Truck tire feature

What’s new in tires

Feb. 23, 2018
OEMs focus on fuel economy, intelligence, and longevity

Last year proved to be a busy one for tire makers as they redoubled development efforts to bring a wide range of improvements to commercial truck and trailer users, i.e., adding sensors, installing tire cases,   crafting new tread compounds, and increasing  fuel economy and longevity. But that’s not all. Tire manufacturers are also focused on creating what could be dubbed a “one size fits all” type of truck tire capable of handling different application needs as fleets chase business across a variety of markets.

In an interview last year, Dustin Lancy, marketing manager for the commercial tire division of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., described them as “hybrid” tires—models capable of operating in both long-haul and regional/urban environments.

“A ‘catch all’ tire is the holy grail,” he explained. “We’re aiming to try and fill that gap for fleets in both long-haul and regional operations with a ‘super regional’ type of tire. The larger fleets are asking for that.” And that’s not all fleets want. The demand for more longevity, which translates into longer miles to removal, as well as the potential to gain more fuel economy remain ever-present, top-of-mind issues.

With all of that as a backdrop, here’s a roundup of the latest offerings for the major tire makers serving the North American truck and trailer market.

Bridgestone Americas Inc.

Late last year, Bridgestone introduced two new ultra-wide base tire models: the Greatec M835A Ecopia tire for the drive position, and the Greatec R197 Ecopia tire for the trailer position. Designed for use on tandem-axle applications in long-haul service, the OEM said it designed those new  models to improve fuel-efficiency while also delivering up to 20% longer wear life than the previous generation offering. Both are available in size 445/50R22.5.

In addition, the trailer tire model delivers 6% better rolling resistance compared to its previous iteration, noted Eric Higgs, vice president of commercial marketing for Bridge­stone Americas Tire Operations.

“Our new offerings in the ultra-wide base tire category cater to the growing need of  long-haul fleets to increase freight loads at a higher weight level,” he said. “The new Greatec tires are designed to maximize performance and fuel-efficiency available at the same cost as the previous generation.”

Key design features of both new models include:

  • High rigidity tread pattern for long tread life, overall even wear and low rolling resistance;
  • Optimized shoulder design for even wear balance across the tire footprint;
  • NanoPro-Tech compound to limit energy loss for improved rolling resistance;
  • Fuel Saver Sidewall to absorb excess energy and help conserve fuel, both when new and retreaded;
  • Patented Waved Belt Design to reduce casing growth and maintain a stable footprint;
  • Patented Turn-In Ply design to reduce ply-end stress;
  • Stone rejector platforms to combat capture and retention of casing-damaging stones.

Bridgestone also added the all-position  FS818 wide-base radial for on- and-off-highway applications to its Firestone lineup. The tire features a wide base design for higher payloads along with special tread compounds to help resist cuts, chips, tearing and irregular wear. The FS818 is designed with a deep, self-cleaning tread pattern for aggressive traction and long original mileage. In addition, stone rejector platforms in every groove offer strong durability.

Block sipes slice through water and provide a solid grip on wet roads, the company added, and four steel belts extend casing life while providing protection from cuts and punctures. Sidewall protector ribs fight against cuts, snags and abrasions.

The Firestone FS818 tire is available in 385/65R22.5, 425/65R22.5 and 445/65R22.5 sizes. It is backed by the company’s 90-Day Buy and Try Guarantee.

CIMC Commercial Tires

A new intermodal chassis tire model is on the way from CIMC Commercial Tire, a new division created by trailer manufacturer CIMC to focus on “upgrading the options” in the U.S. for intermodal chassis replacement tire retreading and supply.

According to Pat Gunn, the newly hired CEO of CIMC Commercial Tire, intermodal tire retreading and supply has been traditionally viewed as a low-cost, high-unit demand market, and quality replacement and retread tire design technology and innovation for this segment has not kept pace.

