Fort Smith is Moving on Nitrogen

America is Moving on Nitrogen

“Nitrogen has proven a valuable maintenance tool for us — both in cost and, we believe, in safety,” said Pete Larsen, president of Larsen Trucking Inc., a long haul truckload carrier based in Greenville, Mich. “We’re convinced of it. The Larsen Trucking president said he became interested in nitrogen tire inflation when an announcer mentioned it during a NASCAR race. While listening to the announcer explain that racing teams inflate their stock cars’ tires with nitrogen to improve performance, Larsen wondered if it also could produce results for his trucking fleet.

“Casing-recap life has gone up tremendously,” Larsen said, resulting in “huge savings in the overall tire budget.” The company’s fleet wide miles-per-gallon fuel use improved by about 3% as well, he said, from 2008 to 2010, the first year after fully implementing nitrogen inflation throughout the fleet.

Supermarket chain Safeway Inc. also adopted nitrogen tire inflation for its private truck fleet about two years ago, said Duane Woods, the company’s director of transportation operations. After an eight-month testing period, Safeway found that nitrogen-filled tires held pressure better than those inflated with regular air. Through the testing phase, the company tracked the nitrogen-filled tires through seasonal changes in the Chicago, Denver and Phoenix areas. “They maintained pressure really well over compressed air,” Woods said. The nitrogen filled tires held pressure especially well in the heat in the Phoenix area, he said.

After the test, Safeway decided to purchase nitrogen generators for its maintenance shops, Woods said, adding that the fleet of about 900 tractors is now running on nitrogen-inflated tires. “If you can maintain constant pressure, it’s obviously going to get better fuel economy and wear on that tire,” Woods said. “Everybody in our team is confident it’s working.”

Safeway, headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., ranks No. 24 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian private carriers.

Adams Motor Express Inc., a short haul carrier based in Carnsville, Ga., has been using nitrogen tire inflation for about four years, said Paul Mincey, the company’s director of maintenance. He said the company did not switch to nitrogen inflation to improve fuel economy or tire casing life, but to better maintain tire pressure. “Our main goal was to have our tires hold air longer,” Mincey said.

Adams, which primarily hauls construction equipment, owns 46 tractors and 250 trailers. Given the company’s 1-to-5 ratio of tractors to trailers, many of its trailers sit for extended periods of time. The year before switching to nitrogen inflation, the company experienced 57 tire failures. The year after adopting nitrogen, that number plunged to just two and has remained in the single digits each year since then, he said.

Fleets that have embraced nitrogen tire inflation have claimed significant gains in tire life, safety and fuel economy. Just look at these recently reported examples.*

“Nitrogen has proven a valuable maintenance tool for us — both in cost and, we believe, in safety,” said Pete Larsen, president of Larsen Trucking Inc., a long haul truckload carrier based in Greenville, Mich. “We’re convinced of it. The Larsen Trucking president said he became interested in nitrogen tire inflation when an announcer mentioned it during a NASCAR race. While listening to the announcer explain that racing teams inflate their stock cars’ tires with nitrogen to improve performance, Larsen wondered if it also could produce results for his trucking fleet.

“Casing-recap life has gone up tremendously,” Larsen said, resulting in “huge savings in the overall tire budget.” The company’s fleet wide miles-per-gallon fuel use improved by about 3% as well, he said, from 2008 to 2010, the first year after fully implementing nitrogen inflation throughout the fleet.

Supermarket chain Safeway Inc. also adopted nitrogen tire inflation for its private truck fleet about two years ago, said Duane Woods, the company’s director of transportation operations. After an eight-month testing period, Safeway found that nitrogen-filled tires held pressure better than those inflated with regular air. Through the testing phase, the company tracked the nitrogen-filled tires through seasonal changes in the Chicago, Denver and Phoenix areas. “They maintained pressure really well over compressed air,” Woods said. The nitrogen filled tires held pressure especially well in the heat in the Phoenix area, he said.

After the test, Safeway decided to purchase nitrogen generators for its maintenance shops, Woods said, adding that the fleet of about 900 tractors is now running on nitrogen-inflated tires. “If you can maintain constant pressure, it’s obviously going to get better fuel economy and wear on that tire,” Woods said. “Everybody in our team is confident it’s working.”

Safeway, headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., ranks No. 24 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian private carriers.

Adams Motor Express Inc., a short haul carrier based in Carnsville, Ga., has been using nitrogen tire inflation for about four years, said Paul Mincey, the company’s director of maintenance. He said the company did not switch to nitrogen inflation to improve fuel economy or tire casing life, but to better maintain tire pressure. “Our main goal was to have our tires hold air longer,” Mincey said.

Adams, which primarily hauls construction equipment, owns 46 tractors and 250 trailers. Given the company’s 1-to-5 ratio of tractors to trailers, many of its trailers sit for extended periods of time. The year before switching to nitrogen inflation, the company experienced 57 tire failures. The year after adopting nitrogen, that number plunged to just two and has remained in the single digits each year since then, he said.

Make your NitroFill appointment @ Harry Robinson Buick GMC Certified Service Center.

*From an article appearing in the March/April 2012 issue of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement  to the March 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

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