Big Dividends for Off Road
Careful attention to tire and rim maintenance and retreading often pays off.
by Bob Joyce and Wilhelm H. Brau
Let’s face it, as specialized and site specific as the aggregate industry is, little attention is paid to tires until they fail.
Jack Dutcher, national manager, education and training for Bridgestone Americas Off Road Tires, describes off-the-road (OTR) tires as a production asset, adding, “With proper selection and regular maintenance, tires can play an important role in minimizing costs while maximizing production.” In today’s business environment, it’s important to go one step further. Industry corporations are changing corporate cultures and accepting environmental responsibilities to conserve resources. C2G no longer stands for cradle-to-grave, but cradle-to-green. Proper tire selection now includes selecting tires with rugged casings that outlive the tire tread in order to be retreaded.
An operator’s first critical decision is to select the proper OTR tire. Just a few of the determining factors include selection of radial or bias; heat resistant or cut resistant; L-4 or L-5; smooth tread, half tread, or rock tread; job site conditions; material densities; and type of equipment.
Aligning an operation with a dedicated OTR tire manufacturer and service dealer can make the process less painful. Bridgestone America’s Russ King has a theory called the “Three-legged stool.” The client (end-user), servicing dealer, and the tire manufacturer make up the three-legged stool. “It takes the resources, and commitment and partnering of all three to maximize production and minimize costs,” Russ says.
For example, major brand OTR tires have a ton-mile-per-hour (TMPH) rating. The TMPH is an expression of the working capacity of the tire and is also a function of the maximum allowed internal operating temperature of a tire. It’s no secret; heat is a tire’s worst enemy. In simplistic terms, the TMPH rating is a heat index.
Using the resources of field engineers and product managers, an OTR tire manufacturer can perform an on-site TMPH study. Several factors – including load, speed, distance, number of cycles, and type of equipment – are part of the formula to determine the operational TMPH at a given job site. Once the job site TMPH is determined, the correct tire can be recommended for maximum performance. If the tire’s TMPH rating is lower than the operational job site TMPH, the tire is not suitable for this application. Under these circumstances, a change in compound, construction, or tread pattern should be considered. However, if the tire has a higher TMPH rating than the job site TMPH, the tire is suitable for this application.
Job site conditions also can be changed or modified to adjust the operational TMPH. Speeds and loads can be reduced, but field experience indicates that this is unlikely. In fact, chances are better that both loads and speeds will increase.
Today’s technology unlocks potential; as a result, a TMPH study can be done very efficiently and quickly without disrupting production or other normal job site activities. A job-site TMPH study is essentially end-user due-diligence and provides information that helps operators make informed business decisions.
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