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11/01/2017
UNRESTRAINED INNOVATION

Eima International 2016

 

At EIMA, the main Italian farming automation trade fair, held recently in Bologna, many new tires were on display  with a special focus on respect for the environment and organic farming

Massimo Condolo

Non-aggressive tires to prevent soil compaction, tires suitable for organic farming, and specially designed tires for telescopic handlers working in farms, are the autumn news driving the farming tire industry. This was quite evident at Eima, the great Bologna farming equipment trade fair (9-13 November), where the premium brands keep searching for optimum performance and greater durability.

 

Bibendum’s giant

Whether it was for its size or the prestige of the brand, Michelin’s VF AxioBib 2 was the star of the show. It’s not the largest of the range, mind you, and in fact it is dedicated to medium/high-power tractors; The standard dimensions are two: 540/65 R30 158D/155E and 650/65 R42 174D/171E. The load and speed ratings are unprecedented and at the top of the category; the VF symbol indicates high flexibility. The AxioBib 2 is a tire designed for tractors engaged in intensive use and frequent travelling on the road. Designed to reduce soil compaction, the new Michelin’s tire facilitates germination and the consequent growth of the plant, which results in a greater yield. Suitable for intensive farming, with combinators, folding tools or seed drills, the AxioBib 2 is perfectly at ease also in post-harvesting transport and manure spreading. Organic farmers will benefit from the soil protection offered by the low pressure, the patented Ultraflex technology, and from the larger footprint (19%), which improves traction by 35% despite a 30% reduction in fuel consumption. The AxioBib 2 is compatible with the original wheels of just about any tractor (it is in fact marked "NarrowRimOption" NRO) and any pressure control systems currently on the market. The inflation pressure can be reduced to 0.6 bar for a lighter action on the ground; if the tractor is equipped with an on-board tire inflation system, the operator can take advantage of a very wide option of pressure reduction, only to inflate the tire later when needed, for example for road travelling.

 

Long live Firestone!

11% deeper tread lugs, 24% longer and wider by 9 ensure the new Firestone Maxi Traction 65 a longer life and consistent performance during the entire working cycle. The new design improves traction by 4% despite guaranteeing a substantial reduction in fuel consumption, while the new dual-angle lug design increased by 4%  provides a larger contact patch, better self-cleaning action and better weight distribution. The operating pressure can vary from 0.6 to 2.4 bar and standard sizes ranging from 440/65 R24 to 650/65 R42 158D/155E, for 24” rims (440/65, 480/65 and 540/65), 28 "(440/65, 480/65 and 540/65), 30" (540/65), 34 "(540/65 and 600/65), 38" (540/65, 600/65) and 42 "(650/65). The maximum load per tire is 7315 kg (size 650 / 65R38, inflated to 2.4 bar, Speed 10 km/h).

 

Full Scandinavian range

The latest product unveiled by Trelleborg, the Swedish group which owns also the Czech brand Mitas, also included low pressure tires for medium/high power tractors. Called TM1060, the new VF tractor tire is destined for machines in excess of 300 hp and is also suitable for narrow rims (NRO). Improved traction through slip reduction is also the objective of the TM 700, designed with Progressive Traction technology, while the TM150 bets on lateral stability to ensure a high road travelling speed (65 km / h) carrying high loads even at low inflation pressure. The TM3000 is a low pressure tire for the latest harvesters, created to speed up the production cycle. The TM1000 is a low pressure tire for more powerful tractors, while the TH400 is dedicated to telescopic handlers which, working in the farming sector, might need to travel either on cultivated soil or on paved surfaces and tar roads. Mitas too showcased two new tires: Agriterra Flotation HC2000 and the HCM. The first is a VF for high-power tractors, which significantly reduces soil compaction; It’s 11% wider than its direct competitors and with an 11% wider footprint. With this model Mitas’ flotation tires rise to 14. The HCM, instead, is intended for a more "Municipal" use of the tractor, from gardening to small shipyards and snow removal, being at ease on a wide variety of roads whether dry, muddy or snow-clad. Already available in four sizes for rims ranging between 24, 28 and 38", Mitas now supplies the new 540/80 R38. Not to be overlooked is a new app available to clients of both brands, which provides information such as inflation pressures, sales and service outlets, as well as models and sizes available in the catalog. Still in the Mitas range, but showcased in Intergomma’s stand (official Mitas distributor in Italy), we found the AR 01 size 710/50 R26,5, dedicated to tractors transporting goods from farm to farm. Characterized by an excellent quality/price ratio, its price list is comparable to that of a retreaded premium tire. Intergomma also imports Aeolus farming tires; and on this front the news here was the AGP23, a tire for telescopic handlers working in farms and fields. Not many competitors in this segment and the availability is above average.