The company is making intermodal tires at a new plant in New Providence, NJ, and plant expansion is planned for this year. The proprietary tread rubber design and compounding for the new tire will be available in six tread widths from 180mm to 235mm to ensure proper fit on all casings for retread. In addition, CIMC’s tire arm will offer the following:

  • Matched major brand casing sets delivered to ensure uniformity, performance, and lower cost per mile for original equipment fitment, chassis refurb or replacement tire sales;
  • “Unique” life cycle solutions for individualized problems;
  • A 21-point inspection program to ensure quality product and process; and
  • Custom customer reporting and individual bar-coded production software for quality assurance and documentation.

Continental Tire The Americas

A few new endeavors are on the way from Continental, the latest being a new retread product called ContiTread Hybrid HT3 for spread axle trailer applications in long-haul and regional markets. The company also continues to develop its new ContiConnect digital tire monitoring platform. This remote tire monitoring system uses embedded sensors within its tires to allow fleet managers to see tire pressure and temperature data for their entire fleet in a single web portal every time their trucks return to the fleet yard.

On the physical tire front, the Conti Hybrid HT3 retread features a new and improved wing design and new tread compound for added protection in high scrub applications. It also features unique groove geometry with stone ejection technology.

The Conti Hybrid HT3 tire, for which this retread package is designed, is available in the following sizes: 11R22.5 (load range G and H), 11R24.5 (load range G and H), 285/75R24.5 (load range G and H), and 295/75R22.5 (load range G and H). The retread package comes with 16/32nds tread depth and is available in 210-, 220-, 230-mm widths.

The sensor-driven ContiConnect program is part of a broader tire care and uptime effort. It’s designed to reduce maintenance time, protect tires from long-term damage, and reduce tire-
related breakdowns and tire wear, all while improving fuel efficiency and safety.

Sensor data is used to identify and resolve tire issues immediately upon return to the fleet yard, which helps protect the tire from long-term damage and ensures maximum removal miles and improved casing retreadability, the company noted.

Continental’s embedded tire sensors identify creeping air loss, which is a major cause of tire failure, usually before it would be noticed in a pre- or post-trip inspection. Verifying proper tire inflation also guarantees the highest possible fuel efficiency to save fuel costs and reduce tire wear for long tire life, Continental added, helping to prevent tire blowouts for optimal safety.

“ContiConnect is the starting point for Continental to become a profound partner for tire-related data services,” noted Nikolai Setzer, a member of Continental’s executive board and head of its global tire division.

“With this digital tire monitoring platform, we take a huge step forward in our evolution from a premium tire manufacturer to a solutions provider,” he added. “We enrich our long-term experience in the tire industry with data created by sensors, starting with our truck, bus and earth-moving tires.”

Double Coin 

Last November Double Coin added three new tire sizes to its RR706 all-position, mixed-service line of truck tires: 11R22.5/16, 11R24.5/16 and 12R24.5/16. The 12R22.5/18 and 315/80R22.5 sizes with a 10,000-lb. single-tire load capacity are coming soon.

“Introduced two years ago, the RR706 is a proven performer. Its casing construction enhances performance and retreadability,” Tim Phillips, Double Coin’s vice president of marketing and operations, noted.

It is also engineered with chip/cut resistant tread compounds for increased service life, he said, especially in construction, waste and refuse fleet operations. 

Produced for Double Coin by the China Manufacturers Alliance (CMA) from its plant in Monrovia, CA, the RR706 tire comes with a seven-year warranty, and  its casings are warrantied for three retreads.

Last September Double Coin and CMA also introduced the IM105 radial tire for intermodal container chassis providers and manufacturers.

“When a customer is buying a new chassis or refurbishing an old chassis, the IM105 is the perfect replacement for bias-ply tires—meeting both federal safety and fuel efficiency standards,” Thomas Rozuk, CMA’s regional fleet manager, explained.

He added that the Double Coin IM105 container chassis tire is a SmartWay-verified and California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant low rolling resistant tire. It is engineered with additional ozone protection that lasts up to 12 years and is backed by CMA’s standard warranty. The IM105 is available in size 11R22.5 and 295/75R22.5, both with load range G, with an approved 8.25 mm listing.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber

Goodyear’s commercial tire division recently conducted a proprietary poll of 590 fleets to identify the “must have” attributes of truck tires. According to that poll, the top attribute is long miles to removal. That’s one reason why “long life” became the development focus of the company’s new Endurance line of truck tires—and the latest addition to that line is the LHD (“long haul drive”). Goodyear is now halfway through the introduction of its Endurance line. Three of the line’s six tires—the new Endurance LHD, Endurance WHA (for waste haul applications) and Endurance RSA (a regional long-haul model)—are now available to trucking companies. The other three models should become available this year, the company noted.

