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nitrogen tire inflation systemPurchasing a nitrogen tire inflation system is a big deal. Not only is it a large investment, but not all systems are created the same. Choosing the right system that will serve your managed fleet to your needs requires knowing several factors in how you will use the nitrogen tire system and how quickly you need to service each vehicle. Here’s how to choose the right nitrogen tire inflation system for your managed fleet:

Number of Vehicles

The number of vehicles not only determines how many nitrogen carts and how much nitrogen capacity you need, but you also need to know if you plan to fill every vehicle or if you plan to fill two or more vehicles at a time. Systems come in various sizes and capacities, so you need to consider the number of tires you’ll be servicing each month as well as if you plan to service multiple vehicles at once. Knowing this will ensure that you purchase a system that can handle the volume of your fleet at a speed that works for your drivers and maintenance crew.

Space and Mobility

With your nitrogen tire system, you need to know which characteristic is more important for your overall fleet management. If space is tight, then you probably don’t want a system that is too large or has too many hose reels that require additional storage space. You may not necessarily want a mobile nitrogen tire program, as you may not have the space to move the carts around so they can reach every single tire. Of course, if you have the space, then mobility might be a more convenient option.

Naturally, you’ll need to balance space and mobility with the number of vehicles you plan to service. Mobile may be tougher to have it you’re servicing over 1200 tires per month, but could be a nice alternative in case a vehicle just needs to be topped off and doesn’t need a full maintenance check. But, mobile is easier if you have a small fleet and are capable of handling more individualized service and maintenance for your fleet vehicles.

Purchase for Future Use

A nitrogen tire inflation system may be a hesitant purchase for many managed fleets, since the practice is brand new and not something that’s already been tested with the fleet. This may lead to a hesitant purchase, one that doesn’t include the ability to scale or to consider future use in terms of servicing larger or additional vehicles. For some managed fleets that aren’t projecting or planning to increase the size of their fleets, purchasing a system that meets current needs isn’t a bad idea. However, there are instances where purchasing for future need is a good idea. If your company is planning to purchase more, or bigger, fleet vehicles in 2014, or if you’re going to add nitrogen tire programs to other locations or maintenance centers, then doing a bulk purchase may be smarter and better for the bottom line.

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nitrogen tire inflation programIncreased fuel efficiency, longer tire life, and increased safety are just some of the benefits of having a nitrogen tire program in your fleet. Recognizing the benefits isn’t always the most difficult part. The toughest aspect is implementing such a program and ensuring that your managed fleet actually gets to see these benefits. Here’s how to implement a nitrogen tire inflation program into your fleet:

Assess the Cost and Carbon Savings

Nitrogen tire inflation will benefit one vehicle as well as a hundred or a thousand, but if you have a small fleet, then it might take a long time for your managed fleet to recoup the cost of the equipment. One nitrogen tire system can run several thousand dollars, so it’s important to consider the initial cost and how long it will take your fleet to recover that cost. The cost and carbon savings are much more substantial for larger fleets, and the initiative to go green may also be an additional incentive. A good place to start to calculate these numbers, if you are considering a nitrogen tire inflation program, is to use our carbon reduction calculator to get an idea of what you would save.

Make Your Purchase

This is an obvious step, but the hardest part is figuring out how many machines or inflation carts you need. Although this will differ from provider to provider, our nitrogen tire system can fill up to six tires simultaneously. It takes about seven minutes to purge those tires of air and to refill them with nitrogen.The number of machines that you purchase will depend on how many vehicles you have in your fleet, as well as how many locations your fleet has to do regular maintenance. For example, you could have a fleet of 1000 , but if there are five maintenance locations for your fleet, then you might only need 10 or 15 machines to ensure that each maintenance location is adequately serviced.

Transition Your Vehicles

Once you have your machines, the next step is to transition all of your vehicles. You want to purge them of the regular air and refill the tires with nitrogen. This is the only way to get your program started right, and to be able to track certain metrics. Your results will be skewed if you start by only topping off your tires with nitrogen, as the benefits won’t be as noticeable.

Educate Your Drivers

One of the most crucial elements in implementing a nitrogen tire inflation program, and in doing it successfully, is educating your drivers and maintenance workers about nitrogen tire inflation. This is more than telling them why the company is doing this and what nitrogen is supposed to do to the vehicle. It’s also about educating them on the importance of proper tire care i.e. checking tire pressure regularly, how to check tire pressure, when to do it, and what’s considered proper tire pressure. This ensures that while the vehicle is on the road, the tires aren’t over- or under-inflated on accident, which puts the driver at risk for a flat or a blowout. Nitrogen won’t make much of a difference in driver safety if the tire is over-inflated in the first place.

Track Certain Metrics to Measure the Savings

Once you implement the program and get everyone involved, you ought to track certain metrics to measure your savings and to show that the initial expenses were justified. Some of the metrics that you want to track include fuel costs, number of blowouts per month, average tire pressure upon maintenance, number of tire retreads per month, and length of a tire retread. Of course, you will need to track these metrics over several months to be able to see the benefits and the difference nitrogen made to your fleet. It would help if you had some or all of these numbers prior to starting the program, so that you can compare the results, but that’s not always necessary.

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How a Nitrogen Tire System Works

On February 2, 2012, in Managed Fleets, Nitrogen Tire Inflation, by allisonmreilly
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There’s a lot content out there on the debate of nitrogen tire inflation, whether it’s worth the costs, what the benefits are etc. But, there isn’t a whole lot out there that discusses how a nitrogen tire system works, or even shows what these systems look like. Until now.

Nitrogen tire systems, like the Nitrofleet99 one showcased in the picture, utilizes a molecular sieve to pull the nitrogen right out of the air. A molecular sieve is a material containing tiny pores of a precise and uniform size that is used as an adsorbent for gases and liquids. With the sieve, the system pulls the nitrogen right out of the air, getting the good stuff without any of the negative components that can do damage to tires. Although these systems come with storage tanks so they can be used whenever necessary, a nitrogen tire system doesn’t require the additional purchase of the nitrogen gas in order to work. The system then connects to the tires via the nitrogen lines, as shown in the picture, to fill them up with pure nitrogen.

A nitrogen tire system can purge four to six tires of regular air, and refill them with nitrogen in about seven minutes. The system can also be used to top off tires with nitrogen. The Nitrofleet99 nitrogen tire system in particular comes with an additional wheel mounted cart, that can be used in parking lot, in a shop, or when multiple vehicles need to fill up with nitrogen. This is a great option for managed fleets who work with more than one vehicle during any maintenance check. The cart has a 30-gallon storage tank, as well as a 10-hour rechargeable battery, while the stationary system has 150-gallon tank. Because the Nitrofleet99 system already comes with its own storage tanks, a managed fleet doesn’t have to purchase additional tanks in order to fill all its fleet vehicles. The storage tank on the car allows it to work without it being connected to the main system.

That, in a nutshell, is how a nitrogen tire system works. It can fill up all four tires as once, saving consumers and managed fleets a lot of time, and come with a portable cart so managed fleets can fill multiple vehicles as once, instead of purchasing tons of machines or storage capacity.

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