STARCO launches two new tyre & wheel solutions

Amongst the products shown by the 2,900 or so exhibitors at this year’s Agritechnica fair were two new tyre and wheel combinations from STARCO. Introducing the HT Pro solution for hay tedders and the HS Flotation for agricultural implements, the company’s segment director for Agricultural Implement, Frédéric Ivancich, commented that while wheels and tyres are often not considered when looking at ways to optimise the performance of an agricultural vehicle, machine or implement, STARCO and its customers “know their true potential.”

Resembling a scaled-down high-performance car tyre, the HT Pro is a tubeless 160/50-10 tyre paired with a rim STARCO developed specifically for this size. Andreas Thorberg, senior sales manager at STARCO, talked us through the salient points of this new hay tedder wheel and tyre, commenting that its introduction follows more than four decades of developmental stagnation within this particular segment. “The only changes that manufacturers made to their hay tedder tyres was to tweak the quantities and composition of materials used in order to reduce the cost of making them. There hadn’t been any real innovation over the past 45 years.” Expressing a similar sentiment, Frédéric Ivancich calls the HT Pro a break with “existing tyre traditions” and the “first step in the journey towards a maintenance free hay tedder wheel and tyre solution by STARCO.”

Andreas Thorberg shares that STARCO set out to break the mould after speaking with major OEMs and asking what qualities they were looking for in a hay tedder tyre. These conversations underlined the necessity for STARCO to retain the established outer diameter dimension for hay tedder tyres when developing any new product. “This was the most important point for the OEMs. They didn’t want to reconfigure their machinery to accommodate new outer wheel dimensions.”

When going to the drawing board with the HT Pro, STARCO’s design remit was thus to overcome known performance and maintenance issues without altering the wheel’s external diameter. The solution the STARCO development team decided upon was low-profile – the 8-inch rim commonly seen on hay tedders was dispensed with and replaced by a specially-developed 10-inch version. Testing carried out within indoor centres and also in the field in New Zealand confirm that a larger rim diameter paired with a low-profile tyre offers several advantages.

First, a 10-inch dimension allows for a design that prevent grass from wrapping around the hub and axle, a phenomenon associated with rust in the axle area and the need for more frequent servicing. When using an 8-inch rim, a special plate is required to stop grass from wrapping around the axle.

A low-profile tyre also offers a wider contact area with the ground. This results in less impact upon the surface, reduces the risk of punctures and also improves increases the hay tedder’s stability during operation, even at high speed.

Pointing to the directional, v-shaped tread pattern on the STARCO HT Pro, Thorberg comments that the standard hay tedder tyre pattern consists of several circumferential grooves. “This standard line pattern can slide over grass, and when this happens the grass surface gets damaged,” he adds. “The pattern we’ve chosen avoids this and provides better performance when turning.”

The size 5.00lx10 rim paired with the HT Pro tyre is produced at the STARCO plant in Beli Manastir, Croatia, and like other products made there is treated with the manufacturer’s own rust preventing e-coat technology and is also powder painted. According to Thorberg, provided the rim isn’t damaged, it will not rust.

At the time of Agritechnica, the HT Pro was being tested by major OEMs, and some OE sales to “key customers” had already taken place. Thorberg shares that STARCO has also received requests from certain OEM customers for an 18-inch outer diameter version. “We are open to this,” he adds.

STARCO HS Flotation

STARCO HS Flotation

STARCO HS Flotation

Wheels and tyres for agricultural implements are traditionally not designed for high speed use. The STARCO HS Flotation is. This new 17-inch radial for harrows, rollers, seed drills, trailers and other implements permits usage at speeds of up to 65km/h. Such rapidity is possible due to the use of a higher tyre pressure, as well as the tyre’s construction and tread pattern. STARCO says this combination also offers greater stability, both in the field and on the road.

The HS Flotation offers a large footprint, reducing pressure on the ground. The tyre rolls better thanks to the use of an optimised line pattern, shoulder traction and combined flotation pattern constructions. The presence of ‘mud breakers’ within the pattern assist with self-cleaning.

The size 400/55 R17 HS Flotation tyre is fitted to a 13.00×17 STARCO engineered, developed and manufactured steel wheel. Again, the rim is treated with the manufacturer’s rust preventing e-coat technology, the latest automotive nanotechnology pre-treatment in the market.

Although the example displayed at Agritechnica was merely a full-sized mock-up, STARCO promises that the new wheel and tyre solution will be ready for the market by the start of the 2018 season.

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