Bridgestone South Africa

Enhanced Tyre Technology Central to Road Safety

Jan 31, 2020

In the world of tyres, quality is essential for safety. As  Bridgestone’s average rate of return on tyres is miniscule drivers can trust the brand’s reliability.  

Bridgestone strives for continual improvement and has embraced total quality management principles. It upgrades its plant machinery accordingly and puts each tyre through up to ten stages of quality checks done by scanners, x-rays and computers. As there is no human intervention during this process, error margins are negligible. “Through these exacting quality checks we are able to meet end-user requirements perfectly,” says Bridgestone Technical Specialist, Dries Venter.

Run-flat Tyres – Safety for Today

Bridgestone’s run-flat tyres give drivers up to 80km at 80km/h after a puncture is diagnosed which prevents drivers from being stranded on the side of the road. This is because, although run-flat tyres lose air when punctured, they are still able to support the vehicle because of their reinforced sidewalls. By comparison, conventional tyres become flat after being punctured as air escapes from the these tyres that do not have the same reinforced features.

Airless Tyres – Safety for Tomorrow

Some years ago, Bridgestone developed a prototype airless (or non-pneumatic tyre) for the passenger vehicle market. Currently most airless tyres are made from solid rubber or plastic on items such as golf carts, trailers, and lawnmowers. However, tyre designs for cars feature a unique spoke structure able to support the weight of a vehicle. This effectively eliminates the need to periodically refill tyres with air and provides drivers with improved load-bearing capabilities, environmental design, and enhanced driving performance, as well as the following benefits:

  • No flat tyres – As they are airless, they cannot leak which means drivers will never be left stranded.
  • No spare tyre needed – No punctures mean there is no need for a spare tyre, which frees up boot space, lessens the car’s weight, and leads to improved fuel economy.
  • Reduced CO2 emissions – About 90% of energy loss from tyre rolling resistance results from repeated shape changes in tyres as they roll. By simplifying the tyre structure of these air-free concept tyres, Bridgestone has minimised energy loss.
  • Eco-conscious – Recyclable materials are used which can be re-fashioned into new tyres.
  • No loss of productivity – If airless tyres are extended into the farming, mining, and construction sector, loss of productivity will decrease because they are far more fail-safe.
Bridgestone concept airless tyres Bridgestone concept airless tyres

Bridgestone Concept Airless Tyres

TomTom Telematics - Safety in the Commercial Market

WebFleet Solutions, known as TomTom Telematics until 1 October 2019, provides undeniable safety benefits in the commercial segment where currently used.

Justin Manson
Justin Manson
Sales Director, WebFleet Solutions

Justin Manson, Sales Director, WebFleet Solutions, a Bridgestone Company, explains that currently WebFleet’s telematics provide a wealth of information to fleet customers, including the following via Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM):

  • Fleet management
  • Job dispatching
  • Workflow management
  • Active driver feedback

Constant, real time feedback helps “coach” drivers by continually correcting their driving behaviour with prompts. Previously, feedback was only given to drivers periodically and often rendered useless or irrelevant due to time delays. Explains Manson: “By consistently perfecting their driving, good driving skills
permeate into a driver’s subconscious and eventually become a way of life.”

Drivers also use live feedback to proactively plan their route for safety,
and to avoid traffic congestion caused by delays on the roads.
It also puts them at ease allowing them to focus on their driving as they know the information on estimated time of arrival is relayed to control rooms to manage work orders.

Manson adds: “Bridgestone’s acquisition of WebFleet Solutions is opening up many opportunities for both businesses to provide respective clients with even greater value. This will be realised when the two platforms are integrated to make fleet management information available through the combination of WebFleet Solutions GSM and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology with data provided by Bridgestone.”

During the first quarter of 2020, many more safety features will be launched around real-time monitoring. These will include enhancements that will improve the safety of drivers and other road users in actual and potential breakdown situations.

Future Tyre Trends

Although South Africa is currently five years behind European and eastern countries concerning the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids, and autonomous vehicles, it will catch up. When this happens locally, cars will be fitted with Radio Frequency (RF) tyres and identity tags.

Sensors inside tyres will be able to pick up and relay relevant vehicle information to the car’s computer, such as tyre tread depth and heat build-up within the tyre. This information will be used for various purposes including tyre maintenance that can be done when required, according to data received. This contributes towards keeping a vehicle safely on the road and prevents potentially dangerous breakdowns.

Every effort will be made in future to make environmentally safer vehicles, which will be more fuel efficient, lighter, and smaller – including the tyres.

Rubber will also be replaced by more environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as soybean oil, guayule, neoprene, and nitrile.

Telematics will be used increasingly to control a vehicle’s speed, giving cognisance to variables, such as vehicle size and whether travelling in a rural or urban setting.

Says Dries Venter, Bridgestone Technical Specialist:“ By controlling speed to appropriate levels, driving will be much safer. Conceivably cumbersome systems around the administration and legalities related to speeding, for example,  ticketing and highway patrol could be a matter of the past.”

Through its forward-thinking approach to tyre manufacturing, Bridgestone is making great strides in tyre safety from a driving and environmental viewpoint. This will make driving safer globally – and stem the effects of global warming.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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