Transense launches iProbe tyre inspection tool
Transense Technologies plc has launched its iProbe multi-function RFID/TPMS tyre inspection tool into the market. Developed by its subsidiary Translogik and following consultation with potential customers, the iProbe provides wireless measurement of tread depth, tyre temperature and tyre pressure combined with integrated RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag and TPMS (Temperature Pressure Monitoring System) sensor reading capabilities.
According to the company, the first production run of probes has been “fully sold” to customers which include the world’s three largest tyre manufacturers (currently Bridgestone, Michelin and Goodyear). In addition fleet providers around the world are said to have purchased the iProbe, and commenced software integration work at their expense to integrate the iProbe with their systems. No details regarding the size of the initial production run, the value of the various supply deals or indeed how many units each tyre maker has purchased have been released.
The iProbe is a development of the existing technology from the current Translogik Tread Depth & Pressure Probe. It builds upon this design and is constructed to meet the demands of the fleet tyre maintenance market. Significant market research was reportedly undertaken during the product design phase to ensure that the iProbe fulfilled all the requirements of its target markets. Key amongst these was the need to have sufficient read-range to interrogate RFID tags in ‘dual-tyre’ configurations – where the inside tyre tag can be up to 50 cm away from the probe antenna. The directors of Transense believe that attaining this read-range from an antenna small enough to fit within the compact dimensions of a tough, lightweight hand-held product represents a significant technical achievement by the Translogik engineers.
The ability to read and write to RFID tyre tags is a significant new feature as tyre manufactures begin to launch truck and bus tyres with embedded RFID tags, and patches incorporating RFID tags are increasingly adopted as an aftermarket solution. At the recent Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) show in Florida, the iProbe was demonstrated where it read an RFID tag embedded within a Goodyear G572 truck tyre. This is the first commercially available RFID enabled truck tyre.
New kit can reduce inspection times by up to 60%
Furthermore the iProbe has a modular design that allows additional functionality to be added as customers require it ensuring the iProbes’ abilities can expand as customers’ own requirements grow.
Transense sees that an increasing number of software solution and system integrators are adopting the iProbe. Transense’s directors believe that by providing a complete tyre inspection solution (previously only available from two or more separate inspection products) in a single wireless device brings new levels of functionality, accuracy and efficiency to the tyre management market, at a market leading price point. The iProbe’s ‘one-click’ wireless data collection function, as compiled by Translogik during product trials, can apparently reduce vehicle inspection times by up to 60 per cent, whilst also offering significant cost savings in on-going tyre maintenance, not only in terms of time savings, but also in the quality and accuracy of tyre data.
Graham Storey, CEO of Transense Technologies, commented: “We are excited about the prospects for the new iProbe. We set out to develop the industry-leading purpose-built tyre inspection tool, and we believe we have achieved that. At a time when the cost of tyres and fuel continue to increase at an alarming rate, the iProbe provides an all-in-one solution to the asset management market for maximising the return on their tyre investment. We believe the iProbe is the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of tyre inspection and audit tools. The potential market, while already significant, is set to grow rapidly as the
requirement to collect data electronically, accurately and efficiently increases”.