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Bridgestone Aims To Start Tire Recycling With New Tech By 2030

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Bridgestone, one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world, is planning to help reduce the carbon footprint of its commercial vehicle line of tires by producing radio-tagged tires in 2024. Tires on vehicles like trucks and buses will be linked to a cloud-based system that is designed to help clients maximize the tires’ lifespan and minimize their carbon footprints.

By the end of 2022, the Tokyo-based company plans to begin expanding its plant in Warren County, Tennessee. A big part of this expansion will include installing production equipment capable of embedding tires with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags which will be connected to a cloud-based system for monitoring each tagged tire.

Bridgestone will start out by placing the tags on retreaded tires for trucks and buses, with an emphasis on U.S. and European logistics providers that need to manage large fleets of vehicles. Although, due to the current chip shortage, which affects the RFID tags, the rollout may be slower than anticipated at least until the chips that are needed become more available.

Bridgestone also plans to set up new lines in Japan and the rest of Asia to produce RFID-tagged tires starting in 2024. They plan to shift entirely to these new tires for trucks and buses in Japan, the U.S., and Europe by 2030, with plans to eventually offer RFID-tagged tires to passenger car tires as well.

The company currently offers a similar service, called Tirematics, which monitors tire pressures and temperatures across client fleets using sensors on the wheels. The platform is helpful but does not track individual tires, and requires extra steps during tire changes to ensure data is properly fed into the system.

Upgrading the tires with RFID tags will allow the company to automatically identify and track each tire at maintenance hubs and other facilities. Each tire having a unique ID allows them to monitor production and repair histories, which will be stored on a cloud-based system for easy retrieval of information.

Some of the perks of the new system are it will allow clients to adjust the pressure of individual tires in order to improve fuel efficiency and to retread them at the optimal time to extend their lifespan. Once a commercial tire wears down too far, it can no longer be retread and must be replaced entirely. Being able to retread a tire twice cuts carbon emissions in half and requires half the materials as replacing it twice, says Bridgestone.

A regular passenger car tire has a total carbon footprint of around 285 kilograms, including for raw materials and transport. A tire for trucks and buses has a total carbon footprint of around 2,481 kg. The tires themselves do not emit carbon dioxide while the vehicle is traveling, but they can impact fuel efficiency.

According to the Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association, tire performance and maintenance can have an impact on 26% of carbon emissions by commercial vehicles and 18% by passenger vehicles.

After acquiring several fleet maintenance service providers, Bridgestone looks to link them to the new RFID-tagged tires to provide more value-added services. The company hopes to double revenue from its solutions business, including vehicle maintenance, to around 2 trillion yen ($13.8 billion) in 2030.


Featured image courtesy of Bridgestone

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