TRELLEBORG, Sweden — Trelleborg Wheel Systems intends to bring the PneuTrac hybrid agricultural tire/track design to market, targeted initially at agricultural sectors that struggle with root protection and steep terrain.
PneuTrac — a design concept that Trelleborg's Mitas A.S. subsidiary has been developing for the past four years — combines the performance advantages of radial agricultural tires and rubber tracks, Trelleborg said.
The Trelleborg A.B. business unit will debut PneuTrac at the Agritechnica 2017 trade show running Nov. 12-18 in Hannover, Germany.
PneuTrac combines desired performance features of Trelleborg agricultural tires with an innovative, "accordion-like" sidewall that uses CupWheel technology developed originally by Galileo Wheel Ltd., an Israeli technology company that had been working on the design for several years prior to finding Mitas as a development partner.
The "Omega" design of the sidewall helps the carcass sustain load while simultaneously providing flexibility and an extra-wide footprint, resulting in reduced soil compaction vs. traditional pneumatic tires.
"PneuTrac delivers unbeatable performance on both steep slopes and muddy terrain, reducing downtime to zero in demanding conditions," said Lorenzo Ciferri, vice president, marketing and communications. "PneuTrac combines the advantages of a radial agricultural tire in terms of fuel efficiency, comfort and handling, with the footprint and traction benefits of a track."
This new design allows the tread to work at 100 percent of its potential efficiency, Trelleborg claims. The design's "progressive traction" tread technology enhances traction while the inter-lug terraces improve the self-cleaning capability of the tire. The wide lug bases combine with a robust shoulder feature to increase lateral stability, especially on slopes.
Vineyards often incorporate steep terrain and along with orchards, typically have narrow row operations with small spaces between vines or trees. Tracked applications often can be too wide to pass between rows with a comfortable margin for error.
"When designing the PneuTrac we focused on the specialist requirements of key producers. For example, the roots of vines are incredibly precious and susceptible to damage," Mr. Ciferri said. "As with conventional agriculture, the top soil needs to be protected and machine slippage could easily be a disaster for both the soil and roots."
Trelleborg did not disclose pricing information or size availability for the PneuTrac, nor whether or how soon it might be available in North America.
Mitas said it 2015 — prior to its being acquired by Trelleborg — that it expected the PneuTrac design to be on the market by year-end 2017.