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RFID update: Here’s everything you need to know

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Your Michelin truck tires will soon communicate wirelessly. | © Michelin

In a bid to make keeping track of the maintenance on your fleet’s tires easier, Michelin is soon going to be adding RFID technology to all commercial truck tires and retreads.

The announcement comes as Ferm RFID and Avery Denison jointly announced a universal tire tread label with RFID functionality that works worldwide.

RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, is the use of radio waves to read and capture information. This technology will now be used to store information on a tag attached to Michelin tires.

Michelin Tire Care service helps fleets manage tires

RFID capabilities will be integrated into the Michelin Tire Care service, which helps fleets proactively identify and address tire issues that could lead to downtime, safety risks, high fuel costs, and low mileage.

Chief Operating Officer of Michelin Americas Truck Tires division Ralph Dimenna said: “Technology is transforming the trucking industry and Michelin is leading this effort to improve fleet performance and bottom line. We continue to drive innovations for fleets by integrating technology and enhancements to our services that add significant value to our fleet customers’ business.”

He said a full 63 percent of vehicles inspected by Michelin Tire Care reported an issue that would reduce the tire’s availability and incur costs (called a Yellow Tag event) while 20 percent of inspected tires presented a Red Tag event — something that’s a critical issue requiring immediate attention to avoid an Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) event or a Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) violation.

Ron Reid, the operations manager of New York-based Transervice Logistics, said: “Since implementing Michelin Tire Care, Transervice has seen a definite reduction in our monthly emergency road service calls. We are averaging 2.5 tire-related ERS calls per month – down from 5.5 per month last year – which helps save $2,000 per month. And the Michelin ONCall program has reduced our average downtime by 35 minutes per ERS event.”

RFID helps fleets overcome challenges

RFID automates the management of tire assets within a fleet, something that had previously been done manually. Adam Murphy, the vice president of marketing for Michelin Americas Truck Tires said the sensor, a first-generation device, “is a unique identifier for the tire, allowing the tire to be tracked and managed as an asset throughout its lifecycle – easing inventory management and enabling fleets to optimize their tire operations by knowing the entire history of each tire in their fleet. In addition, the RFID sensor enhances Michelin Service Offers.

“For example, Michelin Tire Care, a digitally enabled tire maintenance program that helps fleets reduce costs by avoiding tire-related ERS events and optimizing tire wear and fuel efficiency, can be delivered more efficiently and effectively by now easily linking the pressure, tread depth, and visual inspection data captured to each individual RFID sensor identified tire.”

Handheld data collection system

During the tire inspection process, a portable device is used to collect information such as position and mileage data. The portable device connects in one of several ways to a server and uploads the new information to a database of all tires in the fleet. This information will ultimately be retrievable by the Michelin Commercial Service Network, fleets, and Michelin employees.

Similar system already in use in most of company’s other tire products

Murphy said that almost every Uniroyal, Michelin, and BFGoodrich tire is using RFID technology and the company is working to get that number to 100 percent. He also said the company is using a universal tire identification protocol so other companies can easily adopt a similar system. “We realize that many of our fleets also use some competitor tires.”

Companies announce new tire tread label with global RFID compatibility

Michelin inner pic

FERM RFID Solutions makes several RFID products, one of which is a line of RFID labels for tires.

Coming out of the Netherlands, Avery Denison Materials Group Europe and Ferm RFID Solutions teamed up to announce they’ve created a tire tread label that is the first truly universal label offering global RFID functionality. The two say a single pass is all that’s needed to scan a full pallet of tires. Avery Denison contributed pressure-sensitive solutions.

Michelin Inner3

Combining FERM RFID Solutions’ RFID know-how with Avery Denison’s adhesives and materials solution delivers a sidewall RFID label like this one.

Avery Denison Materials Group Europe’s senior product manager, Hans Eichenwald, said “This technology helps to add value for manufacturers, who can trace goods more efficiently during production. It benefits logistics suppliers who can read entire pallets at once, and warehouses who need to track tire expiration dates. Metalized materials are sometimes used on tires because they resist staining, however they badly affect RFID readability. Our white labels look great and retain their high visual impact, because they have built-in protection against swelling and staining once the label is on the tire.”

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