Bridgestone is rolling out an innovative TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) across Europe in order to provide a more thorough pressure maintenance service to contract fleet customers. With service provision supplied by Truck Point, tyres requiring attention are not only identified but also serviced back to peak condition.

Two main benefits for the fleet are optimal fuel consumption and reduced breakdowns

Studies show that tyres running at low pressure increase fuel consumption, and therefore CO2 emissions. For example, a tyre with a recommended pressure of 9 bar will use 5% more fuel when running at 7 bar.

“From internal studies we can see that fleets have on average up to 25% of tyres running with pressure at least 10% below recommended levels and up to 5% with pressure at least 20% below” says Neil Purves, Senior Manager, Business Innovation, Commercial Products Division, Bridgestone Europe. “With this ‘average’ pressure condition, fleet fuel consumption would be 0.6% higher than if all tyres were running at recommended pressure levels.”

Tyre breakdowns at the roadside are frequently caused by slow punctures: a nail penetration can sit for days or even weeks before a noticeable pressure loss is detected. Often the leak is not seen at all and the tyre runs to the point where it fails with a rapid pressure loss. In this case not only will the roadside breakdown be more costly than a regular tyre change, but the vehicle will also be stopped until the service can be made and the tyre casing value will be lost. Additionally, a tyre blowout can lead to large tyre parts being thrown onto the road, causing a hazard to other road users.

“The Bridgestone TPMS system can often detect slow leaks due to penetrations, allowing an on-site repair to be made and so avoiding the high cost of a roadside breakdown” says Neil Purves, Bridgestone Europe.

In addition to the benefits of improved fuel consumption and fewer breakdowns, a tyre running at optimal pressure will give a longer wear life and the casing will be in better condition for retreading.

Tests using thousands of Bridgestone TPMS sensors in Europe over the past year clearly show the advantages: “We were immediately interested when we heard about this system,” says Peter Eriksen, Technical Manager at CDK, one of the first customers to use Bridgestone’s TPMS. “Using this very simple device on all our Arla vehicles’ tyres in Denmark, Sweden and the UK saves us 350,000 liters of fuel and 945 tons of CO2 emissions annually. It was an obvious decision to make. Furthermore, we can now detect punctures faster and avoid potential breakdowns on the road.”

System description

The system comprises a valve-mounted sensor, a receiver gate mounted at the fleet site, a cloud-based data system and the tyre service provider.

The small sensor uses patented low power technologies that enable it to send out a signal every 6 seconds while giving it a battery life of at least 3 years. Three versions have been developed to allow optimal fitment whatever the wheel position on the truck or bus. The sensor sends pressure and temperature data as well as an ID allowing the corrected pressure to be attributed to the specific vehicle and wheel position.

The gate receiver consists of 4 towers that are wirelessly connected and battery powered (with solar panel charger). When a vehicle equipped with Bridgestone TPMS sensors drives through the gate, the towers capture the tyre data and then send it on a regular basis to the Bridgestone database. If a very low pressure is detected the data is sent instantaneously.

A handheld receiver allows TPMS to function with the Bridgestone T2i system; especially useful for locations where a gate may be impractical.

The central T2s data system receives data from the gate or T2i and then matches the sensor ID to the specific fleet, vehicle and wheel position data to determine the recommended pressure. The pressure measurement will indicate whether the tyre needs a regular maintenance or urgent action.

In the case of an urgent action status (e.g. pressure lower than 20% below recommended), an automated message is sent to the fleet and service provider who then coordinate to ensure that the vehicle is stopped and an investigation made.

The service provider of the Bridgestone fleet is trained to manage the incoming messages and make the relevant actions in a correct and timely manner.