Several key design features help the Endurance LHD attain more mileage and save fuel as well, Goodyear reported,

  • A new cap base tread combination helps achieve longer miles to removal and lower rolling resistance.
  • A new sidewall compound helps lower rolling resistance and promotes fuel efficiency.
  • A steel belt package helps provide enhanced casing toughness.
  • A “shoulder wedge” helps stabilize the tire’s belt package while improving its longevity.
  • Goodyear’s proprietary “Tredlock Technology” helps stabilize the tire’s tread area, increasing resistance to irregular wear, and thus boosting longevity.
  • The “zig zag” pattern of Goodyear’s Tredlock pattern in the tire tread blocks runs both vertical and parallel to the tire’s surface, the company added, which helps lead to more uniform wear, a better ride, and less vibration.

The Endurance LHD is currently available in size 295/75R22.5 (load range G), 11R22.5 (load range G and H), and 11R24.5 (load range G). Sizes 11R24.5 (load range H) and 285/75R24.5 (load range G) are being introduced this year.

Goodyear plans to introduce a matching retread for the Endurance LHD by this summer using the company’s “spliceless” UniCircle retreading system, which he said helps retreads better match the shape of specific Goodyear tire casings.

Marangoni Tread North America

A supplier of products, equipment, supplies, technical services, and commercial support to independent retreaders and commercial tire dealers throughout North America, Marangoni’s latest offering is the new Ringtread RTL SA Extreme Performance spliceless spread axle tread.

The new RTL SA 16/32-in. tread is being added to the company’s XP Extreme Performance line of spliceless retreads. When used in spread axle or multi-axle trailer applications, the new tread is designed to boost tire performance while lowering total tire operating cost, the company noted.

Tires on a spread axle or multi-axle trailer are subject to premature wear when cornering due to tires dragging, which causes lateral stress, shoulders twist, scrap, scrub, chip and tear, Marangoni explained. The RTL SA tread is designed to help protect the tread and casing from such abuse.

The Ringtread XP Extreme Performance line includes several drive treads as well: SmartWay verified RDA-E 25/32 in. (Extreme Fuel Saving); RDG100 26/32 in. (Extreme Traction); RDG200 27/32 in. (Extreme Mileage); SmartWay-verified wide-base RDAone 23/32 in.; and severe-service RDY-HM+ 30/32 in.

Michelin Americas Truck Tires

Recent major initiatives by Michelin Americas Truck Tires, a division of Michelin North America Inc., include the introduction of new drive and regional tire models plus the addition of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to both new tires and retreads. This   effort started last year and now covers most of its products.

The new XDA Energy+ dual drive-position model, designed for line-haul applications, is made for both fleets and owner-operators and uses a new FuelSaver compound formula to achieve ultra-low rolling resistance. Compliant with SmartWay and CARB, Michelin said its XDA Energy+ comes with a limited guarantee of $400 per truck in fuel savings.

The XDA Energy+ features wide circumferential grooves for efficient water evacuation and grooved, angled walls to help resist stone retention. The sidewall also features TW6 OzoneShield technology for increased protection against weathering. It is available in the U.S. and Canada in 275/80R22.5 size in load range G.

With the accelerated growth in the regional drive market,
Michelin also added a 275/80R22.5 low-profile size for its X Multi D regional drive tire line that helps lower overall truck height, improve clearance issues, and help improve aerodynamics for fuel efficiency. Launched last July, the X Multi D line is targeted for use in LTL, pickup and delivery, food and beverage, and other demanding vocational segments.

The X Multi D line is specifically designed for 4x2 and 6x2 configurations and is available in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in 11R22.5 size in load range G and H, and 11R24.5 size in load range H, with additional sizes to follow.

