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02/09/2016
Dunlop, multi-tasking intelligence

Heavy duty tires

Robust and suitable for all kinds of road use, the new Dunlop tires go a long way in containing operating costs

Massimo Condolo

Purchasing a tire, for a transporter, is nothing short of complicated. Its impact on the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) can be quite substantial, but in order to find the right tire one should be perfectly aware about the use of the vehicle, taking into account both the regular operating routes and the seasonality of the work. But this is not always possible: some vehicles are dedicated exclusively to long-range transport, spending most of their time on motorways (typically high-powered trucks), with few stretches on “normal roads”, while others operate exclusively in local or regional distribution (two or three axle medium-duty trucks). But an increasingly difficult market is forcing many trucks on different routes, making it difficult to direct the choice towards finding the perfect tire for the job (long haul, regional transport…etc), able to perfectly combine performance, durability and fuel efficiency. In cases like these, trucks become multi-tasking vehicles, being used on long-hauls as well as shorter regional trips, and, at times, especially in spring and autumn, on mountain roads where the weather conditions are rather unpredictable.

 

Tackling the euro 6 issue

And to complicate things further, here come anti-pollution standards: Euro 6 vehicles have increased axle load, especially on the front axle where the weight of the SCR system (with its AdBlue tank) and the particulate filter are located. Load ratings used with Euro 4 and Euro 5 vehicles are no longer valid. High load, robustness and versatility are now fundamental parameters, especially for all those non-specialized vehicles. What comes out are tires that can tackle both regional and long distance transport, perhaps a little 'less efficiently than those dedicated to a specific task, but which can still guarantee excellent operating costs thanks to low friction and high resistance to wear. And, therefore, able to reduce the total cost of ownership of the vehicle. In this multi-tasking category we find Dunlop’s new SP246 for trailers, SP346 steering and SP446 drive axle, which replace the previous SP244, SP344 and SP444, designed to be used in different settings (distribution, regional transport, long-haul) and in all weather conditions; in fact, all of them boast M + S markings. Both drive and steering axles are also 3PMSF approved: little doubt, therefore, that these tires are able to deliver even in unpredictable conditions, such as a sudden snowfall. The range offer will be complete by the end of 2016 when the SP246 for trailers will hit the market, as, at the moment, the only available options relate to the drive and steering axles.

 

New range, new technologies

The SP346 has a new tread design, compared to the previous SP344, with deeper sipes and more flexible tread blocks. Offered on 22,5” wheels, the new SP 346 comes in sizes 315/80, 386/65 and 245/60 for normal loads along with the high load versions 315/70, 295/80. The SP446 looks at maximizing traction and a key feature is the ‘raindrop’ shape of the base of the sipes, which guarantee greater traction in slippery conditions and less pressure on the shoulders (thus increasing durability). The design of the tread blocks and the grooves provide greater stiffness to the tread,  while the V-shaped tread pattern allows the blocks to enter the footprint gradually and reduces wear. This further contributes to improving mileage thanks to its wider tread and higher net-to-gross ratio. Taking a closer look at the tread, we notice a Dual Layer Technology. The outer layer of the tread is highly resistant to abrasion, while the inner layer reduces rolling resistance thanks to its low hysteresis properties. The sizes available are the same as  the SP346. The SP246 trailer tire will be available in sizes 385/55 and 385/65 as High Load version (axle weight capacity of 10 tonnes). As far as the European label is concerned, the new SP346 boasts, depending on the size, a B or C rating for fuel efficiency, again a B or C for wet grip and a noise level measured between 72-73 dB, giving it an A rating. The SP446 obtained a B or C rating for fuel efficiency, while wet grip scored a C with noise level between 71 and 72 dB (A).  

 

A tire’s second life

The fact that the life of a tire need not end with the first coating is a well-established notion. Regrooving, retreading and a second regrooving are now the general rule of thumb in designing a tire and considering its life cycle. Dunlop calls this approach Multiple Life Concept; according to company sources, the cycle including one single retreading and two regroovings guarantees superior mileage by 25% and a 10% saving on the purchase of two sets of new tires. All three new models are regroovable and already available on the market as premium Treadmax retreads, with the SP446 model produced over SP344, 444, 346 or 446 casings; soon, also the SP246 trailer tire will be on the market as Treadmax. These are all mold cure retreads, the process of which is carried out in two production plants, one in Wittlich (Germany) and the second in Riom (France). The sizes available, all for 22.5" wheels are 315/70 and 315/80; size 295/60 will be added this year, while the 315/60 will come in 2017.

 

A new brand on the horizon

Strength and quality / price ratio are the focus of the new Debica range dedicated to heavy duty vehicles. The polish brand of the Goodyear Dunlop group has two product lines, both for 22.5" rims, the DR for road use and the on-off road DMS, to be distributed exclusively by TruckForce (2,000 retail points throughout Europe). Each line consists of a complete set for steering, drive and trailer axles, featuring sturdy casings and dedicated compounds. The steering DRS, available as 315/80, 295/80 and 315/70, has a central rib and a zig-zag pattern, designed for high mileage thanks to a uniform tread wear; depending on the size it is labeled C, D or E for fuel efficiency and  B or C for the wet grip. Sound emissions are between 71 and 75 dB (A). The drive axle DRD focuses on durability and grip, thanks to optimized lateral grooves; the sizes are the same as the DRS, the energy class D or E. Grip is rated B or C and the noise level is between 73 and 75 dB (A). Classic design and high retreadability are prominent features of the DRT for trailers, coming in size 385/65, scoring a C for energy efficiency and grip while noise level stands at 71 dB (A). The off-road range starts from the DMSS, with deep grooves and a zig-zag design of the edges of the ribs; Available as 315/80, with energy efficiency labeled D, grip B and 70 dB (A).

Deep central groove which opens on the shoulder, zig-zag edges and ribs characterize the DMSD, also in size 315/80, scoring a D for energy efficiency, B for grip and a noise level of 75 dB (A). On the other hand, 386/65 is the size of the DMST, S shaped tread blocks, compound resistant to cuts and stone ejectors, with C rating for both  energy efficiency and grip and a noise level of 71dB (A).

 

New positions at Goodyear Dunlop

Antonio Calabretta (PHOTO) is the new commercial director of Goodyear Dunlop Industrial Vehicle division Italy. Calabretta, in Goodyear since 2000, previously worked as Supply Chain Director for Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal. He now replaces Luca Molgora, who has just expanded his responsibilities at European level as Industrial Vehicle sales and marketing manager for Western Europe.

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