The clear plastic bottle displays the rubber material used inside the Equal Flexx pouch. The sensor device to the left of the bottle is one of several IMI uses to monitor vibration levels during fleet testing. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)
NASHVILLE. The new Equal Flexx tire counterbalancing pouch unveiled here by IMI at the 2016 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual convention reportedly can help improve fuel economy 2.5% and boost trailer and drive tire life from 20% to 45% by helping reduce vibration at the wheel end.
“Vibration is not only wasted energy, consuming fuel, it increases tire wear as well,” Derek Forney, IMI’s associate product manager, explained to Fleet Owner.
The key, he said, is to “even out the footprint” for truck and trailer tires to both reduce irregular wear and reduce rolling resistance, which in turn reduces fuel consuming.
IMI thinks it can achieve both goals with its new Equal Flexx counterbalancing pouch, filled with what Forney describes as “softer” material to help “absorb” excess vibration at the wheel end of both drive and trailer tires.
Equal Flexx’s granulated rubber compound achieves those twin goals by absorbing twice as much vibration compared to the previous iteration of the product, Forney pointed out, reducing overall wheel-end vibration by 15%.
He added that testing IMI conducted with one fleet last year showed that Equal Flexx helped deliver fuel economy increases of a quarter-mile per gallon, with another fleet recording a 90 gallon per month per tractor savings.
Additional fleet testing with Equal Flexx over 20 million miles showed tire life improvements of over 20% on Tier 1 tire brands across all wheel positions, with some achieving a 50% increase in tire life, Forney noted.
IMI plans to make Equal Flexx available in late April or early May, he said.