MTD Exclusive: Bridgestone Exec Discusses OTR Tire Management System
Bridgestone Corp. recently acquired Transence Technologies’ iTrack solutions business unit, which the tiremaker calls “a globally-preferred provider of tire management solutions for the OTR vehicle market.”
The iTrack system monitors temperature, air pressure levels, vehicle speed and other metrics that are critical to optimal OTR tire performance.
In this MTD exclusive, Brian Goldstine, president, mobility solutions and fleet management, Bridgestone Americas Inc., discusses why Bridgestone made the investment, how iTrack will benefit the company's OTR tire dealers and end users, and more.
MTD: Why is Bridgestone investing in its OTR tire management capabilities?
Goldstine: Tires are a critically important asset for any operation and maximizing that investment through the integration of tire management solutions is a must. Technology like the iTrack tire management solution allows operators and site managers to have visibility into their fleet’s total operation, from real-time tire data and predictive analytics to production optimization.
MTD: Why did Bridgestone select the iTrack system?
Goldstine: The iTrack acquisition helps move Bridgestone closer to its goal of becoming a leader in sustainable and advanced mobility solutions. Bridgestone recognized iTrack held a leading position in the market as a best-in-class mining tire management platform. The addition of the iTrack business to our solutions portfolio strengthens Bridgestone’s ability to serve our OTR customers by delivering insights and information that will enhance their operations.
MTD: Is the system specifically geared to monitoring tires used in mining applications?
Goldstine: Yes. The iTrack tire management solution is primarily targeted to OTR tires, sizes 57-inch and above. However, iTrack does have capability to serve OTR tires in other sizes.
MTD: Does iTrack have aggregate/quarry and construction tire applications, as well?
Goldstine: The iTrack solution is currently focused on mining applications. However, Bridgestone has a robust OTR solutions portfolio that includes offerings for aggregate/quarry and construction applications. PressureStat is our tire pressure and temperature monitoring system for smaller OTR tire fitments. While the initial focus for the iTrack solution is mining, this acquisition will enable Bridgestone to strengthen our solutions offerings for a variety of applications and improve our entire mobility solutions ecosystem.
MTD: Can you describe how the system tracks temperature, air pressure and other metrics?
Goldstine: The iTrack platform uses a sensor to measure tire temperature and pressure. In addition to the sensor, the system has GPS and six axis accelerometers that measure horizontal and lateral g-force through curves, uneven roads and harsh braking/acceleration to ensure operators aren’t putting undue stress on their tires. Aggregating all of this information, the iTrack platform generates powerful data analytics that can be used to create targeted maintenance schedules, reducing equipment downtime. Early identification of air leaks and managing tire temperatures also helps to reduce the number of premature tire failures.
MTD: Bridgestone mentioned that iTrack provides customizable geofencing, which is a feature that traditionally has not been associated with OTR tire performance monitoring systems. How does this benefit both the OTR tire dealer and end user?
Goldstine: Geofencing enables stakeholders to identify specific areas of operation and to create parameters for each zone. These rules can improve safety and extend tire life by helping fleets identify excessive speed in curves, inclines or straights. In addition, fleets can use geofencing to establish specific zones for maintenance. For example, operators and servicing dealers using geofencing could turn off alerts for pressure or temperature events that occur within a maintenance zone during planned maintenance.
MTD: How do you envision your dealers using the program to help reduce end users' operating costs?
Goldstine: Solutions technology like iTrack offer dealers a competitive advantage. When dealers combine their industry knowledge and experience with a collaborative technology platform like iTrack, the result is a data-driven partnership that improves end users’ safety, optimizes their productivity and creates operational efficiencies. In addition to helping fleets optimize their operations, the insights generated by iTrack can help dealers become more precise and efficient with their service offering. Ultimately, they are able to provide mining customers with better service at a lower cost.
“We are building a culture of open innovation that includes pioneering our own advanced mobility solutions internally, as well as identifying strategic partners that can accelerate our solutions journey,” he adds. “We firmly believe the iTrack acquisition moves Bridgestone closer its goal of becoming a leader in advanced mobility and sustainable solutions.”