Bridgestone places focus on traction, working life with VX-Tractor
When Tyrepress.com first saw the Bridgestone VX-Tractor tyre at Agritechnica 2017, the very first of these tyres ever made was on display – and was so new it was still warm to touch upon arrival at the exhibition hall. A year later, and the range is now on the market, targeted at users looking for longer on-road wear life and the ability to carry larger loads.
Bridgestone says its first focal point for designers was tyre performance. Wanting users to feel confident in the VX-Tractor, they incorporated Bridgestone’s patented lug design. Then they focused on increasing wear life, especially on the road, making the lug on the VX-Tractor longer and wider, with up to 20 per cent more lug volume than direct competitors such as the Michelin MachXBib and Trelleborg TM900 (according to Bridgestone tests on 710/70 R42 and 600/70 R28 tyres). Bridgestone says this increased lug volume delivers an overall tread depth that, once again, is greater than what the aforementioned direct competitors offer (Bridgestone tests on 600/70 R28 and 600/70 R30 tyres). At the same time, the casing has been engineered to minimise internal stress. This allows the tyre to perform at high speeds and when carrying heavy loads at inflations of up to 2.4 bar or 34.8 psi.
The extra body in the rubber increases the strength, minimising the effects of erosion, friction and use. A six-layer tread belt also helps to protect against damage and potential punctures. The surface area of the sidewall has also been reduced and reinforced, further diminishing the tyre’s vulnerability to puncture. Controlled lab measurement testing (DIN abrader test) conducted by Bridgestone shows that the new rubber compound used in the VX-Tractor is even more resistant to wear than previous Bridgestone tyres. The compound, which partially replaces mineral oil with environmentally friendly vegetable oils, is said to improve the tyre’s lifespan.
Although lacking its flagship counterpart’s Very High Flexion (VF) technology, the VX-Tractor uses the same Bridgestone lug found on the VT-Tractor; the tyre maker says this “delivers phenomenal tyre traction in all conditions.” Tests carried out for Bridgestone (using 600/70 R30 front tyres and a 710/70 R42 rear fitment) in October 2018 reportedly demonstrated “considerably less slip” from the VX-Tractor than from competitor tyre the Michelin MachXBib. “Whether they are in the fields, on roads, under pressure, in slippery conditions, on slopes or carrying heavy loads, the VX-Tractor performs to the highest of standards,” comments Bridgestone.
“The new VX-Tractor tyre joins the current Bridgestone VT-Tractor tyre range for high-performance tractors and the VT-Combine tyre range for cereal combine harvesters,” says Mark Sanders, general manager, Agriculture, Bridgestone EMEA. “The casing of the VX-Tractor uses a technology which allows inflation pressures from as low as 0.6 up to 2.4 bar, which is perfect to adjust for each operating condition and ensures that even the heaviest loads can be carried. While the proven patented involute lug design optimises traction and reduces slip, the additional lug volume gives the tyre a long wear life, which is especially important for tractors used in mixed in-field and on-road operations.”
The VX-Tractor was developed in Bridgestone’s European R&D centre in Italy and is produced in the Bridgestone plant in Puente San Miguel, Spain. The line-up has initially come to market in twelve different sizes for front and rear axle applications, ranging from 24- to 42-inches. Additional sizes will complete the range through 2019.