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Wednesday, January 26, 2022
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Feature: The best of both worlds

Goodyear is focussing on mixed service haulers with its Omnitrac range

Goodyear Middle East invited local media to the global launch to its new Omnitrac range earlier this year, a line that it sees as the perfect choice for vehicles operating in mixed service applications. Offered in both Steer (Omnitrac S) and Drive (Omnitrac D) variants, the tyres are intended for fleets that are largely on the road but need a tyre that can cope with the rough and tumble, stones and gravel, of being off-road.

“The target audience for the Omnitrac is vehicle operators operating in mixed service conditions. Mixed service conditions means vehicles going on the road and then also off road – the two sides where they operate,” explains David Anckaert, VP Commercial Tyres Europe Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Europe, Middle East & Africa.

Anckaert places construction first and foremost as the potential application for the tyres but says they are also suitable for waste management, recycling management, “or also the transport of wood or transport of agricultural goods; going into the forest, on the fields. That’s where we need to operate as well as on the roads.”

Omnitrac, he continues, is Goodyear’s answer to the changing needs of fleets, with vehicles expected to spend more time on the road and travel longer distances before moving on-site and off-road. He adds that vehicles have better access to sites than they’ve had before, broadening their scope of operations.

“If you think about the access ramps, the access roads to sites like construction sites, the quality of those ramps, the quality of those roads, has improved over time,” he says before adding that there has also been an evolution in the regulatory conditions for fleets in some markets. “We’ve seen, for instance, the requirement in some countries, to be compliant with winter regulations, Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake 3PMSF’ compliance which really talks to the winter performance of the tires.”

Straddling the two worlds of off- and on-highway driving, Goodyear spent time and effort examining both the severity of operating conditions in off-road conditions and the ways to improve the mileage and fuel economy of its tyres before they need to be re-tread.

“We really were looking to find the necessary grip to operate on soft soil, to operate on gravel for instance, but also the necessary damage resistance. Imagine a lot of stones and other foreign materials, rocks, that the tyres need to resist. Once you get off the site, you get on the road and you want to make sure that the vehicle operator gets the most out of the tyres in terms of on-road performance,” he explains.

“A fleet is focused on total cost of ownership. Mileage and fuel economy contribute there but the retreadability of the product is also extremely important to get the most out of that casing.”

Benjamin Willot director of marketing commercial tyres Europe Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Europe, Middle East & Africa, uses the example of a ready-mix operation to explain the types of fleet Goodyear is targeting with Omnitrac.

“A modern concrete mixing plant will typically be located in urban development areas and will produce on a daily basis up to 3000 cubic meters of concrete which represents up to 300 truck loads in and out each day,” relays Willot. “If you manage this type of operation you need to run it rather smoothly and you expect several key characteristics from tyres; the robustness, the reliability and also the efficiency in operations.”

The range which launches this month features six OMNITRAC S steer tyres and four OMNITRAC D drive tyres including the new 315/70R22.5 size for standard tractors working in mixed use applications as well as recycling.

“This size is due to the evolution of the construction industry but also the growth of the recycling industry, where we see operators needing more and more multi-purpose applications,” continues Williot before touching on the commercial concerns of modern fleets wherever they are based.

“Peace of mind is so crucial. We are so confident about this range that we have decided to provide the fleet operators with a guarantee. This guarantees two-fold. The tyres will be covered by your tyre damage or accidental guarantee. We also guarantee 100% casing acceptance for the retreadability where the customer-owned casing model is available (under the Omnitrac guarantee).”

Providing extra protection to the tyre is DuraShield, a technology Goodyear claims is unique to the company. Laurent Colantonio Director Tire Technology Commercial EMEA Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Europe, Middle East & Africa, believes it brings protection against casing damage to a new level

“What is truly unique about the DuraShield technology is that the top protective belt is made of the non-metallic material. Together with a very specific and unique core construction, the material goes through a very specific process that gives it the stiffness and adhesion that we need to make it suitable for mixed-service truck applications,” says Colantonio. “It’s easy to imagine that the mixed service tyre operating in tough conditions has a very difficult life. It can be cut and damaged by external or sharp objects like sharp stones or gravel that will damage the tread.

“Ultimately, those events can lead to the ingress of water into the tyre structure and when water meets steel it creates corrosion and rust; limiting the life of the tyre and reducing its retreadability potential. Here with the DuraShield technology, which is non-metallic, the rust phenomenon does not exist which therefore brings all the benefits we talked about. That’s really cool.”

In addition to DuraShield, Goodyear is using a specific cool running tread compound on both Omnitrac steer and drive tyres that limits the heat generation within the structure of the tyre walls itself. This protects the casing against excessive heat and improves its durability, explains Colantonio.

“On top of that, we have put in an extra thick protective belt that has excellent properties which are extremely difficult to tear and the thickness prevents events like stone drilling from happening.”

Due to their different role on a truck tractor the S and Ds are designed differently. The Omnitrac S tyres have ribs inside that are specifically designed to provide a very uniform ground pressure of the tyre when it runs, “which increases the mileage potential of the tyre, specifically on-road applications. As well, it provides excellent traction to the tire, specifically when it is used on trucks with hydraulic traction systems that are providing torque on the steer axle,” says Colantonio.

“Stones can be a particular problem if they get stuck in the grooves. We have designed quick release groove geometries. The slope of those grooves is designed in such a way gravel gets released very easily and therefore are not creating additional damage to the tyre structure.”

In the OMNITRAC D tread design, the sipes double the number of biting edges and consequently ensure high traction and even wear on all surfaces including during retarder operation. A solid centre rib meanwhile provides a high level of damage resistance and improved even wear in abrasive road conditions, high mileage potential and enhanced casing durability.

“On the drive axle most of the torque is transmitted at the centre, so making it very robust and stiff reduces the wear of the product and gives super mileage potential,” says Colantonio. “In the design, you will also find a stone protector that are protecting the casing from the damaged from the stones and on top of them we have extremely wide grooves at the shoulder that are excellent to drain out the mud from the design and therefore providing excellent traction throughout the entire tyre life.”

Getting into the re-groove

According to Goodyear, all OMNITRAC tires are both re-groovable and re-treadable and have been developed according to the Multiple Life Concept approach – allowing fleets to make the best use of their tire assets and substantially reduce their costs per kilometre.

“It really means what it says. It means that customers can benefit from a tyre that has more than one life. By that way, they make the best usage of their tyres assets and therefore reduce drastically their cost per kilometre,” remarks Colantonio.

“We have tested these tyres with our customers throughout the entire geography where we will sell them. Those tyres have been exposed to 90 million kilometres overall. This is a huge number and to give you some measure of what it means. This is corresponding to going back and forth to the moon more than 100 times,” he explains. “But what is more important than the pure mileage is actually the performance for the full lifetime of this tyre, including the casings and re-treadability. Our internal tests have demonstrated that when it comes to both mileage and re-treadability we have improved the performance by a factor which is in the double digits.”

To ensure the tyres are future-proofed, RFID tags are a;sp installed to enable identification and also connectivity to present and future truck tyre and vehicle management systems.

“The 22.5in tyres of the line will come to the market with RFID. There is one exception today, the 24 inch which is for primary usage in the emerging market as this is not with RFID but it will come as soon as possible.”

 

 

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Stephen Whitehttps://truckandfleetme.com/
Stephen White was formerly editor of Big Project ME.
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