We call this the transforming tire,” said Michelin Tire’s Mike Pantaleo, as he stood beside his company’s display of new tire technology during the Ag in Motion farm show near Saskatoon in July. “It’s a brand new tire and it’s brand new technology. We launched it in January in France at the SIMA show.”
He was talking about Michelin’s new EvoBIB ag tire designed for high-horsepower tractors. It’s designed to work more efficiently both on the road and in the field. It a good match for the on-board central inflation systems some tractors and at least one retrofit product now offer. The EvoBIB is designed to maximize traction and performance at different internal pressures. It can be aired up to a high pressure for high-speed road travel and then deflated to a lower pressure to maximize traction in the field.
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Although all radial ag tires can work reasonably well within a limited range of pressure settings, the unique thing about the EvoBIB is it is specifically engineered to offer two different effective footprints. A narrower one when inflation is high and a much wider one to decrease compaction and maximize traction when pressure is low. Michelin refers to it as a “two in one” tire.
Using the 710/70R42 display tire at the show as an example, Pantaleo explained how much the footprint changes. “(At high inflation), you’re going to get 710 millimetres of tread on the ground when it’s on the road. We want to minimize the amount of rolling resistance. When it gets to the field (and the pressure is reduced), now the tire actually becomes 860 millimetres in width. And because of the deflection, we’re going to have a very big footprint.”
“The reason we call it a transforming tire is we’ve designed the shoulders to hinge,” Pantaleo continues. “For those that feel you can just take a regular tire and do this, you can’t.”
The gap near the ends of the tread bars allows the sides of the tire tread face to actually hinge down and provide full grip across the expanded footprint in the field. At higher pressures only the central continuous sections of the tread bars grip the road, giving a smoother vibration-free ride, as well as fuel savings and improved safety.
The EvoBIBs will go on sale sometime in 2018.
Right now EvoBIBs will be available in two sizes, 710/70R42 and a 600/70R30. But Pantaleo says the range of sizes will be increased after production kicks off in the coming months.
The EvoBIBs fall into the VF (very high flexion) tire category and into Michelin’s Ultraflex technology suite of tires, which offer, what the company claims, are the highest load ratings for comparable tires in their class.