Automatic tire inflation system was first introduced in the American DUKW amphibious trucks in 1942. Nowadays, this system is very common in Russian and Soviet military trucks as well as a standard in Czech’s heavy military trucks. Apart from military uses it is also installed in civilian Hummer H1. This technique is essential in military vehicles as they need to travel through remote areas such as deserts, mountains, snowy areas, etc., where no petrol pump or tire air pressure refilling systems are available.
Tires are the second highest costly part of the truck assembly. American Automobile Association states that approximately 80% of the vehicles have at least 1 underinflated tire and their statistics states that if the tire pressure reduces by 2 psi than ideal pressure then it will affect the fuel efficiency to be decreased by 10%. Further, researches carried out by North American Council for Freight Efficiency in 2013 states that an underinflated tire leads vehicle to consume more fuel than necessary fuel. This is another reason for development of automatic tire inflation system.
The system consists of a compressor, which is used to pass the air through rotary joint via hoses, providing the rotary motion of the assembly. This rotary joint is installed between wheel hub and wheel spindle at each wheel. The air is channeled via rotary joint without intertwine the hoses. The compressor pumps air when tire pressure goes below the desired pressure and the tire inflates again. The compressor receives power from battery. This operation takes place while vehicle is in running condition and there is requirement of inflation.
The overall system is majorly composed of the Wheel-end assembly and a control module. The wheel assembly consists of a flexible hose with the check valves, where function of check valves is only to permit air to flow into tires, confirming no air leakage. The fundamental working of this system is that it consists of a rotary joint, which is installed to channel air to nozzle which are fitted in the rim and the rotary joint also allows rotary motion to wheel assembly. The rotary union comprises of an air chamber through which the passage of air takes place along the shaft rotation. Further it consists of several other parts such as housing, air delivery system, pressure gauge and sensors.
Inclusive of the fact that it is very economical, it serves a cardinal function i.e. safety of vehicle and the passengers. Such type of system is not available in the common passenger vehicles but it can add great value to the automobile industry. Except these, it has more advantages such as: Ideal amount of air is supplied without consequential effects.; Wear of tires will be reduced significantly by keeping correctly inflated tires.; Less fuel will be consumed by the vehicle.; Efforts of drivers or passengers will be minimized and there won’t be wastage of time in regular inspection of tire pressure.
In order to provide efficiency and to improve vehicle performance, tire life as well as overall safety of the vehicle, it is necessary to adopt this technique. Such kind of technique is not available in common passenger vehicles till today. However, adoption of this technique is likely to boost automobile industry.
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