BKT ready for the future
BKT says it is “ready to take up the challenge” of developing tyres for the coming generation of self-driving and electric off-highway vehicles. The tyre maker is already addressing changes within the agricultural and construction sectors with a range of solutions, drawing upon its almost 30-year experience and in dialogue with end-users.
Specific changes BKT is adopting to accommodate electric off-highway vehicles, machines that typically deliver greater torque than their combustion-engine counterparts, include strengthening the bead area where tyre meets rim. The tyre maker’s R&D team is also developing agricultural tyres that feature a more robust rim flange and reduced tread depth.
Additionally, BKT is engaged in compounding research that takes into account the heavier loads electric vehicles may carry as well as their lower operating temperatures. Work here includes research into nanomaterials and nanocompounds that offer qualities such as thermal or mechanical stability. The BKT Research & Development Center is also conducting nanotechnology studies and experiments on natural fibres such as nanoclay and nanocellulose.
Graphene is another material the Indian off-highway tyre specialist is testing. This material – which BKT notes is 200 times stronger than steel and six times more flexible – provides higher resistance to wear & tear and puncturing, higher resistance to traction wear as well as better rolling resistance and tyre life. Considered the thinnest and most resistant material in the world, graphene has extraordinarily high heat and electrical conductivity that make it an ideal material for heavy-duty applications, such as the mining sector.
Smart vehicles, smart tyres
A world in which tyres ‘talk’ with machinery is no longer the realm of science fiction. This dialogue is becoming increasingly important within off-highway operations. Tyre-mounted sensors provide a wealth of information that helps reduce operating costs, protect crops and soil, and avoid tyre and vehicle damage. BKT is present in this area with Spotech, a device that shows a vehicle’s exact position via satellite tracking. This system includes an accelerometer which records data such as all lateral, longitudinal and vertical movements as well as related forces together with speed, cycle duration and other parameters. Spotech analyses tyre use in detail, taking account of the effect upon the equipment the tyres are fitted to.
“Automation, digitalisation of data, alternative energies, innovative materials, in short everything helps create a possible future which respects the planet and people above all,” states the tyre maker. ”BKT accepts the challenge and does so with all the necessary prerequisites and with a very clear vision, as only major companies can do.”