In the wake of another fatal incident involving confusion over tyre pressure, there has been a call for the mining industry to make Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) mandatory, and an Australian Standard. In this post, we’ll examine what a TPMS is, how it works, and why it’s such a critical system for ensuring employee safety, and asset longevity.
What is a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)?
A Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is an electronic system that monitors the air pressure inside a tyre. The TPMS reports real-time tyre pressure information to the driver of the vehicle via a gauge, a display screen, or a simple warning light. As with all Tyre Pressure Management Systems, the main purpose is to warn the driver if their tyres are low on air pressure.
Why is a TPMS Important?
Maintaining the correct tyre pressure for a vehicle is an important factor for many reasons including;
- Vehicle Safety – Proper tyre inflation greatly reduces the potential of a tyre blowout, which could lead to a vehicle accident, driver injury, unwanted road-side emergencies, and damage to your vehicle.
- Accuracy / Reliability – A TPMS will allow you to quickly respond to a dangerous drop in tyre pressure within seconds.
- Improved Fuel Economy – Under-inflated tyres increase the rolling resistance of vehicles and, in turn, decrease their fuel economy. A TPMS will help you get the best possible fuel consumption from your vehicle by ensuring tyre pressure is always within the appropriate range.
- Enhanced Vehicle Performance – Tyres with low air pressures skid and hydroplane more easily. A TPMS will allow you to ensure the safety of your drivers through greater stability, handling, and braking in both wet and dry conditions.
- Increased Tyre & Tread Life – When a tyre is under-inflated, more pressure is placed on the casing of the tyre, causing the tread to wear more rapidly than if the tyre were inflated to the proper pressure. A TPMS can extend the life of your tyres by as much as 35%.
How Does a TPMS Work?
There are two types of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems currently used. The first, called an Indirect TPMS, is only offered by vehicle manufacturers as a built in system. This system utilises the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system’s wheel speed sensors to compare the rotational speed of one tyre versus the others. If a tyre is low on pressure, it will revolve a different number of times per kilometer than the other three, and will alert the driver through the vehicle’s on board computer. Unfortunately, indirect systems are unable to generate accurate readings in cases where all four tyres are losing pressure at the same rate.
TPMS How it Works
The most accurate system on the market, and the only one available as an aftermarket product is called a Direct TPMS. A Direct Tyre Pressure Monitoring System applies pressure sensors onto each tyre, either internally or externally, to physically measure the tyre pressure in each tyre and report it back to the vehicle’s warning device. Advanced systems will measure and report on tyre temperature also. These systems accurately identify under-inflation in any combination, be it one tyre or all, simultaneously. Direct TPMS transmits tyre information while vehicles are moving or parked, and provide operators with a number of advanced monitoring options including data logging, remote monitoring capabilities, and OEM integration or display on a separate monitor. They are available for all types of vehicles, from motorcycles to heavy equipment, and can monitor many tyres at a time, which is important for heavy duty trucks.