TRIAL: Three tyre types are being tested
Michelin have kicked off an extensive 12-month trial with Suckling Transport, comparing the wear rate of three key truck tyre sizes for their forthcoming fleet additions.
The trial aims to determine the best new fitment strategy for the petroleum haulage contractor, prior to the first Euro VI vehicles joining their fleet.
With larger tyre size likely required to cope with the Euro VI’s 200kg weight increase, X MultiWay 3D XZE (steer), XDE (drive); 315/70 R 22.5; and 315/80 R 22.5 tyres are being tested.
Suckling Transport currently specify 295/80 R 22.5 Michelin tyres as original equipment on its steer and drive axles, but these will be inadequate for their new vehicles.
Michelin will monitor each tyre set to determine which option will provide the best results for Suckling’s petroleum tanker fleet.
The tyres will be tested on three new 6×2 MAN TGS 440 tractor units, which each underwent a vehicle weighing exercise conducted by a Michelin Technical Manager ahead of the trial.
This was to determine optimum inflation pressures.
The data will be particularly important to Suckling Transport, to determine the company’s future tyre strategy, while providing Michelin with vital performance data to share with other customers.
Guy Heywood, Commercial Director of Michelin’s truck division in the UK, said: “We’re widely expecting tyre sizes to change as manufacturers open up their order books for right-hand drive Euro VI trucks.
“315/70s and 315/80s have long been the tyre of choice for operators on the continent, whilst many UK fleets have tended to prefer 295/80 steer and drive tyres.
“Despite the changes with the new emissions legislation, the 295/80 will remain the top selling tyre in the UK for many years to come, driven by significant demand on the replacement market for pre-Euro VI vehicles.”
Suckling Transport operate a fleet of 60 tractor units and 64 tankers, delivering petroleum products nationwide to customers including Shell and Phillips 66.
Its vehicles are double shifted seven days a week, and collectively the fleet covers more than 10million kilometres every year.
Dan Bauckham, Director of Engineering at Suckling Transport, said: “We decided to work with Michelin to trial all three tyre sizes as it’s critical for us to have the optimum size and load rating for the liquids we are transporting.
“Although we have found the wear and fuel consumption of Michelin’s 295/80 R 22.5 tyres very impressive, when we start taking delivery of Euro VI vehicles we’ll have to choose between 315/70 and 315/80 fitments.
“This trial will help us decide which, whilst providing an accurate benchmark against our existing 295/80 preference.”
“It’s important for us to operate the safest possible fleet which is why we fit Michelins.
“However, it’s a fine balance in deciding precisely which tyre size will give us the best combination of tyre life, fuel-efficiency and payload potential.
“On paper we expect the 315/80 tyres will offer slightly increased longevity, but that carries a reduction in payload capacity of approximately 50kg compared with fitting a set of 315/70s.
“The results of the trial are going to prove very interesting.”
Michelin’s X MultiWay 3D range benefits from three-dimensional tread sipes, which generate grip in difficult driving conditions.
They lock together when needed to maintain the stability of the tread, while helping to provide lasting safety and mobility on dry, damp and wet surfaces.
Designed for both national and regional operators, the tyre completed its 295/80 R 22.5 launch into the UK market in January 2013.
The 315/70 and 315/80 X MultiWay 3D steer and drive tyres have already quickly established themselves among the top-selling Michelin commercial vehicle types in Europe.
They have been on the market since 2011.
The trial is one of several joint projects between Suckling Transport and Michelin since the haulier re-signed its pence per kilometre (PPK) contract with Michelin in July 2008.