Michelin Going the Distance for Samworth Brothers
Samworth Brothers are, as Tyres & Accessories reported in February 2008, well acquainted with receiving high mileage from their Michelin tyres. Now the tyre maker reports that the chilled consolidator has clocked up more than 723,000 km on a set of Michelin XDE2+ drive axle tyres which were fitted as original equipment on a MAN TGA 26.440 6×2 tractor unit it operates. The tyres were removed at 723,417 km, with 4mm of tread remaining, and regrooved for a second life. It is expected that the regrooved tyres will cover up to an additional 180,000 km before being returned to Michelin for remoulding into Remix tyres.
According to Samworth Brothers, a “great number” of its vehicles achieve this sort of drive axle tyre performance, an achievement it puts down to its long-standing commitment to good tyre management and the strength of Michelin’s Four Lives package which it has followed for ten years. The MAN tractor unit in question entered operation in July 2007 and, like the majority of the vehicles in the 140-strong fleet, is plated at 44 tonnes and can run for up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, clocking up approximately 300,000 km a year. Running primarily on motorways, the fleet is used to deliver payloads ranging from chilled pasties to sacks of potatoes. “The secret to clocking up such an exceptional mileage is using high quality tyres, and having a good tyre management policy in place,” stated Samworth Brothers’ fleet manager, Graeme Hawker.
Once the regrooved drive axle tyres have seen service they will be sent to Michelin’s Remix facility in Stoke-on-Trent, where any existing tread rubber is stripped away and the casing remoulded with a new layer of rubber in a process that Michelin says closely mirrors the way in which a new tyre is built. Indeed, Michelin comments that the strength of its casings plus the Remix process enable a Remix tyre to deliver similar performance to that of a new tyre. Remix tyres can also be regrooved to offer a fourth life on the fleet.
“We always send our worn Michelin tyres back to the Remix plant, rather than to any other remoulding company,” added Hawker. “Once a Remix tyre is mounted on a rim, everything you can see is new rubber and the performance we get is just as good as a brand new Michelin tyre.”
According to Michelin, Remix tyres reduce the amount of raw materials needed to construct a new truck tyre by nearly 30 per cent. The company adds that its commitment to regrooving also helps to maximise the most fuel-efficient state of the tyre owing to the tyre’s reduced rolling resistance, which helps to improve fuel economy by as much as 10 per cent compared with a new tyre.