Rochester Hills, MI (October 15, 2018)
– The Technology & Maintenance Council
(TMC) recently presented a panel discussion called “What the Blazes? Thermal
Events Forensic Analysis”. Representatives from a brake manufacturer, a tire
company, and two major fleets made excellent presentations on the causes of
vehicle fires and actions taken to eliminate them.
It was reported that trailer fires are the most common and are caused by air leaks,
false charging (occurs when pneumatic valves in the brake system get plugged and
air bleeds off allowing the brakes to come on), dragging brakes, air shut-off valves,
brakes adjusted too tight, brake chamber issues, drivers not turning on air valves,
road debris, wheel ends (frozen bearings), and flat tires. While one fleet reported
that its incidence of vehicle fires increased dramatically after it installed trailer
skirts, it found that while the skirts did not cause the problem, they aggravated a
bad situation by containing the heat. What was surprising to learn was that most fires occur within 30-50 miles of the trip!
Tires usually provide the fuel needed for fires. A video was presented that clearly showed how a flat tire catches fire. At 300℉ the tire comes apart, at 500-550℉ flammable vapors are generated, and at 650-700℉ the tire will burn when provided with an ignition source which comes from the sparks generated by the wheel dragging on the pavement. Usually the remaining rubber coated body plies or belt strands catch on fire first. However, in cases in which the bearings freeze, the axle end can heat up to over 850-900℉ at which time tires spontaneously combust.
One fleet stated that if a driver is advised of a heat generating problem, he or she will respond before the fire occurs. TireVigil Cloud provides this warning to both the driver and all fleet personnel who should be alerted to potential thermal incidents long before fires erupt. This solution monitors the heat on each vehicle axle end, compares it to the other axle ends, and sends alerts when temperatures rise above 219℉ which is long before the tire compounds start to soften at 250℉.
If you are concerned about vehicle fires which are extremely costly in lives, vehicle damage and lost cargo, you should see what TireVigil Cloud can do for your fleet.
3508 Wedgewood Dr.
Rochester Hills, MI 48306
11 Hines Road
Kanata, ON K2K 2X1
Phone: (877) 878-4445
Phone: (248) 373-0312