Tech Talk

Finding the right balance

A leading force in wheel balancing technology, Centramatic Australia’s simple and cost effective solution provides permanent balancing on all trailer/drive wheels.

Centramatic balancers increase tyre life and improve fuel consumption, extend suspension life and reduce driver fatigue. They also decrease vibration by reducing the unbalanced wheels pounding effect, which causes side wall flex heat build-up in tyres. The balancers act as a cooling fin to dissipate heat so the tyres run cooler and road friction resistance and rolling resistance is reduced, meaning you use less horsepower and less fuel.

Many transport operators are taking advantage of larger trailer combinations to help boost efficiency and profitability. As the rigs get bigger and more productive, we’re seeing multi trailer combinations with more tyres on the ground than ever before.

With that said, it’s surprising that tyres are often overlooked when it comes to looking for ways to try and save on running costs.

Operators often only balance the prime mover’s steer tyres. But with fuel accounting for around 28 per cent of total running costs, tyre rolling resistance responsible for up to 33 per cent of fuel consumption, and trailer/drive tyres contributing for 90 per cent of this resistance, it makes sense to balance all of the tyres on a multi trailer combination.   

By bolting just two Centramatic balance rings in between the dual wheels, all four wheels on the axle remain permanently balanced. Centramatic balancers are made for most wheel sizes including 15”, 17.5”, 19” and 22.5” rims; with most typical stud patterns available (from 5-8 stud and differing 10 stud Euro and US patterns). The company is also currently undertaking long term testing of patented drive/trailer spider balancer.

The balancers work by utilising centrifugal force and deflection to automatically distribute movable weights precisely where needed to remove the imbalance of all the rotating mass of the wheel and brake assembly.

According to Centramatic, switching from the typical non-balanced wheel condition to its automatic balancing of all wheels on a trailer combination and drive can result in tyre life increasing by 25-50 per cent. This is on top of a 1-3 per cent reduction in fuel costs due to a reduction in road friction resistance and rolling resistance caused by the pounding effect of the unbalanced wheel, so less horsepower is required to keep things moving.

Just as in other machinery like industrial fans and vehicle motors, an out of balance spinning part can quickly destroy itself and reduce the life of other components attached to it. Out of balance wheels are no different. They can affect the tyres on the opposing end of an axle, along with the axles themselves. The effects of vibration are a major source of wheel nut failure and suspension fatigue too.

Less trailer bounce when running empty and enhanced braking results in reduced wheel lock-up, therefore reducing the chance of flat spots and scalloping on tyres.

With a life expectancy tested to over three million kilometres, Centramatic balancers are a cost-effective way to save on tyre and fuel costs.

Centramatic trailer balancers have the highest capacity counterbalance available. For example, its 22.5” balancers have approximately 750 grams of movable weight along with the largest cooling surface area, which is around five times the capacity of other comparable products on the market.

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