized air in the tire cavity naturally escapes by diffusion through the tire and wheel, leaks in tire seating, and through the filler valve and its seating. As a result, tires require constant maintenance to replenish lost air. Since manual tire inflation maintenance is both labor intensive and time consuming, it is frequently overlooked or ignored. By automating the maintenance of optimal tire pressure, the tire’s contribution to the vehicle’s overall fuel economy can be maximized.
The scope of work is divided into three phases. The objectives of first phase, Planning and Initial Design, will result in an effective project plan and to create a baseline design. The objectives for the second phase, Design and Process Optimization, are: to identify finalized design for the pump, regulator and filter components; identify a process to build prototype tires; assemble prototype tires; test prototype tires and document results. The objectives of Phase 3, Design Release and Industrialization, are to finalize system tire assembly, perform full release testing and industrialize the assembly process.