Parker Hannifin Process Air and Gas believe filling a HGV's tyres with the latest nitrogen generation technology can improve the safety of vehicles while reducing operating costs by a considerable margin.

The company's sales and marketing manager David Wright explains that under-inflated tyres can have a significant impact on the performance of commercial vehicles, negatively affecting safety, steering balance, braking ability and ride characteristics. These problems, he warns, can ultimately lead to rising operating costs for fleet operators, with problems such as excessive wear, premature tyre replacement and even decreased fuel efficiency.

Most road tyres are currently filled with compressed air, which is comprised of 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen, with the addition of trace gases such as helium and water vapour. Parker Hannifin sees this method of inflation as one that is fundamentally problematic, as a tyre is effectively a membrane through which oxygen can diffuse. Therefore, filling a tyre with air can lead to premature deflation, no matter how well it is constructed or sealed at the rim.

Nitrogen-filled tyres are a familiar part of the aviation and motor sport arenas, but until recently, it has not been cost effective for commercial vehicle operators to consider this option. However Parker Hannifin believes that the latest generation technology, such as their TyreSaver range, overcomes this obstacle by utilising hollow fibre membranes to split a concentrated air supply into two separate streams of nitrogen and oxygen. This removes the need to have large nitrogen storage tanks on-site, a requirement that is not viable for the majority of fleet operators.

Parker Hannifin quotes the dimensions of its nitrogen generation devices as being 'extremely compact' and add that they can be quickly installed and used virtually anywhere. Furthermore, the latest systems require significantly less air pressure than many previous methods of nitrogen separation, eliminating the need for expensive compressor upgrades or heaters.