NEW STUDY REVEALS MICHELIN’S IMPROVED FLEXION TYRES BEST FOR LOWERING SOIL COMPACTION
Stoke-on-Trent – May 3, 2013
A new study has demonstrated the effectiveness of Michelin’s Improved Flexion (IF) tyres at reducing soil compaction compared to a set of caterpillar tread tracks.
The study organised by the French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), an independent public body, measured the soil compaction rates on a 3.5 hectare plot of farmland after a loaded combine harvester fitted with three different mobility options; a set of CerexBib 800mm IF tyres, a set of CerexBib 900mm IF tyres and a set of three 760mm roller caterpillar tread tracks, passed over it.
On soft ground, the combine harvester fitted with the three small caterpillar tread tracks increased the hardness of the ground by 55 per cent compared to the control area. When fitted with IF 900mm tyres inflated to 1.4 bar, the harvester increased ground hardness by only 46 per cent, or 9 per cent less than the tracked machine.
Mike Lawton, Commercial Director of Michelin’s Agriculture division, says: “The objective of the study was to measure the difference in compaction between the two technologies. Farmers and contractors are under increasing pressure to increase crop yields year after year and so they want to make sure they are using a mobility solution that offers the lowest compaction rates.”
On hard ground, tests showed the caterpillar tracks exerted uneven pressure on the ground, with peaks reaching levels up to two times higher than those obtained with IF tyres, which distributed the load evenly over its entire footprint.
The combine harvester fitted with 900mm IF tyres, inflated to 1.4 bar, evenly spread the pressure exerted on the ground, calculated at slightly over 4 bar. With caterpillar tread tracks, the combine harvester exerted uneven pressure on the ground, with peaks (corresponding to the impact of the rollers) approaching 9 bar, or twice the pressure exerted by the tyres.
Lawton adds: “The study concluded that the caterpillar tread’s uneven load distribution and the extra pressure on the ground, compared to the IF tyres, did not give it an advantage in terms of soil compaction.”
Michelin says the key to achieving this impressive performance is due to its patented Ultraflex technology, with CerexBibs being the only commercially available harvester tyre which can work at a pressure of less than 2 bar. This is around 30 per cent less than conventional tyres.
The IRSTEA is backed by an annual budget of €115 million and has 1,750 employees, including 700 engineers and researchers and 250 doctoral students, who work in 19 research units spread across nine sites. The Institute’s goal is to be the European leader in environmental research, as well as an important scientific centre to support public policy making.
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Michelin, the leading tyre company, is dedicated to sustainably improving the mobility of goods and people by manufacturing and marketing tyres for every type of vehicle including aircraft, bicycles/motorcycles, cars, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. It also offers electronic mobility support services on ViaMichelin.com and publishes travel guides, hotel & restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in more than 170 countries, has more than 113,000 employees and operates 69 production plants in 18 different countries. The Group has a Technology Centre dedicated to research, development and process engineering, with operations in Europe, North America and Asia. (www.michelin.com)
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