Choosing the Right Tires for Your Fleet is Critical

By Johni Francis, global OTR product manager, Titan International

There has been a great deal of tire innovations in the last decade—in tread styles, in compounding, and in tire construction—however, many of these innovations were created with a specific intended use in mind. It’s important for a fleet manager to understand what technologies are available and how to best implement them.

Tread styles

One of the latest innovations is the design of tread siping, a feature that helps with heat dissipation and more even wear across the tread base. When siping first became popular, most sipes were deep and large designs. Today, designs have evolved into smaller, narrow strips, which based on tread design, may take the form of a zig zag or straight line pattern.

Tread compounds

Meeting the need to adapt to a jobsite’s unique environment, if necessary, tire manufacturers will work with contractors to develop custom tread compounds. The three most common tread compounds, cut-, wear-, and heat-resistant, each provide a different characteristic to acclimate to the job.

Radial or bias

Over the last several decades, tires have seen a predominant shift to radial due to the increase in size, power, weight, and speed of equipment. While radial technology outperforms bias in many instances (justifying the increased cost), bias tires, when used in the proper application, can provide significant cost savings and performance benefits over radial—proving the latest isn’t always the greatest.

Alternative sizes

Some manufacturers are even exploring entirely different sizing combinations between tire and rim. For instance, LST (low sidewall technology) is a concept inspired by the automotive market. This technology’s larger rim diameter and shorter sidewall allows for less sidewall flex, which eases stability concerns and improves breakout force. LSW has already proven successful in the high-horsepower agricultural market. Since 2011, the concept has also seen success in the mining industry with a 63-inch tire on a Caterpillar 994K. LSW is currently being tested in smaller construction equipment applications.

Don’t forget the wheel

One of the latest advancements in wheels is quick-change technology, also known as ACT (accelerated change technology) or QCR (quick change rims). Consisting of a two-piece lock ring, the quick-change technologies release the inner tire assembly from the wheel while the outer wheels stays mounted to the truck, eliminating the need to torque and re-torque. On a complete tire change-out or whole-truck rotation, this technology can reduce associated downtime by up to 50 percent.

Consult with a tire expert to ensure you’re getting the most out of the technology you invest in.

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