NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Bridgestone Corp. has patented technology designed to make truck tire innerliners more impervious to air loss and is starting to build it into truck tires in the U.S.
Bridgestone adds an unidentified mineral component to the butyl innerliner compound, and tiny particles of this additive-shaped long and thin-are aligned in a special process to be parallel to each other and overlapping. This creates a "maze" of particles air molecules must pass around in order to migrate through the butyl liner, the company said.
Bridgestone claims the new innerliner can reduce inflation losses by 40 percent, cutting the accepted monthly pressure loss "standard" in half to about 1 psi.
The company also claims the compounding technology allows the innerliner to be made thinner, thus saving weight as well.
In addition, Bridgestone said reducing the amount of air passing through the walls of tires helps cut down the potential for damage to the steel cords from rust and corrosion.
In the patent for this technology-originally filed in 2001-Bridgestone mentions kaolinic or sericitic clay as examples of the minerals that can be used.
Bridgestone is using the technology in tires produced in Japan and is starting to phase it into production at its U.S. truck tire plants in Warren and LaVergne, Tenn., according to Guy Walenga, BFS engineering manager for North American commercial products, who discussed the development at the recent Bizcon10 commercial dealers meeting in Washington, D.C.
Bridgestone also unveiled three new tire lines at the meeting that will be available later this year:
—R250ED, an extra duty version of the R250 line with a cut/chip-resistant tread compound, to be available in sizes 11R22.5 and 11E24.5, Load Range H. The tire will compete with the Michelin XZE.
—S198, which will be called the M860 when it goes into full production, will replace the R296 as BFS´ 10,000-pound capacity waste hauling tire with a 65 mph speed rating.
—L320, which replaces the L317.
The launches follow on the debuts in the last year of four tire lines, R287, R260F, M726El and R195F.