Modern Tire Dealer

DEC 2018

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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F a r m T i r e s M T D D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 8 64 slippage, which occurs when the tires are turning faster than the ground speed of the tractor, helps save fuel. Lowering inflation pressure enlarges the tire's footprint, which increases traction and fuel economy and lessens compaction. "Slip is wasted horsepower," says Degen- hardt. "e less slip percentage you have, the less wasted fuel and the less wear and tear on the tractor. With less slip percentage you are going to burn less fuel per hour, there's going to be less wear and tear on the machine." Degenhardt tells his customers they can't do anything about rain and sunshine, but they can minimize their input costs by using properly inflated tires. "e way I look at it, they are going to save money on fuel and potentially save money on repairs. ey can minimize input costs with more efficiency, so they cover more acres per hour and use less fuel per hour." James Crouch is national product manager-agriculture for Alliance Tire Americas. He says farmers are starting to see the advantages of IF and VF tires. "e opportunity to choose between benefits — carrying more load at the same infla- tion pressure or carrying the same load at a lower inflation pressure — is really powerful. As farmers get more engaged in improving the efficiency of every aspect of their operations, they are including tire choice and inflation pressure along with their decisions on other inputs, from seed to fertilizer to chemicals, that affect crop yields and profitability." Crouch notes that there are substantially more options for IF/VF tires than ever before. "Just from the Alliance perspective, we have more than tripled our IF/VF offer this year alone. All the major manufacturers seem to have clearly aligned their future product plans to bring low-pressure solu- tions to as many areas as possible." e implement market has transitioned from the demand being super-low-cost commodity bias tires to IF/VF radials seemingly overnight, according to Crouch. "For years, there has been a demand for something better than a cheap bias because of the incredible loads imposed on imple- ments now, as well as the amount of roading they do. When a large planter or tillage tool is folded up into the transportation configuration, the load placed on the pri- mary tires is incredible. A bias tire simply is not built to withstand it. We believe that the trend to IF/VF implement tires is going to dramatically increase over the next few years as more brands offer these solutions to the market." NEW PRODUCTS PLANNED Modern Tire Dealer asked manufacturers for an update on products designed to help reduce soil compaction. Along with Crouch from Alliance, Haney from Apollo Vredestein, Graden from Michelin and Sloan from Titan, five other tire makers responded. ey are: Dave Paulk, manager- field technical services for Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT); Brad Harris, manager of global agricultural field engineering for the Firestone Ag unit of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC; James Enyart, manager of technical services for CEAT Specialty Tires (Cavi Elettrici e Affini Torino Ltd. (CEAT) is part of the RPG Group); Rick Harris, regional manager-U.S. for Global Rubber Industries Pvt. Ltd. (GRI); and Norberto Herbener, OEM technical manager for Trelleborg Wheel Systems Americas Inc. Not all respondents have IF/VF tires on the market yet. Enyart says CEAT has plans for IF and VF production to reach the market late in 2019. Harris says GRI will have the capacity to produce IF/ VF tires at its Sri Lanka plant by early 2019. Continental Corp. is ramping up development and production of VF tires in Lousado, Portugal, with an anticipated launch at the end of 2019. "e share of high-flexion tires has increased over the last few years and trends show a larger growth in the upcoming years," says Andreas Emde from the product development and product industrialization for agriculture tires group at Continental Commercial Specialty Tires. "More and more machines have been equipped with high-flexion tires by original equipment manufacturers and now these tires need to be exchanged. For our market launch, we will focus on the main tractor sizes as well as on harvester steering tires." DEMAND FOR IMPLEMENT TIRES MTD asked manufacturers if demand for IF/VF tires was increasing in any sizes, applications or implements and if so, why? eir responses follow. Alliance: IF and VF tires have had a long, steady increase in the tractor and combine segment—big, high-visibility tires on machinery where it's easy to see the benefit of greater load-carrying capacity and lower inflation rates. Alliance has introduced tires in those categories, all the way up to a massive IF 1250/50R32 CFO combine tire. Over the past few years, we've also added an emphasis on IF and VF row crop tires for self-propelled sprayers. at's another application where the added load capacity and a longer, flatter footprint really make a huge difference. What's really exciting now is our expan- sion into implement sizes. Air seeders, planters, carts, and even tillage equipment can be extremely heavy, which causes soil compaction. Until recently, farmers could Alliance says the Agriflex 372 IF 1250/50R32 CFO for harvesters, grain carts, and other heavy machinery, which is nearly 7 feet tall with load capacity of up to 22,480 pounds at 46 psi, reduces soil compaction at harvest. PHOTO: ALLIANCE The Agrimax V-Flecto from BKT is designed to resist wear even at low operating pressure and features reduced soil compaction, lower operating costs and increased load capacity. PHOTO: BKT

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