How many engineers does it take to make an Off the Road TPMS system?


During our development of the Off the Road (OTR) TPMS system with Kal Tire Mining Group, our engineers, Wilson, Vladimir, Chess and Yuriy took a road trip to visit Highland Valley Copper (HVC), located in south Central British Columbia to see first-hand how our OTR TPMS would be used, and the environment in which they must operate.

How many engineers does it take to find Canada’s largest open pit mine? The team actually did the improbable and drove right by the entrance. Realizing what they had done, they then went to the visitor’s look out and witnessed the size of the operation and infrastructure. It was an impressive sight.

All four engineers went through onsite orientation, although Russian and Chinese being their native languages made it interesting, but HVC personnel persevered. This provided a rare opportunity for the team to actually be on and around a haul truck and to observe the tire shop in action. HVC was overly generous in supplying a haul truck and driver for as long as we needed. Since the driver was 4 hours into a 12 hour shift he thought he had won the dispatch lottery.

Since it takes two guys up to 5 hours to change a tire, you better get it right the first time! In fact, it takes up to 25 minutes just to fill one with air We were quite sure it was the first time a spectrum analyzer had ever been used in an OTR tire facility! 4 Engineers and 10 hours of access to an operating haul truck became the foundation for the world’s leading OTR TPMS with a rock solid game plan.

On the first actual multiple sensor prototype trial, the engineers met their biggest competitor by the name of TireLife®. Kal Tire was very generous in making sure we had plenty of brand new TireLife® products to test our circuit board in our lab. However, when we were on site, we quickly realized that each tire contained over 70 liters of TireLife® which is never thrown out. The fluid is simply recycled and topped up each time. So now we are putting 70 liters of liquid carbon into the inside of the tire cavity and changing the environment for our sensors from hazardous to extremely hazardous.

Looking back, this was probably the single most pivotal moment in SST’s OTR sensor development. SST Wireless engineers accepted the challenge and eventually overcame this critical issue. The end result was that our OTR sensors are now the only product on the market guaranteed to operate in total submersion of TireLife®.