ATLANTA — With an eye on helping fleets reduce downtime, Bridgestone Americas Inc. is developing a non-pneumatic truck tire for commercial trailers, where it says up to 40% of tire failures occur.
The Bridgestone air-free commercial truck tire concept, designed to be used in high-speed, long-haul applications, leverages a proprietary design where the tire tread is placed on a structure of high-strength flexible spokes.
A non-pneumatic design such as this would nearly eliminate roadside breakdowns due to tire failures, Bridgestone said, without offering specifics as to concept's weight, cost or potential commercial launch date.
"Commercial fleets are increasingly looking for ways to maximize uptime and reduce emergency roadside events," Jon Kimpel, executive director, new mobility solution engineering, Bridgestone Americas, said.
"As mobility advances, we see these sophisticated fleets turning to technology solutions and innovative products as a way to improve operations and drive profitability for their fleets. 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."
Bridgestone is targeting its air-free commercial truck tire concept initially for the trailer position, which — research indicates — accounts for about 20% of truck tire purchases but up to 40% of all tire failures.
Bridgestone is showcasing the concept this week at the 2020 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Atlanta.
The concept also is designed to be retreadable, further enhancing the product's sustainability credentials.
"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," Mr. Kimpel said. "Combine that with a high retread rate and our … concept has potential to substantially lower the overall total cost of tire ownership for fleets."
While the commercial truck tire concept is focused initially on the trailer position, Bridgestone said it intends the design to be scalable to other commercial trucking wheel positions and applications. It debuted in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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.