Continental HTL1 has stone ejection system, offers long life

Sept. 1, 2009
Continental Tire North America Inc customers are finding the benefits of rocking out by using its first super wide trailer tire, the HTL1, in on-/off-road and construction trucking applications

Continental Tire North America Inc customers are finding the benefits of “rocking out” by using its first super wide trailer tire, the HTL1, in on-/off-road and construction trucking applications.

Designed for weight savings and fuel efficiency, the HTL1 (Heavy Trailer Long-Haul) is a super single tire that replaces duals on highway or regional trailer axle fitments. It was introduced to NAFTA countries July 1, 2009, and features 13/32” tread depth, which minimizes irregular wear and maximizes fuel efficiency. The six rib design evenly distributes the load over the crown of the tire to protect the tread pattern from irregular wear, and a decoupler rib provides better irregular wear resistance at the shoulder.

Fleets that must conserve weight, such as fuel or bulk haulers, can use the HTL1 instead of a dual fitment in order to reduce vehicle weight, making more payload capacity possible. The tire also provides greater fuel efficiency through advanced compounding and reduced rolling resistance.

Trucking fleets already using the HTL1 are reporting another benefit of this tire. Although most trucking fleets choose a super single trailer tire to reduce weight or increase fuel economy, customers that choose Continental said they have found that its stone ejection system increases the longevity of the tire over other super single trailer tires they have used.

Continental's stone ejection system is a series of pyramids cut at unique angles in the groove that expel small stones, often picked up as the tire runs over the highway. Over time the stones can drill into the tire's casing, causing damage serious enough to warrant removal from service and even preventing the tire from being retreaded, said Roger Stansbie, Continental's director of radial truck tire technologies — NAFTA.

“The HTL1's pyramidal stone ejectors work by ejecting these small stones or preventing them from reaching the bottom of the groove, where premature casing damage can start,” Stansbie said. “Even with the addition of the pyramids, the groove bottom still offers sufficient passage for water, ice, and snow.”

One advantage of this pyramidal design is that the pyramids can withstand abuse and wear to a greater degree because they are connected to the groove side, as opposed to free-standing, Stansbie said. The pyramids are designed to maintain their effectiveness throughout the life of the tire.

Each tire and casing irreparably damaged by stones represents a loss of hundreds of dollars in premature replacement, so the stone ejection system of the HTL1 has proven attractive to fleets operating in on-/off-road and construction applications, which are more likely to encounter stone trapping problems. Superior Ready Mix Concrete LP, one of the largest manufacturers of concrete and aggregate construction products in California, said it was an easy choice to start using Continental for their wide base trailer tires.

“The main reason we switched over to Continental's HTL1 was the stone drilling aspect. Almost every tire on our bottom-dump trailer tires eventually has to be scrapped. With Continental, this has not been an issue,” said Lauren Jongetjes, fleet tire manager.

Superior Ready Mix's fleet includes approximately 700 power units, with 90 dump trucks, 30 cement powder haulers, 450 concrete mixers, 110 bottom-dump trucks and trailers, and other vehicles in operation across California. Jongetjes said they first experienced the benefits of Continental's stone ejection technologies after switching their steer tires to the HSR (Heavy Steer Regional tire, now replaced by the HSR2). He said they also found that Continental's HSL2 (Heavy Steer Long-Haul) and HDL2 DL (Heavy Drive Long-Haul Deep Lug) are less likely to retain stones than other tires they have used. Overall, his fleet uses Continental tires for more than 50% of its tire needs.

Superior Ready Mix has used wide base tires on the bottom dump trailers for more than 10 years. Jongetjes said when he saw that the HTL1 came in the 445/50/R22.5 size and included stone ejection technology, he knew it was time to switch to Continental's wide base.

“As soon as I saw the tread design of the HTL1, I knew it was what we needed. Nobody else in the market had anything that fits the description of what we needed, which was a tire that provides weight savings but also fits our application,” Jongetjes said.

“It's doing exactly what I was hoping. For our application it's definitely the best fit.”

In addition to providing tire longevity by reducing the stones, Jongetjes said Superior Ready Mix also sees another financial benefit to using the HTL1. California freeways are often crowded, and his company pays a significant amount each month in broken windshield claims from passing motorists.

As the Superior Ready Mix trucks travel across construction sites and then reach the freeways, if stones are retained they can eject at high speeds and damage passenger cars. Since the HTL1 reduces initial trapping of the stones, Jongetjes said his company expects to reduce its cost of windshield replacements significantly.

Clif Armstrong, director of marketing for Continental commercial vehicle tires — NAFTA, agreed the HTL1's advantages of both weight savings and stone ejection make this tire ideal for the trailer position in construction and on/off road applications.

“We think fleets in these applications who try the HTL1 will agree that it ‘rocks out’ when it comes to stone ejection. In today's economy, it's important to not only save weight and fuel with your tires, but to be able to continue using them throughout their expected lifetime, which includes retreading.

“If your fleet is looking to reduce weight, save fuel, and use a long-lasting trailer tire which is less susceptible to damage, the HTL1 is a great solution that will lower your overall driving costs,” Armstrong said.

Maximum load capacity of each HTL1 is 10,200 lbs at 120 psi, and the tires can be used at a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph. The HTL1 is available in a 445/50R22.5 size.

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