Goodyear's ``two-piece assembly'' off-the-road tire will be commercially available around mid-year, the company told dealers attending the 2003 Goodyear dealer conference in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 9-11.
The launch follows more than two years of field testing and years of internal research and development before that, according to Tom Walker, general manager of global off-the-road tires. The first size available will be 45R57 RC-1A for large mining trucks.
The two-piece tire consists of a steel-cord casing that is mated with a separate, removable band comprising the steel belt package and tread.
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 and cost, the two-piece concept makes it possible to switch treads when operating conditions change, the firm said.
Replacing the tread this way effectively doubles or even triples the life of the casing, Mr. Walker said. In addition, the tire's design allows for a flatter tread for improved traction and better sidewall protection, the company said.
The concept also offers transportation advantages, since the casing and tread can be shipped in two smaller pieces instead of one large tire, Goodyear said. Shipping logistics become critical as tire sizes evolve beyond 57-inch.