MICHELIN: A DELICATE FOOTPRINT
Farming and long distance transport tires
From farming to road transport, Michelin’ new tires reduce harmful emissions and prevent soil compaction. Helped by advanced monitoring practices and cutting edge production methods
Dealing gently with the soil
Sprayers are used in agriculture to pour out treatments and pesticides on crops arranged in rows. Whether dedicated trailers pulled by tractors, large self-propelled machines or equipment (tanks and arms with nozzles) mounted on tractors. What all these solutions have in common is the need to fit narrow tires, able to move between the rows without damaging the crop and without compacting the soil. For this reason, specific ranges of tires with low cross section, less than 300 mm. have been introduced. Productivity, performance, crop and soil protection are primary requirements in this sector. Kleber, part of Michelin’s Group, is the brand specialized in these tires with its Cropker range, available from January, which replaces the previous Super 3. The new tread improves the life span of the central area and field performance is enhanced by a new belt. The new lug design, which reduces the "bucket effect", and the broad flat shoulder that optimizes weight distribution, play a big part in reducing soil compaction and enhancing crop protection, which is critical especially in organic crops. Furthermore, the new shoulder design improves the contact patch; the grooves limit the volume of soil trapped and at the same time increase soil expulsion, improving traction and reducing the amount of dirt left on the roads while travelling. Compared to the previous range, the maximum speed has significantly increased to 65 km/h, to meet the growing need, also for farming machines, for greater mobility on normal tar roads. Along with increased load capacity, remarkable on all new sizes of the Cropker range, moving faster contributes significantly to improve the productivity of the machines. The range offers eight sizes: 270/95 R48 and R32 (load and speed index 144D/147A8 and 136D/139A8 respectively), 300/95 R46 and R52 (148D/151A8 and 151D/145A8), 270/95 R38 and R54 (140D/143A8 and 146D/149A8) and 230/95 R48 and R32 (136D/139A8 and 128D/131A8).
A virtuous cycle
There is a lot of Michelin’s technology to be found behind one of the most promising fuel alternatives in the trucking business, LNG! One of the most important applications of this fuel in Europe is the InBlue project launched by LC3, a transport and logistics company based in Gubbio (PG). The company began studying the use of LNG back in 2011 on long distance routes, including international transport. In its liquid state, which greatly increases the amount of Natural Gas that can be stored on board a vehicle, LNG can guarantee an operating range of 1000 km, comparable to most diesel trucks. In 2014, Michelin introduced a range of truck tires, which show how the company is engaged on two fronts: supplying low environmental impact tires and checking the status of both the tires and driving style, with Michelin Solution being entrusted in looking after these last two aspects. Under Iveco’s Stralis tractor (40 of the first 330 HP version with a narrow cabin and 30 of the newest 400 HP large cabin version) we find X-Line Energy tires, with an “A” for energy rating on all axles: steering axles, drive axles as well as trailer axles, a “triple A”. Furthermore, the X-Line D2 drive axle is the first A rated tire in rolling resistance. The steering X-Line Energy F and X-Line Energy T for trailers complete the equipment, with a declared fuel saving of one liter per 100 km, which is equivalent to a reduction of 2.66 kg carbon dioxide on the same mileage. Michelin Solutions detects the conditions of LC3 vehicles in real time: the constant monitoring of both internal pressure and temperature prevents fuel wastage and tire damage, optimizing replacement and retreading time. The increased life span of both the casings and tread patterns also plays an important role in reducing unnecessary waste: LC3 has, in fact, reduced the amount of EOL tires by 20 tons a year. If all transport companies, in Italy, made good use of such a monitoring system, the reduction of ELTs in the country would amount to over 30 thousand tons. These services are offered by Iveco in its TCO2 Live package; equivalent deals are also found in other Michelin Solutions programs such as Effitires, Effifuel and Effitrailer.
A new “Eco-friendly” generation
Since the first Michelin Energy appeared, six generations of low rolling resistance tires have been created. X-Line Energy D2 represents the latest, a drive axle tire that, along with its steering counterpart X-Line Energy S, are the standard factory equipment on the new Iveco Stralis NP and XP (respectively the new 400 HP LNG version and the fourth generation of the Stralis diesel range boasting 570 HP). The slogan chosen by Iveco for this latter range is “TCO2Champion”, to emphasize the outstanding results in both the total cost of ownership (TCO) and carbon dioxide emission(CO2). The X-Line Energy D2 replaces carbon black with silica, which increases the tire’s life span and reduces rolling resistance. Energy Flex casings marks a further development along with second-generation Infinicoil steel cables: smaller and sturdier than their predecessors, they also reduce the rolling mass. The D2 also boast M + S and 3PMSF markings.
The award winning versatile option
The "2 in 1" Michelin technology for farming tires won the 2017 Sima Innovation Awards. The innovation award is assigned during each Sima edition, the international farming trade fair held at the Parc des Expositions Paris Nord (the 2017 Edition will be held from February 26 to March 2). This award-winning technology allows the tire to adapt to different conditions of use and inflation pressure: during field operations, where the pressure is lower than normal, the footprint is broadened thus reducing soil compaction. On tarmac, with higher pressure, only the central part of the tire actually works. This reduces fuel consumption by 20% improving safety and comfort at the same time.
Changes at the top of Michelin’s Agriculture Division. Gabriele Borchia, in Michelin since 2003, is the new Agriculture Product Marketing Manager; previously he was the technical/commercial manager and trainer. Enzo Siconolfi, previously account manager, business analyst and pricer , in Michelin since 2011, is the new Farm Marketing Manager. Massimo Betto, in charge since 2014, remains as the Agriculture Commercial Director, with a long career in Michelin in France, Italy and Romania.