Getting the Most From Your Tires
By Morley Young
easy to take tires for granted; that is, until a problem arises. Then itís a
hassle Ė and costly. Tires can be expensive, but itís the downtime that really
adds up. Below are a few tips and suggestions to help make your tire life
Watch for Rocks: Here in the Northwest
we have an abundance of sharp basalt rocks. There isnít a lot you can do about
rocks other than hire good, careful operators who inspect their tires regularly.
A quick scan at the end of the day, and a more thorough going-over once a week,
are two good money-saving practices.
Check Tire Pressure: Since our logging
equipment spends a great amount of time on steep hillsides, tires on one side of
the equipment can get more wear and tear than on the other. The increased
pressure means increased heat, which is the enemy of any tire, regardless of
Excess Heat: While equipment tires donít
get nearly as hot as truck tires, they also havenít been treated to withstand
the high temperatures generated by highway use, so itís a good idea to watch the
Test Pressure and Look for Leaks:
Operators should check the air pressure regularly, and take note of any slow
leaks. At the same time, itís easy to do a thorough visual inspection of the
treads and sidewalls for cuts, chunking and other damage. Damaged rims can spell
trouble, too. Itís worth your while to get all of these repaired as soon as
Cost Awareness: Letting your operators
know how much the tires on their rigs cost can in some cases make them a bit
more conscientious. This could add up to savings in the end.
New Products: Todayís tires may be easy
on the ground, but the ground isnít always easy on the tires. Accordingly, every
year sees new developments in tires for logging equipment. Here are a few:
ē The Beast, the super severe steel logger LS-2
from Galaxy. It is constructed with steel cable from shoulder to shoulder for
increased puncture resistance. Galaxy claims that the buttressed shoulders
provide greater sidewall and shoulder protection, while the buttressed sidewall
gives the tire 21 percent more pulling power in deep mud.
ē The Log Stomper fX from Primex. This tire
features a 23- degree bar angle, an increased bar width and special shoulder
buttresses for longer wear and better stability. According to Primex, their
tires incorporate SteelFlex technology that combines the best features of Aramid
fibre and steel for full protection in the tread and sidewalls. Primex tires
feature premium tread depths designed to outperform the competition, with a
variety of footprints and bar angles suitable for any terrain. For 2003 they
have added a new 73x50.00Ė32 size to their inventory.
ē Firestone/Bridgestone. The company has come
out with two developments ó their cut-resistant compound (CRC) and their
tubeless tires. They claim that eliminating the tube reduces heat buildup
because of less friction between the two elements. When you consider all the
flexing that goes on when a tireís working, that makes sense. Theyíre not about
to tell us what goes into their cut-resistant compound, only that they like it,
and it works.
ē Goodyear. This tire has been developed
exclusively for large haulage trucks in open-pit mining and quarry work.
Goodyear is actively expanding the range of application and itís worth noting.
The company has introduced what they call a Two Piece Assembly. They say that
itís not a tire, but itís made of rubber, and it goes on wheels. The casing of
the tire has a tread very similar to the front tire of a farm tractor, with
wide, deep parallel grooves. On top of this casing, held on by its matching
grooves and the pressure of the inflated tire, is a wide, cut-resistant tread.
The tread is virtually armor-plated.
ē Les Schwab. New from the Les Schwab is the
full line of Nokian forestry tires, which they claim combine is the best of
traction and flotation for logging. The tires were designed for use on both
skidders and forwarders. In addition to Nokian, Les Schwab says that the Toyo
M320 is now available in two new sizes for applications needing a cut and chop
resistant compound steel axle tire. The two sizes ó 12R22.5/16 and 315/80R225/20
ó provide additional carrying capacity in comparison to standard sizes.
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