 

From tractors to telescopic handlers

Apollo, present here as the leading group brand along with the best-known Dutch brand Vredestein, unveiled tires for tractors and other farming machines, all characterized by a series of innovations ranging from completely new models or the expansion of already well known ranges. The Vredestein TractionHarvest is intended for harvesting machines such as combine harvesters, able to work at lower pressures than standard and is available in five sizes ranging from 620/75 R26 to 900/60 R32. Next up the new Traxion, which reduces soil compaction and fuel consumption. The Traxion Versa, instead, is a model for tractors intended to work on soft ground. The Endurion, on the other hand, is a tire for hard surfaces, suitable for telescopic handlers, able to increase lateral stability thanks to a central stabilizing ring. Its tread has the highest rubber content of the category, 44%, making it a durable and reliable tire. Furthermore, the Flotation Trac range boasted a new size range (ten new ones were recently introduced) as well as Traxion 85 (nine). Finally, the Apollo AMP 928, finally, is dedicated to compact loaders and is available in sizes 405/70 R20 and R24.

 

ATG becomes Japanese

The Atg Group, which owns also brands such as Alliance, Galaxy and Primex, has recently passed under the aegis of the Yokohama Rubber Company. The group’s latest news in Bologna were the Alliance 354 Agriflex +, a "low pressure" tire for spreaders with a 40% higher load capacity and a top speed of 65 km/h on the road; and whether the tank is full or empty no pressure adjustments are required. The Alliance 376 IF Multistar is a product for hard soils, such as combine harvesters or tank trailers. Available as 10,50 / 50 R32, provides a 20% increased load capacity. The Allaince 390 HD is designed for tough applications, on hard surfaces and with a high risk of punctures. The casing boasts a sturdy special structure and compound. The Allaince 372IF Agriflex, instead, is a medium/high power tractor tire with a 20% higher load capacity. Beefy Baby SDS represents Galaxy’s proposition, with solid rubber wheels destined for forklifts working in aggressive environments; Available ready for installation, with a built-in rim.

 

Hi-tech news from India

News at the top of the range for BKT, the Indian rubber giant that has its European headquarters in Seregno, in Brianza. It's called Agrimax Force and it’s made for tractors from 250 hp and above. It can travel up to 65 km/h without changing the inflation pressure, and offers high load capacity even with low internal pressures. AgrimaxSirio, on the other hand, is the model designed for towing and high loads and has a maximum speed of 70 km/h offering a low rolling resistance. Working between the rows without damaging the crops is Agrimax Spargo’s mission, intended for sprayers. Even in this case, the load capacity was improved compared to previous models. Intended for telescopic handlers (machines with forks produced, for example, by Merlo and Manitou), is the Multimax MP527, which is now available in size 440/80 R24.

 

 

NOT JUST TRACTORS

Organized every two years, EIMA is the international trade fair for farming and gardening equipment. Organized by FederUnacoma, a part of Confindustria that represents farming equipment manufacturers, and occupying the entire exhibition center in Bologna, the latest event attracted over 285 thousand people from 140 countries, a 21% increase compared to 2015. Foreign visitors were 44 thousand, thanks to the 80 organized delegations; the countries in attendance were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Iran and Peru. More than 1,900 exhibitors, representing all sectors of the farming industry, from tractors to irrigation systems, from gardening to components. Noteworthy was the presence of large tire manufacturers such as Michelin and Firestone, and true specialists like Trelleborg and Vredestein; not to mention Asian producers such as Aeolus and Apollo. Moreover. The 2016 edition was characterized by the strong presence of the aftermarket sector, for example with an interesting initiative for the upgrading of obsolete tractors, and for the attention paid to bio-energy technologies, with biomass produced from processing waste.

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