BIBENDUM'S HARDBALL TACTICS
With two new tires, one for the farming sector and one for dumpers, Michelin renews its industrial range improving duration and performance
Named VF Axiobib2, Evobib, Roadbib and XtraDefend, they are certainly not made for normal road use, although they are quite at ease even on tarmac. The first three are tires meant for farming tractors, the fourth for articulated dumpers. All share the company’s search for greater profitability, through sturdiness and versatility. Many versions are already on the market and others will be by the first quarter of 2018.
VF AXIOBIB2, SOIL-FRIENDLY
Greater productivity and lower costs; new agricultural tractors boast huge power outputs and torque, while the time spent travelling on normal roads is increasing considerably. The risk, when the tractor is working the field, is that of an excessive soil compaction, which will negatively affect soil infiltration and drainage thus endangering seed germination and growth. The problem is particularly felt in intensive farming, where folding tools are used and direct sowing is practiced. The VF Axiobib2 range, available in the two sizes VF 540/65 R30 and VF 650/65 R42, solves the problem thanks to a totally new structure based on Michelin’s Ultraflex technology, reason why the tire earned its VF markings (Very high Flexion, high flexibility). This means that the tire can work with a very wide range of pressures starting from 0.6 bar, which can be rapidly adjusted thanks to a Central tire inflation system. The tire’s contact area can increase by 19%, with benefits in terms of traction while reducing soil compaction at the same time. Thanks to the right pressure regulation, according to Michelin’ engineers, traction can be increased by 35%, improving productivity by 7% and reducing fuel consumption by 30% (in absolute terms we are looking at about 7 litres per hour of work). The two VF Axiobib2 models can additionally boast unprecedented load and speed codes with the following sizes: the VF 540/65 is marked as 158D/155E TL, while the VF 650/65 carries the 174D/171E TL codes. The versatility of Michelin’s latest creatures is evident also by the NRO marking (Narrow Rim Option), which allows the use of narrower rims than the ones for which they were originally designed.
EVOBIB, THE QUICK-CHANGE “ARTIST”
Michelin defines it as the farming tire’s third revolution, following radials, introduced in 1970, and the Ultraflex technology dated 2004. Shape and footprints change according to working conditions and pressure, adapting to the ground and ensuring the best working conditions. With low inflation pressures, for example, the footprint increases by 30%, and the greater traction can be equalled to an extra 20 hp. All this made possible by the new radial plies structure and new cap plies belt design: on the road, when the inflation pressure is higher, the tread pattern is supported by the cap ply belt and it flattens out to suit road conditions; in the field, with lower pressure, the shoulders take most of the brunt ("hinge effect") allowing the tread to better cope with the load and the footprint to perfectly adapt to the ground. According to Michelin calculations, with the Evobib a 300 hp tractor that uses 160 of them for turning over the soil, can use a plough with nine blades instead of eight, saving a day of work every 160 hectares ploughed. The Evobib is available as 710/70 R42 for the rear axle and 600/70 for the front axle, both with VF marking.
Very few tractors move exclusively on soil: for example, if used for tree maintenance or contractors who spend 80% of their travelling time and 50% of their working time on the normal roads. For these Michelin came up with a new 52 blocks tread, where 40% of the tread actually touches the ground. Compared to a traditional tire, the working life goes from 4000 to 5000 hours, an increase of over 25%. Available as 600/70R30 and 710/70 R42, they will be on the market as of the first quarter of 2018.
XTRA DEFEND, DUMPER SPECIFIC
Articulated dumping trucks are high productivity machines and increasingly popular, but are often forced to work in many and rapidly changing conditions. In quarries and mines their speed is reduced, work cycles are slow and the payloads huge. In large public construction sites payloads may be lighter but working cycles are more frenetic and speed is higher. Produced for articulated dump trucks (ADTs) with payloads between 25 and 45 tonnes, the XtraDefend range maintains the excellent load / speed ratio of the previous X-Super Terrain series. What have improved significantly are durability and resistance to damage: + 15% thanks to a new structure and a greater sidewall thickness (also increased by 15%). The casing’s increased resistance to penetrations allows the XtraDefend to drive over a 172mm spike without sustaining a puncture or losing its characteristics.
Meeting the requirements of an E4 ADT tire, it is now available as a replacement in sizes 23.5 R25 and 29.5 R25; the 26 R25, 750/65 R25 and 875/65 R29 will be available sometime in 2018, when the entire range will also be marketed as OEMs