TPMS TRUCK VALVES: Safe and Reliable Technology for the Evolution of Road Transport
Mandatory since july last year on all new trucks, the TPMS system is an established solution for making the transport sector safer and with fewer impacts. The heart of this technology is a small valve, developed and produced by Wonder and customised for each truck model.
Ten years after it was required for use in personal-use vehicles, the TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) system is now also mandatory for commercial vehicles. In July 2022, in fact, the new European safety regulation ECE R141 established the mandatory use of TPMS for trucks, trailers, buses and coaches, initially only for new approvals, and then for all new vehicles starting July 2024.
This was a long-awaited decision that will modernise the sector and increase safety and efficiency while reducing the costs and impacts of road transport on the environment.
The technology is far from new, however. Wonder has been creating it for over a decade, focusing on the smallest yet essential component of the system: the valve. ‘We started to study the first valves for TPMS in 2008,’ recalls Natalia Cervi, Management Assistant, ‘in order to start production in 2011. In the last ten years, 5% of all metal truck valves sold by Wonder have been TPMS valves. We’re talking about millions of pieces. With the new legislation, we expect a significant increase in requests.’
The Smart Solution for Safer Travel
There are many advantages offered by the TPMS TRUCK system, starting with the most important one: safety. ‘A major cause of accidents is the inadequate condition of the tyres,’ says Nicola Mainardi, IAM Sales Manager. ‘That is, wear and excessive or insufficient pressure for the current conditions. It’s important to remember that trucks and coaches are subject to far greater stresses than cars, due to their weight, dimensions and transported goods. For each trip, there is a different load, trailer, air temperature and asphalt. Consequently, the tyre pressure must also be adapted to these changes. The TPMS is the most effective response to this need, as it allows for real-time monitoring of the pressure of all tyres, from the tractor unit to trailers. In this way, the driver is alerted to any anomalies that need to be corrected and can change the pressure as needed. And this translates into a clear increase in road safety.’
Consumption and Emissions are Dropping, Efficiency is Increasing
But safety is not the only benefit of TPMS applied to commercial vehicles. ‘By travelling with tyres that always have the best pressure conditions,’ specifies Natalia Cervi, ‘the vehicle consumes less fuel and the tyres themselves wear less and last longer, with considerable savings for fleet managers. But lower consumption also means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, another fundamental benefit, considering the very high numbers involved in road transport. Furthermore, thanks to the TPMS system, it is possible to remotely monitor the conditions of the entire fleet of vehicles and intervene promptly, thus also reducing the risk of less serious but sufficient inconveniences related to delivery delays due to the vehicle being stopped. Adding all the benefits together, this is a huge step forward for the industry.’
Customised Technology Made by Wonder
There are already numerous manufacturers that rely on Wonder for the creation of TPMS valves for their vehicle models, including Daimler, Iveco Truck, Scania and Volvo. ‘In this industry,’ explains Andrea Capelli, R&D Engineer and head of TPMS TRUCKS development, ‘the key is customisation. Unlike cars, where you can cover the entire range of rims with three or four types of valves, there are many different types for trucks and buses, so it would be unthinkable to offer a standard product. Each supply is separate and requires a preliminary study to understand how to shape the valve to adapt it to the rim profile, particularly with regards to the internal part, i.e. coupling with the sensor. This is a delicate operation that we carry out in collaboration with the customer’s technical team in order to align ourselves and achieve an optimal result in the shortest possible time.’
From Development to Finished Product
The customisation process starts from a study and arrives at the final product within a few weeks. ‘During the preliminary analysis,’ says Stefano Cazzanti, Technical Director at Wonder, ‘we take note of the requests and technical specifications that the valve must have and we begin the modelling work. This generally takes a few days, and when we have verified the quality of the project, we move on to making the samples, all in a few weeks. Next, the prototypes are subjected to sealing, acceleration and deceleration tests in a climatic chamber, which we carry out in our internal laboratory to validate the model and ensure it has the required robustness and durability characteristics. At this point, we move on to engineering and production. The timing naturally depends on the type of process chosen according to production volumes and costs. But thanks to our accumulated know-how, we move rather quickly, with a response time from the request to delivery of the first supply of approximately two months. Having been among the first to appear on the market more than 10 years ago with specific valves for TPMS TRUCK systems, we certainly have an advantage over other manufacturers in terms of quality, reliability and service.’