Michelin keeps the splash on the road
Every professional truck driver or motorist knows about the problem arising from wet roads. Especially overtaking a truck in the wet, which can be compared to a leap in the dark with a high level of risk when the rainwater is being splashed aside by the steer axle tyres. It’s this dangerous splash Michelin aims to counteract with a world-first: the patented Anti-Splash tread pattern.
With the introduction of a deflector into the tyre’s design, comprising a small horizontal rib on the shoulder between the sidewall and the tread of the tyre, the splash will be deflected back down towards the road surface. The bow wave effect, which is responsible for the visibility, and thus the safety, of the truck and the car drivers, will be minimised. Michelin firstly presented this innovation in tyre manufacturing in early April in Groß Dölln, north of Berlin, to a wider public.
In May Michelin brought the new Anti-Splash tread pattern onto the market through tyre dealers and hopes to achieve a share in the steer axle tyre market of about 20 percent by the end of 2005.Philippe Mussati, responsible brand manager for commercial vehicle tyres Europe, feels confident that the new deflector Anti-Splash will quickly become accepted in the market. Anti-Splash is supposed to be a “simple and very efficient innovation”, that was used originally in the aircraft industry to prevent the turbines from flooding through splash.
This world-first will change life on the streets fundamentally, Mussati promised during the presentation of the Anti-Splash tread pattern in Groß Dölln. Compared directly to a conventional Michelin steer axle tyre without the horizontal rib (315/80 R 22.5) the Anti-Splash tyre comes off well.
Driving through a puddle or a pool of water, a truck running on the new Michelin tyre reduces the height of water projection by a factor of four compared to that of a standard truck tyre. Under everyday conditions the new tyre water splash is measured up to a height of 50 centimetres, whereas the splash of a conventional steer axle tyre can easily reach a height of two metres. The advantage for the truck driver is evident: when he looks into the rear-view mirror while it is raining heavily he would usually see only a wall of water but he cannot see if a car driver is just about to overtake his truck.
The new Michelin Anti-Splash tyre 385/55 R 22.5 XFA 2 Energy changes this. The participants in the presentation in Germany were convinced that a good backward visibility for a truck driver could even be guaranteed under inadequate road conditions.
Thus Anti-Splash offers better visibility and safety. But there is also an advantage for the car driver on wet roads: when overtaking a truck that has Michelin’s innovative tread pattern on the steer axle tyres the splash will barely reach the car windows and thus generally ensure better safety on the road.As well as higher standards of safety, Michelin’s new low ratio tyre also offers the truck driver an extra advantage at the rear end of the truck: the trailer.
Limited by law in height, breadth and length there is only one way to extend the cargo capacity, which is by lowering the load floor. With its diameter 66 millimetres less than the present market leader, the new low profile 385/55 R 22.5 XTA 2 Energy tyre makes it possible for the forwarding agent to increase the cargo capacity of his trailer by up to four cubic metres.
In order to reach this optimum gain, the whole vehicle has to be adapted to the smaller tyres. According to Michelin the Anti-Splash tyre is only designed to be fitted on the steer axle because this is where the splash problem usually occurs – it is the steer axle tyres that pass through a puddle of water first and consequently displace the water sideways.The total carrying capacity is not affected by the gain in volume.
In addition the maximum steer axle load of a tyre in the dimension 315/70 R 22.5 (7.5 t) will be increased up to nine tons when the new low ratio tyres 385/55 R 22.
5 XTA 2 Energy is fitted on the rear axles. According to Michelin’s representatives the new and smaller tyre dimension allows for a mileage performance which is 30 percent higher than that of a conventional steer axle tyre 315/70 R 22.5.
The newly dimensioned commercial vehicle tyre with its Anti-Splash deflector can be retreaded, but should not be used during its second life on the steer axle, so Michelin says. For the steer axle the manufacturer recommends brand-new Anti-Splash tyres.Another advantage should be noted: the use of the smaller size tyre 385/55 R 22.
5 XTA 2 Energy moves the trailer’s centre of gravity closer the road surface. By this the whole truck gains a significant benefit in terms of safety compared to an ordinary truck. In particular in bends or when the truck driver has to avoid an accident by sudden steering manoeuvres the danger of lateral buckling is reduced.
In the end the smaller dimensioned 385/55 R 22.5 tyre weighs around six kgs less than a 385/65 R 22.5.