LAS VEGAS, Nev. – It wasn’t the first time a self-sealing tire was introduced for the truck market (some were introduced in the ’80s), but it made quite an impression nonetheless.
While Goodyear scientists and officials touted the virtues of the company’s latest commercial offering, the DuraSeal tire, just prior to the opening of the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas in March, truck writers stood around gleefully taking turns at puncturing that very product with a nail.
So did Goodyear’s press conference blow up in the company’s face?
Nope. Like a certain battery-operated bunny, the darn tires just kept going, maintaining their psi even after they’d been punctured several times in the very same place.
“In testing we punctured one 24 times in the same hole – and it still didn’t deflate,” said one scientist to this Truck West reporter, who just couldn’t accept defeat.
With tires the No. 2 truck fleet expense after fuel – a truck tire has an average life span of only three weeks when used under the most punishing conditions, such as garbage trucks hauling loads into landfills – Goodyear’s new product is expected to make its mark.
Company officials said the new technology can extend the life of such tires to about six times longer.
And yes, retreads are possible, in fact, as long as the retreader knows the sealant (a coating inside the tire) is there, the sealant will remain functional for the life of the tire, say officials.
According to Goodyear spokesman Dave Wilkins, the company believes there are about 1.1 million work trucks in the United States that could use the tires. (Goodyear counts on commercial tires for about 25 per cent of its North American revenues.)
A yellow gel, called DuraSeal, is placed inside the crown of the tire as part of the belt package under the tread.
When a truck runs over a nail, the gel surrounds the nail and seals the puncture, whether the nail comes out or not. (The seal won’t work for sidewall damage, however.)
The gel’s presence can be detected on the tread – it’s bright yellow.
According to Goodyear officials, DuraSeal can seal tread punctures up to one-quarter-inch repeatedly, without the tire needing to be repaired or the sealant needing to be reapplied.
And the sealant will work efficiently from -40F to 100F, says the company.
As far as cost goes, the tires should cost about US$300.
Wilkins said the company is considering using DuraSeal technology for other types of commercial vehicles, such as school buses and campers. But for now company research showed motorists didn’t think an occasional passenger-car flat tire was worth the extra cost of a tire that would resist punctures, he said.
Research in the “vocational” tire field, such as tires used on lumber trucks, however, showed operators felt the savings from reduced down time from fewer punctures outweighed the additional cost, Wilkins said.
For now, DuraSeal technology will be available on the G287 MSA and the G288 MSA.
The Unisteel G287 MSA mixed service tire, which includes high mileage tread compounds and improved belt package and computer-generated tread design, replaces the G286. The tire is highway friendly, with a wide footprint and flat tread radius that delivers up to 40 per cent more miles to removal, compared to the G286, according to company officials.
The G288, which also replaces the G286, targets tough-tire applications, including logging, construction, mining and other off-road applications.
Its tread compounds and wide footprint with 19 per cent increased tread volume provide up to 30 per cent more miles to removal.
Tearing and cutting resistance has also been beefed up – a new severe service tread compound on the G288, as well as an improved belt package deliver 18 per cent better resistance to cutting, chipping and tearing (something not provided by DuraSeal).
Both the G287 and the G288 also include a pitch sequence in the tread design that provides a quieter ride, (in testing, the latter’s noise levels were reduced by 3.0 decibels.)
For more information on Goodyear’s DuraSeal technology and its new commercial mixed-service tires visit www.goodyear.com