TYRES: 2020V solutions

By: Amie Hickland


A company has developed two low-cost options to help mitigate safety risks in buses

TYRES: 2020V solutions
The label turns orange when tyres are overheating

A simple sticker which recognises major problems in heavy vehicles by identifying heat in the tyres has been introduced to Australian bus industry.

Bruce Piper, of 2020V, is the company’s national representative for the Hotwheel heat indicator label.

He says the label is heat sensitive and changes colours when the wheel is too hot – generally indicating something is wrong with the vehicle.

Another product by the company is the Zafety Lug Lock, which is made of three blended plastic resins and is designed to hold wheel nuts in place by joining two together.

Piper says the products are preventative measures for bus operators.

HOTWHEEL

"Hotwheel is important because it can provide early detection of wheel end component failure that, if not rectified, could result in a wheel fire or accident due to tyre blow out, brake or bearing failure," Piper explains.

"While Hotwheel will not indicate every instance of a wheel end component malfunction, it will indicate excess temperature for prolonged periods that could cause decreased function or component failure."

The product costs less than $20, and Piper says the labels not only reduce maintenance costs but also improve safety.

He says bus and coach wheels can overheat for a number of reasons including underinflated tyres, extreme brake usage or faulty wheel end components such as bearings.

"Overheating wheels can lead to an accident due to a tyre blow out, wheel fire or roadside breakdown," he says.

"Irrespective of pre-trip tyre checks and scheduled wheel and brake maintenance a developing fault can go undetected which could result in one of the above scenarios during a journey."

Hotwheel labels are easily attached to each wheel rim, and if a wheel reaches 120C for a period of time the label will change from white to orange.

The label will remain orange so that the fault can be noticed any time after the overheating event and must be replaced with a new label after a wheel fault has been rectified.

Piper says the product’s developers identified a need for a low-cost product that could alert bus and truck operators to developing wheel end problems so that maintenance could be carried out before a serious component failure occurred.

"If during a bus walk-around it is noticed that a Hotwheel label has turned Orange, the wheel end components need to be inspected and the fault rectified as soon as possible," he says.

The labels are already widely used by truck and bus operators throughout North America, where the product was developed.

Until recently in Australia, Hotwheel has only been offered to the trucking industry where it has gained wide acceptance being fitted to both prime movers and trailers.

Line-haul operators particularly like the fact that their drivers are able to identify an impending fault during a mid-trip inspection and have it rectified before it results in the cost and inconvenience of a roadside failure.

"For Bus and coach operators, this could avoid the chaos of a mid-tour breakdown," Piper says.

ZAFETY LUG LOCK

The Zafety Lug Lock is also an inexpensive way for operators to mitigate safety risks.

Piper says the Canadian patented technology is new to the bus industry in Australia although it has taken off overseas — particularly in North America and the United Kingdom.

The product is also re-usable and some overseas operators are known to have been using the same locks for over three years, and there is no need for tools to install it as it pops on and off.

Piper says the lock was designed as it "recognises a safety issue which can have catastrophic results".

"The purpose of this thing is to stop the nut coming off," he explains. "It’s a method of reducing the risks."

Piper says the "simple" piece of equipment is to reduce the risk of wheel nuts becoming loose and potentially the wheel coming off and causing major damage.

It’s specially designed for high temperatures and the stop and start motion of buses.

Although this is not a common occurrence in the industry, he says for the minor cost of the product it is definitely something operators should consider investing in.

"While these devices appear to be a simple plastic lock that’s nothing further from the truth," Piper says.

"The Zafety Lug Lock units are the result of tens of thousands of dollars and many years development and testing."

The lock is available in a range of colours and sizes, a cost under $20 for each wheel.

Red Bus Services Maintenance Manager John Shore says he first saw the product at the Australian Bus + Coach Show 2013.

"We decided to trial the Zafety lug lock and after the initial trial was successful we are now fitting these to our fleet," he says.

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