When the tires on your vehicle cost approximately US$6,000 each, you become very sensitive to proper tire care. Still, with good inspection procedures, Elmore Sand and Gravel near Montgomery, Alabama was averaging replacing a tire per month on a fleet of eight heavy dump trucks – not because of tire wear but because of improper inflation.
It takes a big dump truck to efficiently move sand and gravel – Elmore Sand and Gravel (ES&G) uses the Komatsu HM-350, a rolling behemoth with a 25.9 cubic yard, 35 ton capacity. With a top speed of just over 35 mph it’s not the fastest thing on six wheels, so wear and tear because of speed is not a factor. The problem is weight – With a gross weight of almost 140,000 pounds for off road use, proper tire maintenance isn’t an option, it’s an absolute necessity.
When a tire blows, the replacement cost for the R25 Off The Road (OTR) tire averages around six thousand dollars. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is the compound problem of downtime and replacement. When you have a three hundred thousand dollar vehicle sitting idle, downtime gets to be a real profit-robber.
In some cases, a replacement tire may not be immediately available. In the August 24, 2007 issue of the Arizona Republic, a feature article reported a global tire shortage that was expected to last through 2007 and possibly beyond. It was about that time that Mark Montgomery, ES&G’s safety director began looking for ways to reduce tire replacement cost associated with improper tire pressure.
Contact was made with Mike Whitten, senior marketing representative, with DCCI Inc. of nearby Millbrook, Alabama. DCCI works with business and industrial users throughout central Alabama, primarily as a vehicular communications supplier. David Darden, president of DCCI had determined that vehicle tire pressure monitoring systems were a natural companion of wireless vehicular communications systems and sought out suitable products for users such as ES&G.
The PressurePro wireless tire monitoring system proved to offer benefits that were readily apparent. PressurePro’s tire pressure monitoring system is easy to install with no tools required. PressurePro provides continuous monitoring of tire pressures and provides instant alerts to low or high pressure situations.
The system cost averaged just over eight hundred dollars per vehicle, or sixty five hundred dollars to equip all of ES&G’s quarry vehicles. The system was installed in June of 2007. Since installation, not a single tire has been replaced due to problems associated with low tire pressure resulting in a savings of US$6,000 each month or a six month return of US$36,000 on an US$8,500 investment. 2008 savings are projected at US$72,000.