26 Jun, 2010 10:26 AM
TRACTOR drivers may be familiar with the trend towards higher road speeds, but the latest tyre technology continues to take the industry to the next level.In the eyes of Sydney-based Tyres4U national manager, Robert Kovacs, tractor tyres are “very technical pieces of equipment,” allowing modern-day farm workhorses “to do what they need to do”.

With a wealth of experience under his belt he makes the point that tyres remain one of the most important features on any tractor, requiring attention to detail when optimising the in-paddock performance of any tractor/implement combination.

“Not only do you have to bear in mind ground compaction but also wheel-slip and driver comfort – to name but a few issues,” Mr Kovacs said, adding that not every tyre suits every application.

“While a big 500hp 4WD tractor would be equipped with specialist broadacre tyres they would be entirely unsuitable for more arduous land-planing work being better off with forestry-style tyres,” he said.

It was all about minimising farm input costs by getting the most of the tyres fitted to, perhaps, a medium horsepower 190kilowatt (250 horsepower) tractor which can each cost in the order of $2500.

In Australia the trend towards lifting tyre performance is often associated with the North Queensland cane harvesting industry.

The need is for tyres to perform at slow speeds in paddocks before being asked to travel at higher speeds on roads when delivering to cane trains.

With British tractor maker JCB scheduling the release of a 100 kilometre an hour capability Fastrac tractor, it is tyre suppliers like Tyres4U which must keep abreast of the constantly changing tyre design goal posts.

Mr Kovacs said advances being made by Firestone’s IF tyre range would lift load carrying capacity by up to 20 per cent but with no change in air pressure.

The move was logical since increasing air pressures to carry heavier loads usually delivered more ground compaction and an associated harsher ride.

But cleverly redesigning the carcase walls on these new tyres had allowed Firestone’s designers to deliver higher load-bearing tyres at traditional air pressures, thereby not increasing ground compaction levels.

“The tyre industry is becoming increasingly technical,” Mr Kovacs said.

Source: http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/machinery-and-equipment/general/tyres-key-to-efficiency/1868724.aspx?src=enews

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