I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been told that “every big rig in America needs to be running my product.” As I dig into the facts I usually find there is a reason the world has not beat a path to the prospective client’s door. A few years ago I was following my standard procedure:
- Digging into the known facts about the product
- Talking to every reference and testimonial the client gave me
- Discussing with my Auburn University resources about the technology
- Having the client test his product at the University’s test track
For the first time in many years I concluded the prospective client was right. Every over-the-road truck and tractor trailer should have this product in use today.
Let me take you way back in time when I was marketing turbochargers. The turbo only works and lives on the engine if the compressor wheel and turbine wheel and shaft are perfectly balanced. Balanced was good. Later in my career I am selling and servicing fan clutches, the same thing; rotating mass must be balanced. Over the years I have learned a thing or two about rotating mass and its need to be balanced.
Now back to just a few years ago, my client’s product is an internal wheel end balancing product. I said, “You don’t need me to help you, balancing is good, it is a no brainer, every wheel end should have your product installed to create a zero out-of-balance” condition on the wheel end. It turns out that was not the case. Apparently, due to the nature of early tire and wheel designs, the assembly could not be balanced. The trucking industry was happy just to keep air in tires, let alone balance anything. Balance, are you crazy? But that was then; today’s quality wheels and tires can be balanced with this product. The problem is, for many the current thinking goes like this:
“We never recommended balancing because it was impossible; why would we now recommend balancing the best wheel end assemblies we have ever produced?” I recommend balancing wheel end assemblies for the following reasons:
- Less vibration (vibration kills) which is good for the tire, the vehicle and the driver
- Longer tire life; again, vibration is not a good thing on the wheel end assembly or our highways and bridges—here is an example of what I mean: http://bobrutherford.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=456
- Better fuel economy; it has been proven and is a scientific fact that it takes energy to wear a tire out prematurely
So here I am an industry consultant who understands balance. I have studied and researched tires and this product for four years. What I am telling you here goes against what many in the tire industry are telling you. Here is the truth, and the problem, as I see:
I was in a TMC (Technology & Maintenance Council) meeting discussing wheel end balancing with some leading tire professionals. During the conversation a tire company representative said, and I paraphrase, the truth be told, our tire doesn’t need balancing, but we would love to have it mounted on a perfectly balanced wheel end assembly like your clients product produces. Why don’t you just say that and we can all be happy; and at the same time do a great service for the trucking industry was my response. Then the tire representative tells me, we are not going to do your job; and with a wry smile and jokingly tone added it’s too bad the product extends tire life.