LAS VEGAS (Nov. 8, 2000)—Goodyear is preparing to give new meaning to the term "tread separation."
The tire maker is testing a two-piece concept for off-the-road tires, which consists of a steel-cord casing that is mated with a separate, removable band comprising the steel belt package and tread.
Goodyear exhibited the new tire concept at MINExpo 2000, held in Las Vegas in October, calling it an industry first.
The belt/tread unit can be fitted easily to the casing in the field using conventional tire-handling equipment, the company said. The connection between the two pieces is entirely mechanical; air pressure locks them together. No special bonding agents or hardware are used.
Removal and replacement of the tread/belt assembly takes less than half the time required for conventional tire-changing, Goodyear said. The casing is partially deflated, the old tread slipped off and a new tread positioned on the casing, which is then reinflated.
Besides saving time, the two-piece concept makes it possible to quickly switch treads when operating conditions change, the company said: a switch to a cooler-running tread, for example, for higher-speed, on-road use, or to one with greater resistance to rock cuts for more severe applications.
Goodyear is continuing to refine the two-piece concept in testing at its proving grounds in San Angelo, Texas, and has conducted initial field testing with size 33.00R51 on haul trucks.
"Treadwear is meeting our expectations, and we are continuing field testing at a neutral site to establish long-term capabilities of the concept," said Rob Andrew, global marketing manager for OTR tires.
"After additional, long-term field testing, we will make plans to introduce the product to the commercial market," Mr. Andrew said.
The two-piece tires use the existing tire size system and will be completely compatible with all vehicles, Goodyear said.
A spokesman could not say when the company expects the two-piece tires to be commercially available.