Aiming for greater efficiency in agriculture: Continental previews new tyre range
Given that the world’s population is growing and the area of land available for agricultural use is on the decline, farmers are under pressure to work their land more efficiently and with greater environmental sensitivity. In the run-up to its return to the agricultural segment, Continental reiterates that its new tyre range was specifically developed in response to this challenge.
Tyres are the physical link between agricultural machinery and the soil, and the role they play in boosting machine efficiency shouldn’t be underestimated. Tyre pressure, notes Continental, is a crucial factor. The higher the pressure, the smaller the tyre’s contact patch with the ground. This leads to high slip, or more loss in terms of distance covered. This in turn makes it harder for the vehicle to make progress across the field, a loss of traction that is accompanied by increased fuel consumption, tyre wear and pressure upon the ground.
The result is reduced economic efficiency and agricultural performance. Continental notes that maximum power transmission when a vehicle is traveling straight ahead is achieved with tyre slip of ten to 15 per cent. If the slip is as high as 35 per cent, tractor operating costs can increase by up to 23 per cent when the tractor is driven at an average speed of 7 km/h (4.3 mph) over an area of 300 hectares.
The right degree of slip combined with good tractive power transmission can boost an agricultural vehicle’s efficiency and its ability to operate over longer periods of time. To achieve optimum tractive power transmission, a tractor tyre should possess several key qualities – lugs of the correct height, good self-cleaning properties, a large diameter and a high air volume for low pressure use. The right distribution of ballast is also every bit as important as reserves for additional weights.
Unwavering in the quest to improve quality and output
“When developing the new tyres, we were unwavering in our quest to improve the quality and output of tractors on the field in terms of both vehicle performance and the utilisation of resources,” shares Thorsten Bublitz, product line manager for agricultural tyres at Continental Commercial Specialty Tires. “Optimum tractive power transmission out on the field, good traction for faster forward travel, minimal slip of ten to 15 per cent and the right tyre pressure for protecting the ground help to boost long-term productivity.”
Continental’s initial agricultural portfolio is made up of two radial tyre lines, the Tractor70 and Tractor85. Both contain new Continental innovations, such as the patent pending N.flex technology and a single wire core bead design; these are said to bestow the tyres with a high level of robustness. A flexible nylon material has been selected for the casing construction, and Continental says the nylon it uses is much more ductile than other materials and can mould itself around lumps and bumps on the ground, ensuring improved damping and greater ride comfort. The nylon technology’s dimensional stability also prevents temporary tyre deformation – a flat spot – at the start of operations. The tyre can be used immediately, and any loss of productivity as well as wear on the tyre itself are minimised. Summing up the benefits derived from these technologies, Continental states that even with high tractive/load forces, both the Tractor70 and Tractor85 ensure minimal slip and shallower tracks in the soil.
Compared with the Tractor85, Tractor70 tyres are slightly wider and, thanks to a bigger contact patch between the tyre and ground, can run with much lower air pressure even when bearing heavy loads. Together with its rounded tread lug edges, this results in less pressure on the ground and, in turn, less ground compaction without any compromise in traction. Vehicle performance on the field is improved and fuel efficiency significantly increased. At the same time, the soil and crops are protected over the long term – an important factor in helping farmers to achieve higher yields.
The two new tyre lines will be displayed at the Agritechnica show in Hannover, Germany from 12 to 18 November (Hall 3, booth F19) together with the latest Continental technologies for the agricultural industry. Other highlights include predictive maintenance solutions, camera systems, displays and catalytic converters.