Choosing Foam Fill Over Solid Tires (3)

When it comes to managing for increased profitability and success on the job, construction fleet managers and Off-the-Road (OTR) equipment operators face numerous decisions.

With a multiplicity of project verticals to manage (from materials procurement to regulatory compliance, labour control, and rigorous budget contracts and schedules), each logistical route must be as simplified as possible.

Transportation is critical to the proper running of any busy construction work zone, as well as waste management, agricultural, or mining site operations.

Whether it’s a telehandler or wheel loader cleaning debris and delivering building supplies, an OTR mining vehicle working in perilous underground conditions, or a tractor or harvester preparing agriculture fields, this equipment keeps the project environment moving forward.

It is a difficult task to keep the project on track while staying under budget.

Operators quickly lose critical time and bottom-line earnings if any of these massive vehicles becomes defective.

Tire selection is the second most important factor for equipment managers, behind potential mechanical breakdowns.

Furthermore, tyre solutions differ substantially depending on the OTR environment.

One solution is to use solid aperture tyres.

Another example is air-filled pneumatics.

A third option is to fill the tyres with polyurethane foam fill.

Tire fill (often referred to as “foam fill”) technology provides a formulation that combines the best of both worlds (keeping tyres virtually flat free, but offering a more cushioned, smoother ride that is less fatiguing for operators required to pull long shifts behind the wheel.)

Tire fill has been used for nearly 50 years, but it has gained measurable traction in recent decades as project managers have become more acutely aware of the devastating impact on job site production if an unexpected flat prevents either critical supply movement or, more importantly, serious crew member injury.

While solid tyres are likewise puncture-free, they do not provide as many options as foam fill-pneumatics.

Since the mid-1800s, the technique has been in use.

Soon after vulcanization, solid rubber tyres were produced (the process of heating rubber with sulfur).

They are tough and can withstand cuts and abrasions.

However, there are certain drawbacks to solid aperture tyre products—and as tyre technology has improved, operators seeking puncture-free solutions as well as a slew of other advantages may discover that there are more durable options on the market today.

Solids have several important limitations, including deflection, traction, riding comfort, and the fact that operators are often confined to moderate speeds.

They simply cannot handle fast driving, so while they keep the vehicle running longer due to their capacity to resist punctures, “you have a trade-off there of down time vs. a little bit slower movement on the equipment,” according to Tire Business.

Solids often heat up in the middle and can blow out if an operator drives the vehicle or equipment at the same speed as pneumatic tyres.

As a result, the decision to use solid aperture tyres is frequently influenced by the work environment and the details of a company’s operations—in determining whether decreased speed is preferable to downtime due to tyre flats caused by work site debris

  • Aside from the fact that operators cannot drive fast, the major disadvantage of a solid tyre is that “you don’t have the same traction with the solid tyre that you’re going to get with a pneumatic tyre because you get basically no deflection.”
  • Pneumatic tyres cushion machines better than solid tyres.
  • Roll over protection requirements (ROPS), which all equipment OEMs must calculate for vehicle safety, are something that is not often readily considered.
  • It is critical for consumers to understand whether the additional weight of the solid tyre causes any issues with ROPS ratings.
  • Ride quality and heat dissipation are two choices that a fleet may face when switching to solid tyres.

Tire fill is practically flat-free and can easily slide over sharp pebbles, nails, glass, and rebar without puncture or risk of incident—offering the same on-the-job sturdiness as solids, but also a slew of additional demonstrable advantages.

Operators can select their preferred durometer via foam fill.

Blowouts are not a problem for the technique. It provides a significantly smoother, less bumpy ride, which is far preferable for operator well-being and greatly reduces the risk of Whole Body Vibration (WBV), a serious muscular-skeletal condition that can result from repeated jarring of vehicle axles, affecting both humans and the integrity of the equipment they’re operating

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