We are a long way past the days where the best to hope for from a good agriculture tire was just not getting stuck in the mud.
Today's off-the-road (OTR) tire market is growing steadily — though maybe not in the farming sector this year — and tire manufacturers continue to up the ante in terms of tire performance.
Tires are getting smarter. While they aren't quite ready to win trivia night at your corner bar, they can do some things that will make the work more efficient.
From tires with longer tread life and reduced rolling resistance to better tire pressure monitoring systems, and tires designed to carry heavier loads and work as well off road as on, as the market grows, the options for consumers broadens.
New lines are being developed with performance characteristics some may have not even considered a possibility just a few decades ago. Very high flexion (VF) tires allow OTR equipment to run with reduced inflation pressure for better traction and more efficient traveling.
Industry experts expect on-board inflation systems — which allow users to adjust tire pressure from within the cab — will become more commonplace.
Alliance Tire Group was awarded the Agritechnica Innovation Award Silver Medal recently for its Alliance 398 MPT radial flotation agriculture tire. The tire, designed for use in the field, can also reach speeds of over 60 mph on the road.
A key to the Alliance 398 MPT is that it's suitable for the rear axles of vehicles that have central inflation systems for changing tire pressures from high to low for road and field use.
For an OTR tire to produce optimal results, precise tire pressure is of utmost importance.
Continental Tires the Americas has unveiled a line of three "intelligent" construction tires for use on dump trucks, cement mixers and utility, emergency and agricultural vehicles. Each line is pre-equipped with tire sensors for digital monitoring to identify punctures and air loss to avoid breakdowns.
With vehicles performing under heavy loads in a limited radius, the sensors, Conti said, ensure the tires are operating under proper air pressure and internal casing temperature.
In this case, the "smart" tire can help fleets reduce downtime, minimize costs associated with tire inspections, increase fuel efficiency, and, most importantly, improve safety.
Working smarter, not harder.
Many OTR tire manufacturers are designing lines that reduce a vehicle's impact on the environment, while continuing to help increase production. It seems like a Catch-22, but fortunately a lot of smart people are behind the "smart" tires.
There is a possibility for farmers to reduce their inventory because of such innovations. If the ag community needs less product, it doesn't necessarily mean its budget will shrink. More consumers may be looking to upgrade to new technology they once couldn't afford — or didn't exist.
In this changing landscape, efficiency is the name of the game. And a good OTR dealer knows how to keep a client coming back.
As the product get "smarter," so too must those selling them.