In the manufacturing industry, tires are one of the components that will have the most impact on the machines’ productivity and the comfort of the operators; however, many old myths subsist in the material handling industry on how to choose the right tires, how to know when they need to be replaced and what can can be done to benefit from their full performance. Today, we demystify these erroneous beliefs for you. Under each myth, you’ll find a rectification that we hope will help/advise industry professionals.
Fact: When we talk about tires, there is no absolute solution. It always depends on the use of the forklift. Although solid tires are puncture-resistant, they are not always the best choice. For example, when there are long distances to be covered and heavy loads to be carried, radial tires perform better. They are also more comfortable. Some tires, like the resilient, offer better shock absorption and better traction. Press On tires, on the other hand, have a high load capacity but perform better over short distances and on even surfaces. Once again, it all depends on the needs, uses, and conditions in which the tires operate. Solideal On-Site Service representatives can help you make the best choice as possible.
- Myth: All tires are interchangeable, regardless of the forklift type.
Fact: Not quite. Although forklifts look alike, there are many different models; and depending on their characteristics, a certain tire technology may be more suitable for a specific forklift than another. Sometimes, certain forklifts can only take one specific kind of tire. For example, a forklift that is currently on resilient tires could be put on bias tires; however, if the machine is working with press-on tires, it must keep that particular model as the junction bolts are different from the other tires (resilient, bias and radial). Tire needs and requirements vary according to the maximum weight the vehicle can support, the type of ground it travels on, the use of it by forklift operators and the working environment.
- Myth: When it comes to forklifts, tire pressure doesn’t really matter
Fact: It all depends. In very intensive use, on high-capacity forklift trucks, radial technology tires can sometimes be installed. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires can have a significant impact on service life, machine handling and fuel efficiency. By inflating tires to the right pressure level, you can prevent wear and avoid unnecessary safety risks. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual to find the correct pressure.
- Myth: Solid tires don’t need to be replaced
Fact: Even if they are puncture-proof, solid tires wear out over time. Typically, a safety line is marked on Resilient tires to help you see when it needs to be replaced. On Solideal products, you’ll see a wear indicator called the 60J Safety Line. Wear exceeding this line can be dangerous. As for Press On, they have reached their maximum lifespan when the rubber reaches two-thirds of its initial height. The driving style of forklift operators, the type of soil and the number of shifts worked per day are all factors that can influence tire wear. Ignoring the signs and underestimating maintenance needs can lead to reduced performance, faster forklift wear and compromised safety.
- Myth: Tires don’t contribute to energy efficiency
Fact: All the components of a forklift are interrelated. Good maintenance of your equipment and tires can have a positive influence on your performance: reduced fuel consumption, better energy efficiency, reduced rolling resistance, etc. To find out more about the impact of tires on forklift performance, click here.
- Myth: Forklift tires don’t require regular maintenance
Fact: Regardless of the type of tire (Radial, Bias, Press On, Resilient), a minimum amount of attention must be given to maintenance requirements. Regular maintenance can include checking pressure, inspecting for signs of wear and replacement as required. Well-maintained tires will bring you more benefits than the opposite.
- Myth: Polyurethane tire filling makes tires indestructible
Fact: Polyurethane filling can improve puncture resistance and extend tire life. However, it does not make tires completely indestructible. They can still be damaged by extreme working conditions, excessive loads, or inappropriate use. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of wear to avoid potential damage.
- Myth: Tires can be regrooved several times without any problems.
Fact: Although regrooving can extend tire life by improving grip and traction, it cannot be carried out indefinitely. After repeated regrooving, the process can weaken the tire’s structure and resistance. Tire manufacturers generally provide guidelines on the maximum number of safe regrooving operations. Ignoring these recommendations can lead to tire failure and accidents. We encourage you to discuss this service further with your Solideal sales representative.
To conclude, when you want to maximize the durability of your tires, the performance of your equipment and the safety of your operators, it’s important to never neglect forklift tire maintenance. With a precise understanding of your tires and their maintenance, you’re sure to be winning in the end!