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Advances in tyre technology boost performance

First publishedin World Highways
2016 November December
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Goodyear’s new ADT tyre
Goodyear's new ADT tyre meets demand for larger capacity
New tyre technology will increase productivity and cut downtime - Mike Woof writes

Key advances in tyre technology will offer extended life for customers, as well as substantial gains in productivity and durability. Meanwhile, some major developments are also being seen in the market, with a number of smaller players now accounting for a substantial portion of sales.

Important developments for tyre users include new strategies intended to improve tyre life and cut costs for consumers. One of the major suppliers, Goodyear, is highlighting the importance of its approach to off road tyre maintenance, to ensure the best tyre cost/hour ratio for operators. This approach applies to tyres from all suppliers and includes maintenance measures such as correct fitment and pressures as well as ensuring that loading is correct and hazards are removed from the terrain.

The cost of these tyres means that operators need to ensure maximum life and performance. As the tyres operate in tough and hazardous conditions, more extensive measures are essential to prevent damage than with most other tyres, according to Goodyear.

A prime issue is to select the right tyres for an application and balancing performance criteria such as protection against cuts and impact, traction, resistance to abrasion and resistance to heat. It is crucial to determine the right tyre pressure, which might differ for front and rear axles. Operators have to take into account the operational gross vehicle weight as well as the speed and distance of the operation.  As a result, the recommended tyre pressure for the same machine may vary at different sites due to differing conditions. Pressures need to be checked at least once a week in temperate weather and daily in hot conditions.

Both under- and over-inflation shortens tyre life. Rims must also be clean, undamaged and rust free, and valves properly located and protected from damage, water and dirt ingress. 
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Regular maintenance on road tyres
Regular maintenance is crucial to optimise working life for off road tyres
Care must be taken if mixing new and worn tyres on twin mountings, if the radii differ, while correct loading is of crucial importance. Electronic weighing devices play an important role in preventing overloading.

The condition of the site and working practices is also a factor as stones and debris are a cause of damage to tyres. Axle alignment, brake problems and oil leaks are other issues with regard to tyre life and correct machine maintenance plays an important role in extending tyre performance and life.

The tyre market is broadening out too. Major firms such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin and Yokohama have long held a dominant presence in the off-road tyre market but other companies are also now competing. Indian firm Balkrishna Industries, BKT, is now a key player and is aiming at a turnover of US$2 billion by 2020. However the company claims that this is a realistic target based on its strategic business approach and its investment in research and development.

Some of the major firms have also developed new products and one of the most significant is available from Goodyear, which has developed its TL-4A tyre in the 33.25R29 size, specifically for the Volvo’s A60H ADT. The two companies worked together to develop and produce tyres specifically for the 55tonne capacity ADT. This represents a major development as it removed a major hurdle to increased ADT payload capacity. Previously available tyres would have been unable to cope with the extra stresses imposed by the weight of a larger ADT.

Volvo CE was keen for Goodyear to build a tyre for this ADT following the high performance seen on the producer’s earlier TL-3A+ tyres. And following a logical path, the new TL-4A was developed from the existing TL-3A+. According to Goodyear, this new tyre offers good traction and ride comfort, while its non-directional tread offers a wide footprint and good surface contact and stability as well as effective self-cleaning. 
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puncture-proof airless tyre
Michelin has developed a new puncture-proof airless tyre for use on skid steer loaders working in demanding applications
nother major innovation in tyre development at the other end of the scale for off-highway machines is being offered by Michelin. The firm has developed a hard surface tyre for use on skid steer loaders that is puncture-free. This innovative radial tyre is not pneumatic and forms part of the Michelin’s Tweel Technologies line-up

The new Michelin X Tweel tyre is designed for customers with machines operating in particularly arduous conditions, such as in construction applications, transfer stations, waste handling and road building.

The novel 12N16.5 X TWEEL SSL Hard Surface tyre is said to deliver long life on hard concrete and asphalt surfaces and suits duties in very-high-use operations. In quarry and construction applications where there may be a risk of sharp flint or demolition jobs with scrap steel on the ground, this new tyre is said to be particularly suitable due to its elimination of the risk of punctures.

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