Almost one out of every five independent tire dealers in the United States offers nitrogen tire inflation. Some charge for the service. Others offer it for free and promote it as a value-added service to bring more customers into their dealerships.
Nitrogen inflation keeps tires properly inflated longer than air does because of its molecular structure. A properly inflated tire runs cooler, wears more evenly and rolls more freely than an underinflated tire.
The benefits sell themselves to the vehicle owner. To keep your profits inflated — whether you already own equipment or are interested in offering nitrogen inflation — here’s a rundown on some of the newest equipment available.
Branick Industries Inc.
Branick Industries has been manufacturing tire and repair equipment since 1917. The company says its nitrogen units last the test of time and are built for speed and longevity.
The company currently has two new units available to be put to the test of time: Model 485 Single Membrane and the Model 685 Double Membrane.
“There has been a lot of debate regarding the difference between pressure swing absorption (PSA) nitrogen systems and nitrogen systems that use membranes,” says Brian Brasch, president of Branick Industries. “At Branick, we carry both and have found that PSA units tend to be more appropriate in lower-volume shops where the unit isn’t used very often.”
Brasch says the portable Model 485 is for passenger and light truck tire facilities in which it’s easier to bring nitrogen to the vehicle instead of the vehicle to the nitrogen. The unit provides 4.0 cfm of nitrogen output and features the automatic Purge’n Flate system that allows six tires to be inflated at once. The 485 has a nitrogen purity level of 95% to 99%, weighs 265 pounds and includes four hoses.
The Model 685 Double Membrane is also portable. It was designed for large passenger and light truck tire facilities that need a little more output. It also gives them the capability to bring nitrogen to the vehicle instead of the vehicle to the nitrogen. With 8.0 cfm of nitrogen output, it also features the Purge’n Flate system.
Also available from Branick Industries is the Model 675. Branick says the 675 is for large passenger and light truck facilities that need a little more output while still having the capability to bring nitrogen to the vehicle instead of the vehicle to the nitrogen. With 8.0 cfm of nitrogen output, the unit also has the automatic Purge’n Flate system.
Gardner Denver Inc.
The Champion Nitrogen Advantage tire inflation system from Gardner Denver comes with four 25-foot inflation hoses. It has an operating temperature range of 40 degrees to minus 150 degrees F. The company says the unit is installed easily and connects to the existing compressed air supply to generate nitrogen in minutes. The unit features membrane technology and requires no maintenance.
The Champion Nitrogen Advantage comes with a hand-held nitrogen analyzer for easy testing, and its compact design requires minimum space. Its coalescing and particulate filter eliminates moisture and contaminants prior to entering the membrane, so a carbon prefilter is not required, the company says. The unit has filter replacement indicators that will let the operator know when filters need replaced. It also has an automatic shutoff that halts air consumption while the unit is not in operation.
The company also offers an Auto Fill Cart that can be connected to the four discharge hoses to the vehicle’s tires. The operator sets the controller to the desired pressure and starts the system, which automatically purges all four tires and refills them with nitrogen to the set pressure. Then it purges the tires again and refills the tires for a second time for a nitrogen purity level of between 95% and 98%.
NitroFill’s newest unit is the E-170 Nitrogen Generation and Conversion Station. The E-170 converts up to six tires at once, comes fully assembled and includes a programmable micro processor-controlled conversion system. Operating at an output of 13.5 cfm, the unit has comprehensive error reporting and self-diagnostic features. It also has a large, back-lit LCD display with audio and visual signals.
For purity, the E-170 has twin, exterior mounted, high performance inlet air filters. It provides instant, uninterrupted flow with “guaranteed” purity up to 99.9%. It comes with four tire service hoses.
Its compressed air input range is 100 to 200 psi and nitrogen output is 13.5 cfm rated at 160 psi, 80 degrees F.
NitroFill’s new E-1135 Nitrogen Generator/Inflator is NitroFill’s answer for shops that need to service nitrogen-filled tires but don’t need a generator. While this high performance, 3 cfm generator is capable of performing nitrogen conversions in light use applications, NitroFill says it is best used as a nitrogen source for calibrating nitrogen filled tires. The E-1135 is also suitable for facilities that require multiple top-off stations or units that can calibrate tires without tying up their main generators. The unit converts shop air into nitrogen that is up to 99.9% pure, the company says.
Parker Hannifin Corp.
Parker Hannifin’s newest nitrogen product is the TireSaver TS018-Wand, a manual nitrogen tire inflator. The TireSaver TS018-Wand is a lightweight, portable nitrogen tire inflator that can be used to inflate the tires on a wide variety of vehicles, including cars and light trucks, motorcycles and trailers.
When connected to an existing compressed air line, it will continuously produce an on-demand nitrogen supply. Featuring the company’s exclusive exchangeable membrane cartridge technology, the wand is designed to service 10,000 tires or 1,000 vehicles with nitrogen. It is also used as a top-off tool for tires already filled with nitrogen to enhance a dealer’s nitrogen inflation program.
Parker Hannifin says the TireSaver TS-018-Wand will yield multiple benefits to dealers, including a minimal investment cost, good profit margin and high sales potential. The company adds that the wand will improve the availability of nitrogen for tire filling, allowing more consumers to realize the benefits.