TRUCKS & BUSSES: PIRELLI QUICKENS THE PACE
Counting on the positive trend and reassuring outlook of the industrial segment, Pirelli revamps the Serie:01 with innovative regional, coach and all-season tires, bringing the Novatread brand for retreads also under the spotlight
Mino De Rigo
The goal, between now and 2017, is a constant growth in the industrial segment, an important target for Pirelli, through an aggressive strategy including the upgrading of the truck and bus tire range with the Serie:01 a second generation range of tires, and object of a flurry of announcements at the recent exhibition in Essen, which includes regional, coach and all-season tires for trailers and semi-trailers. Moreover, this has prompted the company to relocate some of its production sites, positioning them strategically in developing markets (where more than 70% of the demand for All-Steel goods is found) and areas with growth potential, like South America and North Africa. Alberto Viganò, Marketing director of Pirelli Industrial business unit, says: “During the past three years we have exceeded our own expectations. Despite the market’s contraction, we have been able to counteract the negative effects of a declining demand and unfavorable currency exchange (partly balanced by lower raw material costs) through higher efficiency and new tires, first and foremost the Serie:01”. That has been a best seller ever since its introduction in 2009. “We had to bridge the gap that separated us from our main competitors in terms of the overall offer, which we did in the last couple of years, while in terms of performance, the introduction of the Serie:01, doesn’t just bridge the gap, it projects us forward both in terms of safety and Total Costs of Ownership, one of the most important factors that transport companies consider before purchasing tires”.
A hub of original ideas
Retreading is a key factor. The simultaneous launch of the Novatread range, entirely rebuilt tires in original Pirelli moulds using new generation casings and original Serie:01 tread patterns, go in that direction. “Our second generation products – Viganò adds – boast casings with the latest SATT technology (Spiral Advanced Technology for Trucks), guaranteeing durability well beyond its original life span”. The basic features behind the Serie:01 include: a hexagonal bead wire (HBW) for easy tire fitting and greater retreadability, fully rubberized cord (FRC) to prevent oxidation and extend the tire’s life span, and, furthermore, a Dual layer tread compound (DLTC) where the outer layer is designed for higher mileage and better road handling while reducing breaking distance, at the same time the inner layer is responsible for preserving the tire structure and guaranteeing a lower rolling resistance. To these, a new feature, a Bead wrapped chafer (BWC) was added; thanks to the new tire compound and tread pattern FR:01 II, higher levels of durability, retreadability and road handling have been achieved. “At the moment – highlights the Pirelli manager – the Serie:01 represents already 58% of the total sales in the truck segment. These numbers are destined to grow, also thanks to the new European labeling confirming the great progress made, so much so that both the first and second generation 01 ranges figure at the top of their category both for low rolling resistance and braking distance on wet road”.
The regional range: more economical
A new generation of tires that sees in the forefront the regional range R:01II, which adopts completely the features summarized by the above mentioned acronyms Hbw, Bwc, Frc and Dltc, but also adds the 3sb (Three sandwich belts) technology, created for improved even-wear optimizing durability and steering precision. The two different tread patterns of the new tire range, FR:01II and TR:01II, are destined to both the driving and steering axles. Available in 315/70R22.5, 295/80R22.5 and 315/80R22.5 sizes, both tires take advantage from a tread pattern, designed for better grip and steering precision in both wet and dry conditions, while simultaneously reducing, thanks to the precious contribution of the double layer compound, noise and dispersed energy. Specifically the FR:01II shows a wider tread compared to the previous model, for greater mileage, 4 zig-zag grooves and robust longitudinal ribs to reduce braking distance and innovative shoulder tread contour (RSR) that allows optimum distribution of the footprint contact pressure. Based on recent Pirelli tests, the greatest advantage over the previous models consists mainly in higher mileage, well over 20% more, to be added to a 10% improvement in road handling in both wet and dry conditions, greater retreadability and wear resistance. The latter, instead, is the strong point of the new TR:01II (marked M+S and 3PMSF), higher by 20% over its predecessor, says Pirelli; to be added to a 10% improvement in mileage, retreadability, road handling and traction in snowy conditions.
Comfort over long distances
Made for long passenger transport, the new H:01 Coach series, divided into FH:01 Coach, for all axles, and TH:01 Coach for driving axles, confirms the tread patterns of the previous model. The differences relate to the tire’s structure and compound adopting the aforementioned technology. Therefore, while grip remains unchanged in wet and dry conditions, the new Pirelli FH:01 Coach tire shows a 20% improvement in mileage compared to the old FH:01 and a 10% progress in even wear, retreadability and driving comfort. This latter characteristic is where the new TH:01 Coach (marked M+S and 3PMSF) shows a great difference over its predecessor, resulting in a 20% more comfortable ride, while increasing at the same time mileage by 10%, even-wear and retreadability. Both tires are now available in size 295/80R22.5, with higher load index 154/149M for the FH:01 Coach; at the same time, the FH:01 range receives two new sizes, 315/70 and 315/60, for extra load. Completing the range of new products for the segment, the All-season ST:01 tire for trailers and semi-trailers (marked M+S) size 385/65R22.5. While the tire structure remains the same as the ST:01 already on the market, improvements are to be found on reinforced sidewalls for greater resistance to lateral impact and rubbing, and on a wider tread with a higher land to sea ratio to reduce stone retention and improve road handling; for their part, diagonal grooves on the sidewalls enhance grip on slippery and icy roads. Designed for medium and long distances, it maintains the same durability of the old ST:01, while improving by 10%, according to Pirelli tests, retreadability and grip in winter conditions.
NOVATREAD, RETREADS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
As total cost of ownership is increasingly important, Pirelli rediscovers retreads under the brand Novatread. Bringing the brand back under the spotlight is the new products in the truck & bus segments, the new Serie:01, with integrally retreaded tires. Alberto Viganò, marketing director of Pirelli Industrial division explains: "Novatread represents the best choice for those who look for performance similar to new tires at a competitive price. The casings, exclusively Pirelli, are all new generation casings. The retreading, or hot cure process in a mould, calls for an accurate inspection of the tires upon arrival, and the same tread patterns of the Serie:01 as well as the use of compounds created to provide the best possible balance between mileage, even wear and low rolling resistance”. The production start-up, thanks to an agreement with Marangoni, provides for three initial sizes for driving axles and trailers: 315/70R22.5 TH:01, 315/80R22.5 TR:01 and 385/65R22.5 ST:01 Standard.