How tire weight affects performance
March 30, 2023 By BKT Tires
It weighs more, so it is robust and will last longer. Are we sure that this equation is real, that it truly works?
The technicians of BKT examined the details and parameters that affect the weight of a tire – here’s what they found.
It is really very common to hear that the heavier a tire is, the higher its quality since it is designed with more materials and is consequently more durable. Weight and quality can certainly be correlated, but only if we consider the weight of a tire as the – reasoned and calculated – sum of each of its individual components.
In short, it should not surprise us that a tire for high loads, which is the same size as others, may be heavier, because the additional elements that strengthen its structure will affect the overall weight.
The tires used by work vehicles, whether tractors or quarry loaders, must be able to guarantee very different performances. Depending on the use, their structure can be integrated with various components, so it is possible to find a significant weight difference in the same model.
In a tire the highest percentage in the weight is the tread, but elements such as the belt, shoulder, bead, and casing that each manufacturer tests and modifies to balance performance and costs must also be taken into account.
A strength of BKT is, for example, the greater amount of material on the bead of its tires, a few grams more in terms of weight which mean, however, zero breakages.
But how much does a tire weigh? Just to understand the terms of reference and also to satisfy people’s sense of curiosity, here are some examples from among the best-selling BKT ranges:
BKT’s largest agricultural tire is the AGRIMAX RT 600 in the IF 1250/50 R 32 size and it weighs 643.52 kg. AGRIMAX RT 600 is ideal for working lawns, turf and soils which require special attention. Making it the perfect solution are the characteristics of the tread design, its shallower depth, the presence and arrangement of numerous lugs in addition to the particular, rounded shape of the shoulder.
The heaviest tire in the OTR range is instead the EARTHMAX SR 468 in the 40.00 R 57 size, a giant weighing fully 3,819.80 kg designed for rigid dump trucks, it is equipped with an All Steel structure which provides greater resistance to the casing and so against damaging attacks. Winning features of the EARTHMAX SR 468 are the special tread design and its compound, both created to limit the heat generated. The E-4 depth of the tread provides extreme resistance in highly challenging conditions.
Among the smallest tires, we find for the AG segment the LG 306 in the 11X4.00-5 size, at a featherweight of 1.17 kg: a tire for lawns, suitable for mowers and, in some sizes, suitable also for small tractors. Its specific tread design makes the tire delicate on the soil, facilitating its use when maneuvering.
Finally, in the industrial range the smallest tire is LIFTMAX LM 81 in the 150/75 R 8 size, weighing 9.25 kg: specifically designed and engineered for forklifts and port tractors, it has a durable and robust tread, which, together with the exclusive antistatic compound, ensures excellent wear and tear properties and a long life.
Other weighty examples
Minimal difference for two of the most sought-after agricultural products which are characterized by the same size. However, the first is designed specifically for high-power tractors (over 250 hp) and is equipped with IF technology, while the second is a winning mix of features that improve the performance of next-generation tractors and is equipped with VF technology. We are talking of AGRIMAX FORCE in the IF 710/70 R 42 CFO size, the weight of which is 347.4 kg compared to 340.84 kg in the VF 710/70 R 42 size for AGRIMAX V-FLECTO.
And now an example from the range of OTR tires: among the most requested products is EARTHMAX SR 30 which in the 20.5 R 25 size weighs 241.6 kg. It is ideal when using small and medium-sized loaders on dirt tracks.
BKT is recognized as one of the most important manufacturers of off-highway tires in the world, thanks to the engagement with the widest possible range of sectors: agriculture, industry, earthmoving, mining, port activities, gardening and ATV. Each tire is designed according to its use, therefore to the type of work done by the vehicle on which it will be mounted. Robustness, speed, self-cleaning, puncture resistance, these are just some of the characteristics required by those who buy a tire.
Except for particular processes, such as quarry work, where it is still a fundamental parameter in evaluation, weight today is at the center of the development of new tires. For this reason, BKT is investing in research, so that technology supports the development of ever lighter tires. With a lighter tire, for example, rolling resistance would be reduced, with a consequent reduction in consumption and the related negative impact on the environment, not to mention the reduction in the costs of the materials used, both in terms of weight ranges and of the specific weight of the individual components.
The aim is to achieve performance which is better but above all sustainable for users – in terms of costs – and for the environment, respect of which is now the most important driver of business choices for the Indian multinational.
Article and photos courtesy of BKT Tires.
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