Although tires aren’t always the first items distributors think of when optimizing delivery and fuel efficiency, their role in getting cases safely and cost-effectively from points A to B cannot be overstated. “Beverage trucks operate in tough environments,” says Donna Murphy, B2B business segment manager for Michelin. “When challenges arise from a tire maintenance perspective, downtime becomes the focus.”
Reducing downtime involves a number of tire-related factors, from minimizing wear and under-inflation to developing new technologies that make tires less vulnerable to impact.
However, it’s never a one-size-fits-all proposition. Manufacturers increasingly are tailoring tires to a broad spectrum of delivery environments.
“Fleets are looking for application-specific tires and are looking for a variety of performances including long mileage, fuel-efficiency and retreadability, as well as traction and impact resistance,” Murphy notes.
Michelin offers a number of solutions for a variety of beverage delivery vehicle classes:
■ Introduced last June, Michelin calls its X Multi D a next-generation regional drive tire that offers “first-class performance,” designed to excel in high-torque applications. Murphy notes that it delivers the maximum tread life, traction and casing durability that beverage fleets demand.
■ The Michelin XPS RIB is an all-steel, all-wheel position light commercial vehicle tire designed to deliver exceptional mileage and retreadability for fleet operations.
Michelin’s products include extra-strong curb guards that help protect side walls against impacts and abrasions. They also feature solid shoulders optimized for high-scrub applications.
Bridgestone’s R268 Ecopia is an all-position/steer radial designed for “rigorous, severe, high-scrub environments” in regional delivery applications, the company says. The tire is EPA SmartWay-verified and California Air Resources Board (CARB)-compliant and offers fuel efficiency, long wear and retreadability.
The protective features in the R268’s casing help it resist damage from curbing and maneuvering scrub, contributing to a long tread life. The following are additional features:
■ Wave channel design to help reduce groove bottom strain and combat irregular wear.
■ Optimized rib distribution, proportioned for added stiffness, helping to reduce irregular wear throughout.
■ NanoPro-Tech compound limits energy loss for improved rolling resistance and fuel efficiency.
■ High-scrub tread compound, designed to enhance resistance to tread scrubbing to increase tread life.
Continental launched the Conti CrossTrac HA3 line, optimal for beverage distribution fleets, it says.
The tires feature a rigid belt package with full-width top belt and extra sidewall protection for increased durability. Their zig-zag center groove geometry increases the number of biting edges for increased traction, it says. The Conti CrossTrac HA3’s pyramidal stone ejection system also is designed for maximum casing protection.
The tires are built on the company’s proprietary 3G Casing for maximum retreadability. The enhanced 3G casing design improves rolling resistance by reducing deflection and heat build-up, and the wider platform allows for wider and deeper treads, it adds.
There’s also an extra 3 mm of sidewall protection, which helps protect against curbing, cuts and abrasions.
Also new from Continental is the ContiConnect digital tire monitoring platform. The new tech platform enables fleet managers to replace manual and routine tire care with automatic and targeted care, the company says.
Tire data is collected via sensors mounted on the inner liner to prevent damage from curbing, minimize theft and ensure that the sensors can accurately measure tire temperature and pressure without interference from braking system heat, it says.
Continental’s tire sensors are able to detect creeping air loss, a major contributor to tire failure. The sensors enable fleet operators to identify a problem before pre- or post-inspections, minimizing the risk of tire-related breakdowns on the road.
Fleet managers instantly can access, via a web portal, low-pressure alerts, track data throughout time, and review reports and analytics for all sensor-equipped tires.
Hankook’s DH07 tire, designed for regional delivery and pick up, features a wider three-channel zig-zag groove to prevent stone drilling. It also features stone ejector technology to further cut down on drilling and minimize tire tearing, the company says.
Its shoulder block and lug design helps protect against cracking from external shocks. Additionally, the tread design has self-cleaning properties, it says. Other key elements include a dynamic belt structure, where the belts’ motion is minimized to reduce heat generation, as well as an improved bead profile to foster greater retreadability, it adds. BI