Ever since they were introduced, RFID chips and readers have made countless lives easier. Instead of manually tracking each product, now you can attach a tiny chip to them and scan as they go out. Although this technology continues to prove and show its benefits, there is still some skepticism as to how well it can be implemented in the real world. Well, as we are about to see with Michelin, the results are astounding.
RFID and Tires
If you own a trucking company, then you know that tires are a big part of the job. Because they are assaulted for thousands of miles, constant maintenance has to be done to ensure that they are running at optimal pressure and traction. As they wear down, they need to be replaced, and they should be topped off every few thousand miles to help with fuel efficiency.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could get a detailed reading of your tires before in real time so that you know precisely when maintenance needs to be done? What if the tire could tell you when it’s crossed a certain pressure threshold and notify you to refill it?
Well, that’s the future for you, and Michelin is driving this progress with their new implementation program.
How it Works
Right now, the company is adding RFID chips into their tires for easier tracking and inventory purposes, but they are working with the Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. to develop new sensors that can provide a wealth of data on the tires as they are out on the road.
To make things easier for the consumer, Michelin is also developing a service called Michelin Tire Asset Management that utilizes the data transmitted from the road. Using an app, they can identify problems and perform whatever maintenance is needed. The benefit of having this information is that you can focus your attention on the tires that need it most, and then rotate them so you can ensure each one gets used to its full potential.
Michelin’s Tire Care Program
Started back in 2015, this service was designed to help fleets maintain their tires on a regular basis and provide solutions to the most common problems faced out on the road. Low inflation, reduced traction, and other issues can lead to a lot of loss for the companies over time. If you are losing an extra three cents a mile in fuel costs, that will become a huge chunk of change over 10,000 miles.
So far, the program has had a lot of success, but Michelin hopes that using RFID chips will enable them to provide even better preventative maintenance, which will save fleets even more money.
As it currently stands, the Tire Care program does a lot of good for trucking companies. About one in five vehicles inspected have a “red tag” warning, meaning that there was some serious issue that needed immediate attention. A further sixty-three percent of vehicles had a “yellow tag” warning, which could lead to some long-term costs.
According to Ron Reid of Transervice Logistics, Michelin’s Tire Care Program has reduced his fleet’s emergency service calls by half. They used to get about five or six calls from the road each month; now it’s no more than three. The savings are huge, adding up to about $2,000 a month.
So how can Michelin make sure that their chips are working at all times? After all, the program only operates efficiently if each tire is transmitting without interference, so how do they combat that issue? Well, the company is working with Hana Microdisplay Technologies to test and retest each chip before it rolls out of the factory.
Each tag is rigorously tested to make sure that it can handle being embedded into the tire. Because it is encased in rubber, it has to have better integrity and transmitting power than a regular chip. Thus, not only are they tested before they are put into the tires, but checked afterward as well to see if there are any problems.
Fortunately, those who do not have these upgraded tires can still benefit from having this program. Michelin offers RFID tag stickers that can go on any other tire, even if it’s not a Michelin brand.
The Future of Tire Maintenance
Although the technology is still being developed, Michelin hopes that it will improve their service systems drastically. By empowering fleet leaders to check on tires remotely through the cloud, a supervisor can notify a driver of a problem before it happens, thereby saving the cost of having a blowout or flat out on the road.
As the world becomes more connected, this type of program shows that we can optimize all kinds of industries by making them more comprehensive and integrated.