Michelin “Doubles Up” for Lamma 2011
The UK’s leading farm machinery and equipment show Lamma 2011 will be taking place at the Newark and Nottinghamshire Showground from Wednesday and Michelin will be exhibiting both its synonymous brand and its Kleber brand agricultural tyres at Stand B96, Avenue U. Michelin says its investment will enable the company to display the largest line-up of agricultural tyres in a four year history of attending the show.
Michelin will use the event to showcase its patented Ultraflex technology, which has been developed primarily for larger farming and contracting operations and features in its proven XeoBib and AxioBib tractor tyres. This Ultraflex technology enables the protection of agronomic soil thanks to a reduction in tyre pressure for the load carried, a feature made possible through increased casing deflection. The resulting increase in tyre footprint also improves farm productivity, according to the French tyre giant, with up to a 20 per cent improvement in fuel economy and time savings thanks to significantly improved traction.
Joining the XeoBib and AxioBib on display will be the recently launched CerexBib combine harvester tyre, which also incorporates Ultraflex technology. Available on the latest generation of Claas machines, with which Michelin has development links, the tyre reduces machine widths by up to 15 per cent on the road in comparison with a conventional harvester tyre. This in turn allows manufacturers to equip larger machines without exceeding a width of 3.5 metres; the critical point at which special order movements from the Police and on-road escorts are required. It will be launched into the replacement market in May 2011.
Also making its Lamma debut will be the new Kleber Gripker 65-series tyres, which join the proven Topker, Fitker 70-series and Traker 85-series within the growing Kleber portfolio. The Kleber Gripker is purpose-designed to suit 80 to 180hp tractors, offering the optimum drive axle fitment for mixed farming and livestock operations. Farmers and contractors specifying Gripker tyres can benefit from excellent grip and superior soil protection compared to the previous generation Kleber Super 11L, with lugs designed to reduce damage to emerging crops and grasslands. This new fitment is also suited to road use and carries a D speed rating, allowing travel at up to 65 km/h.
The pressures of modern farming have driven a requirement for more powerful and wider harvesters to improve productivity, with the latest combines featuring larger harvesting headers, increased threshing capacity and even more powerful engines, which has increased overall machine size and weight significantly.
Rob Beddis, commercial director of Michelin’s Agricultural division in the UK and Republic of Ireland, explains: “Compared to a conventional tyre, CerexBib offers an additional 20 per cent load capacity for the same pressure, whilst the reduced tyre width solves a major headache when transporting combines between fields.
“It reinforces the Michelin CerexBib as the tyre of choice for modern harvesters and is allowing manufacturers to push the boundaries when developing new, even more efficient machinery.”
Tom Pine, Claas UK Combine Product Manager, adds: “the new Lexion 750 is already available to order with 680/85 R 32 CerexBib tyres. These reduce the overall vehicle width to 3.3 metres, whilst still delivering a 12 per cent larger footprint than the normal 800/65 R 32 tyre.”
Also key to the performance of the CerexBib, which can be used on both the front and rear axles of combine harvesters, is an ability to climb slopes of up to 24 per cent (compared with 19 per cent for a conventional harvester tyre). The larger contact patch and lower ground pressure reduce rut depth and increase traction on wet and dry soil, saving farmers time and increasing fuel efficiency. The Ultraflex technology with extremely flexible sidewalls also considerably increases ride comfort. The CerexBib delivers safer driving on road and delivers increased stability at lower pressure. Steering response is also improved, while vibrations and noise are considerably reduced.
Ultraflex aids contractor productivity “boost”
General agricultural contractor ACS reported improved productivity as a result of replacing standard 540/65R28 and 650/65R38 tyres with 600/60 R28 and 710/60 R38 XeoBib tyres, which contain Michelin’s Ultraflex technology. The tyre reduces tractor downtime imposed by changing pressures for varied workloads and on and off-road conditions. Since tractor tyres are predominantly intended for use off-road they are designed to generate low ground pressure to reduce soil compaction. Their use on road requires higher tyre pressures; a factor that becomes more critical as modern farming requires higher road speeds and increased distances travelled.
For a general agricultural contractor like ACS, working up to 20 miles from its base at Buddington Farm, near Midhurst in West Sussex, tyre pressure is a particular problem, potentially requiring several time-consuming pressure changes in a single working day. The Michelin XeoBib tyres being used by ACS incorporate the unique patented Ultraflex technology which means that with a single pressure of maximum 1 bar (14.5 psi) they can operate in the field with minimal compaction and on the road, at speeds of up to 65 kph. The Ultraflex technology used in the XeoBib tyres allows for an increased sidewall flexion area, meaning the tyres can flex more than normal tyres without affecting endurance or durability. They can carry the same load at a lower pressure than normal – or a heavier load at the same pressure.
ACS owner Keith Parks was introduced to the tyres by Julian Southey of John Deere dealer Farol Limited. Farol Tyre Limited is a specialist agricultural tyre dealer and part of the Michelin Exelagri network, offering expert advice on the best tyres for a customer’s application. Parks bought a new John Deere 6930 in March and agreed to try the new tyres (with new wheels supplied by D&S Factors) instead of the standard fit 65 series.
“First impressions were encouraging,” said Parks. “They offered an immediate improvement in ride comfort and better stability through corners. When another tractor was following on the road the driver just couldn’t maintain the same speed as the XeoBib-equipped machine.
“In terms of performance in the field, the same comfort levels were apparent, with the machine seeming to float over the ground when compared to other makes and types of tyre. When preparing seed beds for potatoes, we ran the machine with a 4 m cultivator, 16” deep with 1” tines, and it just pulled through the ground with minimum slip, which was very impressive.”
ACS is also monitoring reduced fuel consumption – something that will be validated when the machine will straight-pull a 5-metre Varderstad carrier on stubble and ploughed ground later in the year.
In addition to general agricultural work ACS maintains sports grounds (including the famous Cowdray Park polo field). The company has six full time and three part time employees, 10 tractors, a combine, a self-propelled forage harvester, a loading shovel, a telescopic handler and six trailers. Pulling down potato ground and silage carting are core activities.