No more steelyard blues

March 1, 2005
Manager: Jeff Avery Title: Co-owner Fleet: Avery Construction, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Operation: Mixed service, including hauling scrap metal from ships to a steel plant PROBLEM You know you have a tire maintenance issue when you start looking into solutions so exotic they're unheard of. It might seem the scrap-hauling portion of northern Ontario-based Avery Construction's trucking business would

Manager: Jeff Avery

Title: Co-owner

Fleet: Avery Construction, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Operation: Mixed service, including hauling scrap metal from ships to a steel plant

PROBLEM

You know you have a tire maintenance issue when you start looking into solutions so exotic they're unheard of.

It might seem the scrap-hauling portion of northern Ontario-based Avery Construction's trucking business would be a piece of cake. The operation only runs from April to December and each truck racks up under 10 kilometers a round trip.

The 30-truck fleet has 10 tractor-trailers dedicated to hauling scrap metal tube rounds and steel pipe unloaded from ships calling at Sault Ste. Marie for delivery to a very nearby steel mill.

“The ten trucks are used to haul the cargo of each ship,” explains Jeff Avery. “Each time a ship is unloaded, our trucks are working 16 hours a day for four to seven days.”

The trucks roll only about three miles each way between the ship and the plant. None of those miles are on the road and maybe a third of the route is asphalted.

The killer, though, is the litter. And we're not talking cigarette butts or even broken glass or other unsightly but largely harmless debris typically found in industrial zones.

Nope, this path is heavily littered with “countless” slivers — of steel. “We usually got 20 to 30 flats per ship we unloaded,” says Avery. “Our tire-repair costs can run as high as $5,000 per ship.”

Seeking ways to cut that cost of operation, Avery sampled various aftermarket tire sealants. He went so far as to try capping trailer tires with a “slick” tread that, the theory went, would be less likely to pick up slivers. It didn't help.

SOLUTION

“After we tried other approaches,” Avery relates, “our tire dealer suggested we try out the new Goodyear DuraSeal tire option. We put 76 tires made with DuraSeal on four of our ten steel-hauling tractors and three of the trailers last April.”

The results have been eye-opening. The fleet hasn't incurred a single flat caused by crown area punctures. “We've had only three flats since we started testing DuraSeal and they've been sidewall cuts,” Avery reports.

According to Goodyear, its DuraSeal technology involves a gel-like, solvent-free compound built into the inner liner of the tire that will “consistently and instantly” seal punctures up to 1/4-in. in the tread area. The company adds it is the only built-in sealant offered by a truck tire maker and is now optional on Goodyear G287 MSA and G288 MSA mixed-service tires.

“We're probably getting four times the life out of a tire with DuraSeal compared to one without,” points out Avery.

Next month will mark the beginning of Avery's second scrap-hauling season on DuraSeals. Avery says as soon as more DuraSeal tires are available, he will be switching this portion of the fleet over. And he is considering using them also in the fleet's “definitely off-road” operation dedicated to hauling logs out of the woods and to highway junctions.

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