Plug in info, snap photo, app decides tire pressure

DECATUR, Ill. — Michelin has developed an app to help farmers get their tire inflation right.

There’s more to tire inflation than going to four corners of a machine with a tire gauge and hose in hand, especially when trying to reduce soil compaction.

Producers must first consider whether their tires are designed to run at lower pressures.

The question is even more complicated for tractors with a three-point hitch or pulling a trailer than for an articulated four-wheel drive because of odd tool and drawbar loading.

That’s what Michelin’s app is for.

The tire gauge might tell farmers what their pressure is and whether they are balanced left and right.

Beyond that, what does the book say? Often it only speaks to basic tire options, and generally not the ones with which the tractor was shipped.

Farmers who use Michelin’s app will still need the owner’s manual to get a few facts about their tractor and implement, such as axle loading front and back, required weight and the models and sizes of the Michelin tires being used.

The app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, is then used to photograph the tractor in profile. The software uses the image to decide how much weight is being distributed to each axle, and the length of the overhang is electronically measured from the axles.

From this, it determines the ideal pressure in each tire based on a projected speed of operation.

The app retains the tractor information, so the producer doesn’t need to re-enter the data with each implement if there are multiple tools, such as a three-point ripper, a manure tank and a grain cart.

Producers with larger tractors will still need to turn to the book.

The app is free and available on Google and Apple online stores.

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