Goodyear is aiming to take a bigger chunk of the waste and construction truck tire markets with the launch of a sealant technology that repairs tread and crown-area punctures instantly in truck tires.
The sealant, called DuraSeal, cuts downtime and repairs and has been installed in two new Unisteel truck tires, the G287 MSA and G288 MSA, said Donn P. Kramer, commercial tire marketing director.
The new offerings are earmarked for vehicles used in the waste and construction industries, which includes the mining, coal hauling and logging segments, Mr. Kramer said, and covers about 18 percent of over-the-road tires registered. The company expects the products to sell at a 20- to 25-percent premium over conventional tires in this segment, a spokesman said.
DuraSeal technology, the first built-in sealant for commercial truck tires, uses a yellow, gel-like rubber compound that is designed to seal instantly tread punctures up to one-quarter inch in diameter, according to Beth Ann Barchalk, marketing team leader for commercial tires, and it can do it again and again without repairing the tire or re-applying the sealant. Once a nail punctures a tire, ``the gel-like substance gravitates to the nail and fills the puncture,'' she said.
Goodyear is the first company to offer a puncture-sealing truck tire, but the self-sealing concept has been offered in passenger tires since the mid-1980s. Michelin North America Inc., Continental Tire North America Inc. and Bridgestone/Firestone all offer self-sealing passenger and/or light truck tires-the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Nailguard, General Gen*Seal and Firestone FT70c with Sealix product ranges, respectively.
A Goodyear spokesman acknowledged that ``previous products offered liquid sealants that would move inside the tire to seal punctures. They were intended as temporary fixes and could often work loose and allow the nail or screw to fall out, allowing rapid air loss.
``Of course, with prompt tire inspections, tire technicians could promptly remove the foreign object and clean the messy sealant from the tire. With the sealant removed from inside the tire, it lost all sealing capabilities,'' he said.
The spokesman emphasized that DuraSeal is a layer built into the green tire and cured in the press.
Tires using DuraSeal last six times longer than conventional brands without a sealant before they are repaired, Ms. Barchalk claimed, adding that Goodyear is the only tire manufacturer to offer truck tires with a sealant built into the inner liner. The built-in sealant has no negative impact on tire temperature, high-speed performance, durability or rolling resistance, and it trims repair costs, downtime and tire replacement, she said.
The solvent-free and nonflammable technology also reduces the threat of tire chamber fires during the retreading process, the two officials said.
An additional advantage is that truck fleets can eliminate expensive and messy liquid-based aftermarket sealants, which have a tendency to dry out and become less effective, according to Mr. Kramer. He said those sealants also force companies to take their trucks out of service, which is costly.
The new tires replace the Unisteel 286, a multi-purpose tire used for tough applications, including logging, construction, mining and severe service.
The sealant, which weighs about five to seven pounds per tire, seals punctures at temperatures from minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees, Goodyear said, allowing truck drivers to continue operating after a puncture. The tire can remain in use until it is ready for retreading.
``We're surpassing the competition with two new specific designs for on- and off-road services,'' Mr. Kramer said in detailing the advantages of the firm's new tire offerings. ``Competitors normally use one design with two tread depths.''
He called the G286 an excellent tire, ``but it couldn't really be all things to all people. Our customers require tires that deliver long tread life and still handle the many traction challenges posed by their individual mixed-service applications.''
The G287, designed to be used on highways 80 percent of the time, features high-mileage tread compounds, an improved belt package and computer-generated tread design, Mr. Kramer said. It's highway friendly and helps cut tire cost-per-mile in specific applications, he added.
Its strengths include better mileage, improved handling and cornering, high-speed capabilities, a quiet ride and better wet traction, the marketing director said.
The G288 is aimed at ``customers who demand off-road traction and a slice of highway mileage and ride,'' Mr. Kramer said, pointing out that compared with the G286 it offers superior mileage, tearing and cutting resistance, and off-road and wet traction along with a quiet ride.
The tires, both manufactured at Goodyear's Danville, Va., plant, were unveiled at the firm's dealer meeting in Dallas in late January. They should be in dealerships in April, Ms. Barchalk said.
The G287 MSA will be offered in the following sizes: 10.00R20; 11.00R20; 11.00R22; 11R22.5; 12R22.5; 11R24.5; 12R24.5; and 315/80R22.5 (plus HSS version).
The G288 MSA will come in these sizes: 10.00R20; 11.00R20; 11.00R22; 11R22.5; 11R24.5; 12.00R24; 12R22.5; 12R24.5; 255/70R22.5; and 275/70R22.5.
A Goodyear spokesman said dealers and fleets will be able to buy the G287 and G288 with and without DuraSeal technology, noting some customers might not require the added protection offered by DuraSeal.
Goodyear may expand the use of the DuraSeal technology in the future to tires for charter buses, school buses and recreational vehicles, the two officials noted.
It's doubtful the technology will be used on passenger vehicles, Mr. Kramer indicated, because by the time it's ready, run-flats likely will be much more advanced.
Bruce Davis, Tire Business staff, contributed to this report.