Automotive components supplier Continental has held the global launch for its ContiConnect digital tyre monitoring platform with a unique tyre sensor in Malaysia – our country was the venue of choice as it is also where the pilot run for the system was successfully conducted. Fleets with this system total around 3,000 tyres for vehicles thus equipped, said Continental.

The ContiConnect digital tyre monitoring platform caters to commercial fleet operators. Users of passenger cars may already be familiar with tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) in their vehicles, though these are rather simplified in terms of data when compared to monitoring tyres on a truck. Trucks invariably have more tyres than cars do, and a fleet of them greatly magnifies the task at hand.

The ContiConnect platform enables users to monitor tyre pressure and temperature data via a single web-based portal, which helps fleets make the best of routine tyre maintenance and ultimately increase fleet uptime by avoiding or minimising tyre-related breakdowns.

The web portal notifies the fleet manager of any irregularities such as incidences of low tyre pressure or abnormally high tyre temperatures. This information can be relayed via customisable text and e-mail notifications, in order for the relevant staff to attend to the matter. This setup also helps fleet personnel to actively rectify issues instead of conducting pressure checks manually.

Other brands of commercial vehicle tyre are compatible with the ContiConnect setup, but of course Continental strongly recommends that clients use Continental tyres to go with the company’s range of products. The sensors are installed on the inner liner of the tyre to avoid theft, damage from kerbing, as well as to ensure the sensors accurately track temperature and pressure without influence from the brakes.

The tyre sensors themselves are compact, palm-sized units weighing approximately 30 g, which means wheels do not require rebalancing after the sensors are fitted, according to Continental. A minimum tyre size of 17.5 inches is stipulated, though there are no tyre width or vehicle weight limits; life expectancy for the sensor is six years.

Data from the sensors is relayed to the central control unit (CCU) via radio signals, and the CCU is located low in the truck or bus chassis to ensure optimum signal reception. For longer vehicles such as trailers, an additional receiver can be specified. The CCU is rated IP69 for ingress protection against the elements.

Cost-wise, the sensors are estimated to be around 10% of the cost for new tyres, based on a common 295-section truck tyre. A typical per-vehicle outlay for a fleet installing the ContiConnect setup is around “a few thousand Ringgit, but less than RM10,000,” according to a Continental Malaysia representative.

For cross-border applications, the ContiConnect system depends on telematics providers for roaming capabilities rather than direct dealings with cellular providers; in Malaysia, the company is working with three unspecified telematics partners for the system’s deployment. Both leasing and outright purchase of the system is available, and there are 20 Continental-approved dealers nationwide (including Sabah and Sarawak) who can attend to their customers’ maintenance needs.