The waste management business is tough on tires. Off-the-road (OTR) pneumatic tires are prone to puncture in this extreme environment where big wheel loaders move everything from scrap metal to construction debris to household waste, and often do so around the clock.
Customers in this industry have traditionally been faced with three choices – pneumatic tires prone to puncture and damage from impacts; solid tires, which eliminate punctures but at the cost of driver comfort; or polyurethane, sometimes called foam-filled, pneumatics. These filled tires represent a compromise because they are puncture-proof and more comfortable than a solid tire, but are not damage-resistant and don’t have the same tire life as a solid tire.
Over the past 10 years, Trelleborg’s Brawler range of solid OTR tires has become increasingly popular in the waste and recycling world. Puncture-proof and with up to three times the wearable tread compared with a pneumatic tire, Brawlers have delivered significant
But over this period, customer feedback has consistently highlighted one issue – driver comfort. Brawler’s solid construction and cut-proof mining compound deliver great longevity but at the same time come with a hard ride due to the increased exposure to vibrations from a solid tire. Many of these customers consequently were still using filled pneumatic tires despite all the drawbacks – financial, operational and environmental – and were asking what Trelleborg could do to help.
Throughout 2014 Trelleborg spoke with several customers in the waste management industry to better understand this issue, says Ditri Zweistra, Segment Manager for mining and waste management at Trelleborg Wheel Systems.
“The challenge for us was to find a solution with all the advantages of a solid tire but without the hard ride and resulting driver discomfort from the standard solid tires,” Zweistra explains. “And so we went to work looking at how to develop for the waste management industry a Brawler solid tire that performed to the same comfort level as a filled pneumatic.”
The answer, introduced in May 2017 after two years of extensive research and testing, is the Brawler HPS Soft Ride Tire. It combines Brawler’s ultra-cut-resistant tread compound with a newly developed interior cushion compound that allows much better damping capability and which reduces the exposure to vibration to the same level as a filled pneumatic tire.
Trelleborg ran a two-year beta test for its new tire, working with customers across the waste and recycling industry in both Europe and the United States. The results have exceeded expectations, with machine operators pleased with their softer-riding tires and customers enjoying operating cost reductions of 25 to 35 percent resulting from enhanced tire life and greater machine uptime.
“Our customer focus and applications expertise have been key to this project,” Zweistra says. “We have created the perfect solution for waste management and made some operators very happy.”