Save time with better traction from your harvester tyres
Authored by: Tractor tyre expert | 18 July 2022
Your harvester’s traction capacity is directly linked to the quality of your tyres. Harvester tyres are particular, because they have to cope with significant cyclic loads depending on how full the harvester’s hopper is. If their design is the result of quality research and development, they will take multiple factors into account, such as load, of course, but also their traction capacity which will be a decisive factor during a harvesting campaign when time is of the essence. Having good traction capacity necessitates a tyre that does not sink deep into the soil, which has a better grip on the ground and which makes it possible to save time in each field.
How a well-designed tyre can optimise traction
Traction depends on various criteria, especially the quality of your agricultural tyres, because it is they that transmit your engine power to the ground. Having a powerful machine is therefore not enough to ensure good traction capacity. All the more so in that a significant part of this engine power is used to make the machine work or lost in faulty settings. Tyres play a key role in traction and they must meet certain minimum essential criteria such as the ability to work at a low inflation pressure, adapted lug design, design optimised for traction, etc.
Here are the qualities you need for a harvester tyre that can provide you with efficient traction:
1. The capacity to work at a low inflation pressure
A harvesting operation has specific requirements linked to the variable load, the weight of the machine, the pressure in the tyres and the slope and incline. Generally speaking, a combine harvester weighs around 24 tonnes and has tyres inflated to 3.5 or 4 bar for harvesting operations. Yet overinflated tyres lead to greater rolling resistance and excessive soil compaction, especially when the machine is fully loaded or when the soil is slightly wet.
The right thing to do is to reduce the inflation pressure in your tyres when you enter the field, as long as your tyres have this capacity when loaded, and increase it on the road to avoid premature wear to the tread, but as time is precious, you don’t necessarily stop to make pressure adjustments every time you change type of ground.
The solution: Use tyres with a more robust casing
Tyre manufacturers are aware of the strain placed on harvester tyres and have therefore developed tyres with an exceptionally robust casing. For example, Firestone’s MAXI TRACTION HARVEST tyre is designed for cyclic loads during harvesting campaigns. It has a reinforced casing to help it cope with the different variations in the load during the filling and emptying of the hopper. Its ingenious design means that it can carrier much heavier loads at a lower inflation pressure.
It is this type of tyre that gives you the possibility of reducing pressure in the fields. MAXI TRACTION HARVEST tyres have been designed with reinforced sidewalls which allow them to work at low inflation pressure, even with very heavy loads. The soil footprint is bigger and the lugs grip onto a larger surface area, which optimise traction capacity.
The more robust sidewall design allows for greater flexion and a larger soil footprint which optimises traction
2. A lug design which limits loss of adherence
A small amount of wheel slip is necessary for your harvester’s traction force. On recent machines, the hydrostatic transmission makes it possible to control adherence, but thanks to tyre technology and the specific lug design you can have an even better grip rate, even on sloping land or during wet periods on corn.
Maxi traction Harvest tyres have lugs with a large surface area in contact with the ground, made using Dual Angle technology which is characterised by its double edge lug shape that improves the grip performance.
The larger the lug contact patch with the ground, the greater the traction.
The purpose of the specific harvest tyre design is to reduce soil disturbance when the lugs disengage from the ground, while increasing the capacity to transmit the traction horizontally.
Lug design which results in better traction and less soil disturbance
The specific profile angle improves the tyre’s self-cleaning capacity. The presence of mud, plant waste and earth encrusted between the lugs of your tyre leads to problems with adherence and makes the wheels more likely to slip. The specific angle of the Maxi Traction Harvest tyre lugs has been designed to avoid the accumulation of earth between them and to ensure optimal self-cleaning of the surface of the tyre. Less slip means more efficient traction.
3. Better traction leads to time savings
Saving time is the principal challenge when it comes to harvesting campaigns and your tyres can help you to achieve this objective. They are what transmit power to the ground. By opting for tyres that are specially designed for harvesting, whose lugs have been developed specifically to optimise tractive force, you are sure to save time during your harvesting operations.
With good tyres, you can even increase your motricity significantly and the difference in productivity in each field will be significant, even impressive over the course of a week or a month.
To resume in a few points:
A larger soil footprint with a lower inflation pressure
Tyres which sink less into the ground thus reducing rolling resistance, minimising the risk of wheel slip
Better grip performance on sloping land thanks to the larger Dual Angle lug contact patch, will enable you to optimise your tractive force.
CONCLUSION Better traction with good harvest tyres really saves you time and as a bonus, you will also save on fuel while wearing out your tyres less rapidly.
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This information is intended only to make you aware of the technical and functional aspects of agricultural tires and their use. It does not allow you to make a judgment or a definitive conclusion on a given problem. Only your agricultural tire expert is able to make a technical assessment and take a final decision, case by case.