- What specific performance claims does the product manufacturer make? If more than one claim is made, says TMC, how likely is it that the product will be equally effective as a sealant, ride improvement, coolant, etc.
- Is the product chemically compatible with the tire, wheel, paint, surface coatings, valve hardware and other tire/wheel components that it will contact in normal use?
- How does the product change with time and use?
- Is the material restricted to any specific vocations or service conditions?
- How does the product impact tire mounting/demounting, casing inspection procedures, repairing, retreading and other routine tire/wheel service?
- Is the product compatible with other materials being used in the tire/wheel mounting and maintenance process?
- Are there considerations for removal and disposal of the product?
- How long has the material been used in the industry, and can the prospective vendor furnish user references?
- Is a material safety data sheet (MSDS) supplied with the product?
- Are there any toxic material issues to consider when disposing of the product?
- Are reputable test lab results available that document product performance?
- Will the product have any effect on warranty consideration for tire, wheel or other related components?
- - Is the material compatible with tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensors the fleet is using?
The Recommended Engineering Practice RP 246, Considerations for Products Intended for Use Inside Tires, will be officially published this spring with publication of TMC’s 2011 Recommended Practice Manual Supplement.
While companies are continuing development of products for uses inside truck tires, truck tire manufacturers are continuing with their innovation and advances in tire technology. Here is what some of tire manufacturers are doing.
Yokohama Tire Corporation’s latest tire technology is the Zenvironment philosophy, says Rick Phillips, director of commercial sales. It focuses on four components: casing design, rubber compound, tread design and manufacturing process.
“Casing design is the foundation all our products start with,” he says. “We utilize a technology called finite element analysis (FEA), where we divide the tire into several thousand tiny individual sections or elements. Each element is analyzed under simulated operating conditions.”
This allows Yokohama engineers to accurately predict physical changes the tire will undergo during its lifetime. By doing so, the company can “reduce the strain to the casing from normal stress or applied force, says Phillips. The result is cooler operating temperatures and greater casing life and retreadability.
“We have developed a one-step mixing process that eliminates most of the heat generation and stress of a typical four-step mixing process. The result is a more consistent compound that has better performance properties such as traction and fuel efficiency.”
The tread design contains elements relative to the application, says Phillips. The various combinations of different tread elements, such as sipes, stress control ribs and even actual tread depth and width, all contribute to make a product that’s better suited for its intended application. These tread features are all established in the FEA stage.
Once all the material components are decided, the tire is then manufactured. All Zenvironment tires are manufactured to a very specific and high standard, in a process that is completely environmentally-friendly.
“The Zenvironment philosophy has resulted in the most technologically-advanced products we have ever produced,” Phillips notes.
Michelin has long been an innovator in the tire industry, and specifically in the trucking industry, with the introduction of dual tires, radial tires and new generation wide single truck tires, says Don Baldwin, product manager, Michelin Americas Truck Tires. Michelin Americas Truck tires has made steady improvements across all performance parameters including, tread wear, traction, rolling resistance and retreadability.
“This continuous progress has been punctuated through new product introductions in all segments and the introduction of some key technologies that continue to form the basis for new technologies and breakthroughs,” he says. Four pivotal technologies are: Matrix Siping Technology, Regenerating Tread, Advanced Technology compounding and Infini-Coil Technology.
- Matrix Siping Technology is a three-dimensional technology and makes the tread block more rigid, reducing tread wear, yet delivering needed traction through biting lateral edges, explains Baldwin. By locking together to resist horizontal and vertical stresses, the Matrix sipes offer longer life than traditional siped tread patterns.
“This tread design feature also delivers improved grip on snow, ice and wet surfaces, and allows for increased density of the sipes without compromising tread block rigidity, stability and wear.”
- Regenerating Tread is a tread design that “allows new features to be revealed as the tread wears, thereby providing additional traction later in life and extending the working life of the tire’s original tread,” he says.
- Michelin’s X One wide single tire is made possible by Infini-Coil Technology - more than a quarter-of-a-mile of steel cord wrapped circumferentially around the crown of each tire. This technology reduces casing growth and stabilizes the contact patch, reducing irregular wear.
Michelin SmartWay verified retreads contribute to fuel savings and emissions reductions
For regional, super regional applications
Tire combines fuel efficiency with long tread life and outstanding traction for heavy duty applications.