Improve efficiency

Oct. 1, 2006
THE GOODYEAR Tire & Rubber Company has introduced a new fuel-efficient commercial tire technology, as well as three new tires for longhaul trucks, and

THE GOODYEAR Tire & Rubber Company has introduced a new fuel-efficient commercial tire technology, as well as three new tires for longhaul trucks, and is spotlighting the company's built-in tire sealant.

The new Fuel Max Technology — focused on trucking's fuel and tire costs — is the “most cost-effective way to deal with rising fuel prices and improving vehicle fuel efficiency,” said Steve McClellan, Goodyear vice-president of commercial tire systems.

The line includes new steer, drive, and trailer tires and retreads for a complete “cradle-to-grave” system for truck fleets and owner-operators. An 18-wheeler outfitted with tires featuring Fuel Max Technology could achieve up to 4% improved fuel economy, McClellan said.

The tire sealant, Goodyear's DuraSeal Technology, instantly plugs tread punctures without time-consuming or messy application of aftermarket sealants. Until now, messy, liquid-based, aftermarket sealants were a fleet's defense against nail punctures. Not only do these sealants tend to dry out and become less effective, but they're inconvenient to re-apply. Because of this, many fleets opt not to use them at all. And those fleets that do must take their trucks out of service to repair punctures — resulting in costly downtime, Goodyear said.

The new tires with Fuel Max Technology blend fuel efficiency with long tread life and excellent performance. Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) test results showed an 8% improvement in vehicle fuel economy compared with standard Goodyear over-the-road tires.

“The test showed what our tires are capable of achieving in a controlled test environment,” said Jon Bellissimo, Goodyear's director of technology for commercial tires.

Following SAE test procedures, the new tires were driven at highway speeds at Goodyear's Proving Grounds in San Angelo, Texas, to benchmark the performance of the Fuel Max Technology line compared to conventional Goodyear commercial tires.

Since no one drives at constant speed on flat terrain for a 10-hour shift, Goodyear engineers adjusted the SAE results to 4% to estimate real-world conditions, such as varying driver inputs, road conditions and terrain, and truck aerodynamics.

Bellissimo said a 4% boost in fuel economy could mean significant savings for fleets switching to Fuel Max Technology. Improving a truck's six miles per gallon to 6.24 mpg with Fuel Max Technology saves up to $2,100 in fuel per year (assuming the truck is driven 120,000 miles per year and fuel costs $2.85 a gallon).

“From a return-on-investment perspective, the tire payback is virtually immediate,” Bellissimo added.

McClellan agreed, saying, “The potential fuel savings with Fuel Max Technology will help customers reduce their operating costs. The use of innovative tread designs, along with advanced compound and manufacturing technologies, allowed us to drive improved fuel economy while maintaining a low cost-per-mile for our customers.”

Goodyear tires featuring Fuel Max Technology include the Unisteel G395 LHS steer tire. “The G395 LHS earned its premier steer tire title in the industry thanks to a long and uniform mileage performance and robust casing,” said Donn Kramer, commercial tire marketing director. “We've focused on design and manufacturing for this tire, and it has driven down tire costs.”

Goodyear's four-belt package casing design features high-tensile steel in its three inner belts. The top belt is made with polyamide, which protects the steel-belt package from moisture and reduces tread squirm in the tire footprint during cornering, the company said.

The G395 LHS steer tire is available in sizes 295/75R22.5, 11R22.5, and 285/75R24.5

The Unisteel G305 LHD drive tire is designed for fuel efficiency while providing excellent miles to removal, traction, confident handling, and retreadability.

“The tire casing features an all-steel, four-belt package with optimized belt angles that offer a robust low-rolling package,” said Kramer.

The 26/32-inch tread of large, stable blocks also helps reduce tread squirm. Two circumferential and extended lateral grooves, coupled with a non-evolving tread design, provides excellent traction in all weather conditions. A closed shoulder design further helps promote even tread wear.

The tire is available in 11R22.5, 295/75R22.5, and 285/75R24.5 sizes.

Goodyear's Unisteel G316 LHT trailer tire in 11R22.5, 295/75R22.5, and 285/75R24.5 sizes contains low-rolling tread compounds as part of the Fuel Max Technology. The tire uses a cool-running, triple-compound construction that reduces energy generated within the tread. The casing features an all-steel four-belt package, ensuring a solid foundation for multiple treads, Kramer said.

A solid shoulder rib and pressure distribution groove, borrowed from the G395 LHS steer tire, helps resist shoulder wear. Two circumferential grooves and lateral grooves provide all-season performance.

Goodyear also is offering UniCircle and precure retreading with Fuel Max Technology. “Because retreads match the same innovative tread designs of our new Fuel Max tires, that's a huge advantage for our customers,” McClellan said.