Bridgestone, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, plans to reduce the carbon footprint of commercial vehicle tires by producing radio-tagged tires in 2024. Vehicle tires such as trucks and buses are linked to the cloud. A base system designed to help clients maximize tire life and minimize their carbon footprint.
By the end of 2022, the Tokyo-based company plans to begin expanding its factory in Warren County, Tennessee. Much of this expansion involves the installation of production equipment capable of embedding radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in tires. The facility will be connected to a cloud-based system for monitoring each tagged tire.
Bridgestone starts by tagging retread tires for trucks and buses. It focuses on US and European logistics providers who need to manage large fleets of vehicles. However, with the current chip shortage affecting RFID tags, the rollout may be slower than expected, at least until more of the needed chips become available.
Bridgestone also plans to set up new lines in Japan and other parts of Asia to produce RFID-tagged tires from 2024. They plan to fully transition to these new tires for trucks and buses in Japan, the US and Europe by 2030. Eventually he plans to offer RFID-tagged tires to passenger car tires as well.
The company now offers a similar service called Tirematics. The service uses sensors on wheels to monitor tire pressure and temperature across a customer fleet. While this platform is convenient, it does not track individual tires and requires extra steps during tire changes to ensure data is properly fed into the system.
By upgrading tires with RFID tags, the company will be able to automatically identify and track each tire at maintenance hubs and other facilities. Each tire is assigned a unique ID so you can monitor production and repair history. History is stored in a cloud-based system for easy retrieval of information.
Some of the benefits of the new system are that customers can adjust individual tire pressures to improve fuel efficiency and retread tires at optimal times to extend their life. As commercial tires wear out, they can no longer be played and must be replaced completely. Bridgestone says that if a tire can be remanufactured twice, its carbon emissions will be halved, and the material needed to replace it twice will also be halved.
A typical passenger car tire has a total carbon footprint of about 285 kg, including raw materials and transportation. Truck and bus tires have a total carbon footprint of about 2,481 kg. While the tires themselves do not emit carbon dioxide while driving, they can affect fuel economy.
According to the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association, tire performance and maintenance can affect 26% of carbon emissions for commercial vehicles and 18% for passenger vehicles.
After acquiring multiple fleet maintenance service providers, Bridgestone is linking them to new RFID-tagged tires to offer more value-added services. The company aims to double revenue from its solution business, which includes vehicle maintenance, to about 2 trillion yen ($13.8 billion) by 2030.
Featured image courtesy of Bridgestone
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