Having long provided smart tire solutions for commercial vehicles and aircraft tires, manufacturer Goodyear will now also provide similar solutions for airport tractors that maneuver aircraft.
During the development stage of airport equipment manufacturer Trepel’s Charger 380 tractor, the company wanted to ensure the vehicle was capable of reliable long-distance towing between terminals and other positions within an airport. Reliability of airport vehicles is crucial, because issues such as punctures to tires could cause serious delays to flight operations. Due to this, Trepel contacted Goodyear Proactive Solutions to aid in developing equipment to prevent these problems from occurring.
“We developed the Charger 380 as the most advanced, high power and versatile tractor. Our customers prioritize the safety of passengers and want to reduce the time pressure and complexity in the daily operations,” commented David Bellavance, research and development manager, Towbarless Aircraft Tractors.
“We worked with Goodyear to create a plug-and-play solution. Our Charger 380 dashboard has hardwiring to enable Goodyear TPMS data integration. This connected Goodyear technology adds to our range of state-of-the-art electronics. Trepel has already included high levels of connectivity to provide precision when maneuvering and the addition of TPMS is a perfect complement to our own safety, logistics and operational electronic technology.”
A heavy-duty version of Goodyear’s own TPMS was then integrated into the Trepel aircraft tug’s dashboard, an industry first for the tire manufacturer’s TPMS technology as it normally operates through a web platform or app. Following any loss in pressure or a temperature change, the TPMS sensor built into the vehicle’s tire will then alert the driver in the cabin via a screen in the dashboard if action needs to be taken such as a change in tire.
“The Trepel Charger 380 is massively versatile, being able to haul large aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or Airbus A340-600,” explained Eric Ghirelli, product manager off-the-road EMEA, Goodyear Proactive Solutions. “Its high torque and weight capacity bring additional challenges on the tire front. The required level of high load capability, coupled with the risk of wear on abrasive taxiways, mean that tire pressure is key. Especially, the inner tires are difficult to check visually, so the incorporated Goodyear TPMS gives added peace of mind to the driver and airport operations team.”
When integrated into the dashboard, the technology aids in saving time during routine inspections, operations and when planning maintenance. A single button on the dashboard will show the vehicle operator current pressures and alert them before an issue occurs. The monitoring system aims to extend tire life by keeping tires at the optimal pressure to ensure a regular wear pattern.