The NTDA Tyre Industry Conference has been a success yet again in 2017, and Simon Shorter, Sales Director (OE & End User Sales) for world-leading pneumatics and tyre inflation manufacturer PCL, presented visitors with a compelling argument for accurate tyre pressure:
You probably wash your car more frequently than you check tyre pressures – yet a shocking 35% of tyres are being driven at least 8psi below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.
Since it is the tyre’s air that carries the majority of the load, it is absolutely vital that tyres are inflated correctly, and PCL’s ‘Driven by Air’ products are designed to manage, measure, control and dispense gases using innovative technology.
Key areas for discussion at the event were safety, fuel consumption, tyre performance, logistics and revenue generation.
In his presentation to delegates from the tyre manufacturing, wholesale, retail and associated sectors, Simon explained: “The ‘contact patch’ of an inflated tyre is critical to maximise vehicle stability, and ultimately road safety. Tyre inflation affects braking performance, tyre wear and fuel efficiencies – all well documented by vehicle and tyre manufacturers.”
- For retailers, first and foremost there is a duty to ensure that tyres are inflated accurately, and being able to offer this service provides opportunities. Simon also shared some other key statistics
- Around 3% more fuel on average is used if tyres are 6psi below recommended levels, and Tyresafe estimates this alone costs consumers £600 million every year.
- For every 10% a tyre is under-inflated there is 10% higher rubber wear, meaning reduced tyre life.
- With 2.4% of the roads carrying 33% of all traffic and 67% of all freight the risk of a tyre incident has never been more costly. At 80% capacity a two-hour motorway shutdown costs UK plc £731,920 (according to estimates by the Highways Agency), and penalties with missed deadlines for operators.
As PCL’s business has developed, greater emphasis has been placed on specific, bespoke operational issues related to tyre inflation and pneumatics; to increase safety and service efficiency, reduce operational and logistic costs – and help drive customer revenues. Successful inroads are being made into new sectors, developing market-driven products for OEMs and End Users targeting real industry issues.
Despite the importance of accurate tyre inflation, Simon said: “In the UK there is no approval system for tyre inflation products, or a process for inspections to ensure equipment is accurate – in contrast to much of Europe. Alongside safety, market developments driving change in tyre inflation delivery offering new revenue opportunities for retailers include: a 58% reduction in forecourts since 1990; the change in fuel technologies altering tyre requirements and the locations for refuelling and tyre inflation; while the impending arrival of the self-drive car will potentially open up more car and tyre services.
Simon also emphasised the importance of the key equipment for true professionals to deliver 21st Century service expectations:
- Compressor and Airline – clean and dry airlines.
- Hose – sufficient working pressure, flexible, and sufficient length and visibility for safe use.
- Inflator – reliable fast and accurate – preferably able to show it is tested to the approved standard.
- Cage. Restraints.
- Connectors – quality for speed and accuracy with no wastage/leaks.
- Other key quality equipment: such as changers, impact wrenches.
He said: “PCL are continually developing products and services to meet the future needs of the market place, utilising new electronics, sensors, communications and next generation tyre inflation for maximum safety, service and revenue opportunities.
Examples of these products include:
- Fixed inflator developments with new QUBE safety protocol, and increasing connectivity for remote control from Smart device and information reporting.
- New handheld inflators for increased reliability, accuracy and speed to provide better service – AirForce and Accura MK4s.
- Air and fluid towers designed to drive revenue with Air, Nitrogen, Screenwash or Ad Blue for car/tyre locations with options for cashless, cloud reporting, bespoke livery, built-in compressors.
- Online checking tools for all types of fleets – cars, trucks, buses, aviation, and specialist applications, such as industrial, ports and mines.
- Bespoke software development available to meet the needs of specialist end user applications with Air, Nitrogen, Ad Blue and Other Fluids.
There are many revenue opportunities in evolving markets,” said Simon, “and the NTDA Conference was the ideal platform to discuss ways in which retailers can capitalise upon them. Working with the automotive industry and through our distribution partners, we aim to deliver the safest and most cost-effective inflation solutions to assist our customers in maximising their revenue and profits.”