“This next-generation regional drive tire is designed to excel in high torque applications and delivers all the key performance benefits needed in a regional tire—traction, high removal mileage and scrub resistance—with no trade-offs,”  said Adam Murphy, vice president of marketing at Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “With an aggressive open-shoulder design that contributes to outstanding water evacuation for an optimized contact patch in all-weather conditions, the X Multi D delivers the maximum tread life, traction and casing durability fleets demand.”

“This [RFID] platform allows fleets to better track their tire assets and better understand the life cycle of their tire casings,” explained Ralph Dimenna, COO of Michelin Americas Truck Tires, adding that feedback from Michelin’s Fleet Advisory Council indicated that more detailed tire information could help them better deal with the “pain points” of their businesses.

That’s why Michelin forged ahead to add RFID tags to all of its truck tires, he said, not just the ones it sells in the U.S.

“This is a worldwide platform. These are standard tags. Anyone can access them if they have an RFID reader,” Dimenna said.

Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.

The new M588 heavy-duty on- and off-road drive tire is the latest product to be rolled out by Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. in the U.S.  Designed for severe-service applications that include oil, gas, mining, and logging operations, the M588 features a 33/32-in. tread depth and special cut and
chip resistant compounds to beef up its durability. It’s also configured to handle what Toyo calls “the harshest elements” when roads are covered in snow or turned to mud.

The tire maker said “aggressive side protectors” are molded into the sidewall of the M588 to guard it against cut damage by rocks and the continued use of snow chains in severe winter regions. The unique tread block arrangement of the M588 is a high-void design that provides excellent mud and snow traction, Toyo said, and special siping on top of the tread blocks provides a further traction boost. Between the blocks and inside the grooves, several features such as stone ejectors and mud breakers add to the performance the M588 in both on- and off-road conditions. Angled inline lateral grooves, also between the tread blocks, help evacuate packed mud and prevent snow chains from dropping into the grooves.

Two 16-ply sizes—11R22.5 and 11R24.5—are available with the new M588, said Mike Graber, Toyo’s senior product manager of commercial tires.

TP Commercial Solutions LLC

Part of Pirelli’s industrial business unit, TP Commercial Solutions LLC recently partnered with Dynamic Tire to distribute its products in Canada. The new partnership will help Pirelli’s brand of commercial truck and fleet tires to continue expanding sales in North America, primarily for its Pentathlon D, Formula Driver II, G:85 Series, and Penta­thlon C tires.

Dynamic Tire is the largest wholesale distributor in Canada, and its partnership with TP Commercial Solutions marks the company’s first foray into Tier 1 truck tires. Dynamic Tire’s two warehouses in Toronto and Montreal enable it to house a unique product selection and fulfill product orders efficiently.

“We align well with the company’s values of putting the customer first and look forward to a successful partnership to offer our truck tire line to Canadians,” noted Alex Vitale, CEO of TP Commercial Solutions. “We also have plans to expand our offering with new products by April 2018.”

Yokohama Tire Corp.

The latest offerings from Yokohama Tire include an all-new fuel-efficient, long-haul drive tire. The SmartWay-verified TY577 MC2 is offered in 16-ply construction and comes in sizes 295/75R22.5, 11R22.5, 285/75R24.5 and 11R24.5.

“The TY577 MC2 delivers exceptional traction, long even wear, superior durability, low rolling resistance, and incredible fuel efficiency,” explained Tom Clauer, Yokohama’s manager of commercial and OTR product planning. He added that the TY577 MC2 combines an ultra-deep tread pattern with Yokohama’s MC2 technology, which minimizes the effects of heat on the casing and tread, providing extreme low rolling resistance to reduce cost-per-mile for truck operators.

Extended tread life is achieved by a 30/32-in. deep groove depth that delivers a firm and stable road grip while maximizing run-out mileage, Clauer added.  In addition, the closed-shoulder rib enables more rubber-to-road contact for long, even wear, while a “stress wear control” groove redistributes more load to the outside rib, reducing the chance of shoulder step-down wear.

Durability is boosted, thanks to Yokohama’s STEM-2 technology, which redirects destructive casing flex. This leads to improved casing durability and retreadability, Clauer noted. Additionally, the funnel-shaped groove reduces stone retention and increases block rigidity for improved traction and wear rate, he said.   

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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