Did you know that a blue whale's lung capacity is 5000 litres? In comparison, humans can only manage a meagre six litres on average. As you can imagine, the power at which both creatures exhale is very different. Why are we telling you this, you ask? Here is a hint: when vehicles with large tyres suffer blowouts, the consequences are far more severe than a bicycle tyre blowout. Therefore, it’s imperative that tyre pressures are properly monitored on large vehicles.
According to Peter Tillotson, the business development manager of tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) expert TyrePal, construction sites pose a catalogue of tyre threats, differing hugely from smooth motorways. Vehicles that are working in these terrains regularly are at serious risk from punctures with cranes having some of the biggest tyres and thus can have severe blowouts.
When crane hire companies rent out vehicles, they normally come with an experienced operator. However, even with proper care and experience, the harshness of construction sites often takes its toll.
Tillotson also says, under-inflated tyres mean that more of the surface area comes into contact with the ground, causing the tyre to heat and leading to possible blowouts. On the other hand, over-inflation can create oval shaped tyres and shorten wear time. With crane tyres being large, it’s usually hard to distinguish an under-inflated tyre. This is when problems arise.
It's not just the type of ground that causes issues at construction sites. By their very nature, sites are littered with sharp objects that are very good at finding their way into tyres. Nails, screws and glass are just some of the common culprits. If these penetrate tyre walls, when the under-inflated tyres come into contact with hard road surfaces, tyre temperature increases. Cranes and other heavy-duty vehicles are designed with rugged tyres, but this doesn't prevent blowouts, but before you know it, a blowout has occurred.
So you’ve had a blowout. At the very best, a new tyre, maintenance and recovery are going to cost in the region of £1000. However, there could be far more serious consequences. As Tilotson tells us with a few crane tyre blowout stories, “one story involves cars written off after taking the full force of a crane tyre blowout. Luckily no one was injured, but if pedestrians were next to the crane, the outcome would have been more severe.”
The business development manager also told the story of a crane losing control after a blowout and colliding with a lamp post, bringing it down in the middle of the road and damaging cars. The insurance claim against the crane hire company ran into the hundreds of thousands.
Regarding TPMS, Tillotson comments, “by using a TPMS, crane hire companies reduce maintenance costs, risks to human life and insurance claims. As we’ve seen, the associated costs when a crane blowout occurs can be large. If a TPMS manages to prevent one blowout from happening, the system instantly pays for itself.”