Many of us make New Year’s resolutions each year. We resolve to do things such as lose weight or spend more time with family. These resolutions are a focus and goal that we all hope to achieve. On the business side, how many of you had resolutions to give better support to your customers, deliver what they require, and learn more about your customers?
Most likely, such resolutions weren’t even a thought.
When considering what can be done differently to improve your value to the customer you need to start with understanding their requirements for the new year. This includes knowing the customer’s outlook for the year in regards to their business and the jobs/orders they have confirmed or are pending final approval.
Now is the perfect time to visit with customers, understand the work they have lined up, and figure out their tire requirements.
We’ve discussed many times the importance of doing fleet inspections. What better time is there than now to do a complete tire inspection? Yes, in many parts of North America it is cold but customers are planning ahead. They may be confirming the equipment needed to handle upcoming projects, but are they even looking at the tires? That is where you become a very important part of the process.
First, let’s look at the loaders. In most operations, there won’t be many changes but you’ll need to find out if the business is going to use the loaders differently than they did in previous years. For example, are they going to reassign the loaders to do more load-and-carry then previous years? Or place a loader that was doing load out into the pit part of the time. These are good questions and once you know the answers, you can start to plan out their tire needs.
It can be difficult for customers to change from what they purchased in the past to what will be needed to better address today’s requirements. Why? Because customers tend to look at price, and to many it’s less of a hassle to continue in the same way as they’ve done it that way for years with no issues. If the loader on radial L5s is going to do more load-and-carry work, you need to understand the distance and cycle estimates to determine if that tire will work or if the customer needs to switch to a radial L3 or L4.
Load-and-carry is usually determined when a loader is used to haul material greater than 50 feet. Loaders, when looking at any manufacturer’s databook, are rated at 5 mph (10 kmh). When using a loader in a load-and-carry” application, the heat build-up must be taken into consideration. That is primarily what will affect tire performance.
Loader tires should not exceed an average speed of 15 mph. If the average speed is greater than 15 mph, you should contact a tire manufacturer representative.
Work Capacity Factor
Does your team understand what a work capacity factor (WCF) is and how one completes the formula necessary to get the data needed to make a sound decision? As stated in the Goodyear databook, you have to “multiply the average tire load times the maximum average speed per hour to determine the work capacity factor rating.”
Goodyear considers the average tire load to be the empty tire load in tons plus the loaded tire load in tons divided by two. In regard to the maximum average speed, it is the round trip distance in miles (or kilometers) times the maximum number of cycles per hour that the loader is operating.
This formula is similar to the “ton mile per hour” formula used for haul trucks. But one has to also remember that loader tires are subject to more stress due to more frequent stops, starts and turning while operating in a haul cycle. All this equates to more stress on the components of the tire, which results in higher heat build-up in the tire and potentially diminished tire performance.
Goodyear states in its OTR databook that, “Vehicles with tires loaded at 15% above their rated capacity or used in hauls of more than 2,000 feet (610 meters) one way” cannot qualify for WCF calculations since this exceeds the loader tire specifications.
When looking at the various manufacturers’ databooks, they explain that when the customer’s loader is used at a speed greater than 5 mph (10 kmh) they must reduce the actual load being carried. For example, if the average speed is 10 mph (15 kmh) the load needs to be reduced by 13%. At 15 mph (20 kmh) the load needs to be reduced by 20%. Again loader tires should not exceed an average speed of 15 mph.
If the customer is using an L5 tire and doesn’t want to change, then you need to let the customer know that they cannot exceed 5 mph (10 kmh) on the job. The reason is simple: the resulting heat cannot dissipate fast enough to keep the tire running without potential issues. Deeper tread OTR tires are not always better. Proper tire design placement is critical when looking to maximize tire performance.
Articulated Dump Trucks
The next big change in the industry is the increased use of articulated dump trucks (ADT) versus rigid-frame haul trucks.
Many companies have switched mainly because of the flexibility of ADTs, especially if your customer is a contractor or construction account. They need to operate in various environments where, many times, a rigid frame haul truck cannot work. Having 4- or 6-wheel-drive ADTs are often required due to the underfoot conditions.
The majority of ADTs used in the industry are 25T, 30T, 35T and 40T. ADTs were designed to use two-star radials because of the required traction, ride, loads and speed of the trucks. It is also important to keep the overall diameter at all wheel positions within tolerances of the equipment manufacturer.
Tires typically used here are both the conventional wide-base 23.5, 26.5 and 29.5R25 and low aspect ratio sizes 650/65R25, 750/65R25, 775/65R29 and 875/65R29.
Again, these are the main sizes for ADTs used in construction and quarries.
Generally, ADTs are equipped with the standard E/L3, E/L3+ and depending on distance and speed E/L4 two-star radial tires. To determine the correct design and depth of the tread you would need to do a “ton mile per hour” study as you would for a haul truck.
ADTs would fall into the 30 mph rating as they fall under “haulage service.” Selecting the correct tire for the application will make a big difference in the total overall performance of not just the tire but also of the articulated dump truck.
One question I get a lot is what is the proper inflation pressure for tires on an ADT. Again, air pressure will depend on the loads and average speed. Generally, I suggest the maximum of 65 psi for the wide-base tires and 62 psi for the low aspect ratio tires. If the environment is such that the loads are not extreme but traction is important, then inflation pressure can be adjusted downward, but no less than what the tiremaker has suggested.
No matter what the equipment is, having both the right tire for the application and the correct air pressure are important to maximize the performance of the tires and control your customer’s cost-per-hour.
The last and most important part is presenting your findings to the customer. Make sure that you keep your presentation focused and concise. You want the customer to buy in to your tire recommendation. And remember to ask for the order.
Customers do not want tire issues during their busy months. This is why doing the extra work now and selecting the correct tire will minimize tire issues later in the year. Site inspections take time and are a lot of work, but the results can be very profitable for you throughout the year.