Capture Footprints with TireScan
Next time you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair getting your teeth checked, you may spare a moment to consider how many degrees of separation stand between yourself and the tyre industry. It may be fewer than you think. American firm Tekscan Inc, which developed its TireScan system in conjunction with Goodyear, admits the basic technology behind the system was originally created for use in dentistry. “However, it was recognised that the principle concept could be adapted for numerous other applications, the tyre industry being just one of them," explained the company's international sales manager, Jason Marcouillier.
The TireScan system is a tool used to capture the tyre footprint (pressure pattern) of passenger, truck, OTR, agricultural and aircraft tyres. Tyre footprints can be captured statically or dynamically with equal ease. The TireScan displays high resolution, multi-coloured images of the tyre contact pressure pattern in real time. The system, comments Tekscan, is very intuitive; application specific graphing and image analysis software enables quantitative and qualitative examination of these images. For example, the system almost instantly measures a tyres contact area, perimeter area, tread length and width and cross sectional pressure profile. TireScan can then compare the characteristics of various tyres, or evaluate the features of any specific tyre under different loading and inflation conditions.
As Tekscan notes, this information can be invaluable to designers and manufacturers by assessing various tyre compounds and tread designs, conduct quality control measurements, perform competitive benchmarking and analysing vehicle suspension effects. The system is turn-key and its USB connection makes it extremely portable. Consequently, TireScan can be used with equal ease in the laboratory, the factory, or in the field. The systems sensors can be placed directly onto a roadway, garage floor, mounted on a tyre-rolling machine, or secured to a moving plank test machine. Sensors can even be buried underground and simply be driven over in order to take a measurement within the soil. TireScan also offers an additional option to allow the measuring of tyre bead pressure profiles.
“At Tekscan we offer a wide selection of powerful yet user-friendly solutions,” continued Marcouillier. “Our complete pressure measurement systems are simple to set up and include sensors, data acquisition electronics and software that run right from your desktop PC or laptop. The flexibility of our products allow for use in a multitude of applications. Equally important, our solutions are designed to let the customer add on various sensor models, software modules as well as upgrade options as and when the need arises.”
Tekscan adds that the TireScan system is already being used by numerous international tyre manufacturing companies.