Mixed service fleet operators in Middle East and Africa are demanding tyres that offer both versatile on-road capability and greater resistance to the conditions encountered both on- and off-road. In response, Goodyear developed a range of mixed service tyres with optimal damage resistance and longer service life compared to its previous versions, along with full compliance to meet tough GSO and SASO requirements.
The new range of tyres called Omnitrac have been developed for vehicles operating in mixed service applications where they face the difficult conditions of unpaved sites but predominantly operate on roads. These vehices include tippers, cement mixers, concrete pumps and low loaders operating in construction as well as trucks in waste, recycling, timber and agricultural industries.
Mohammad Saghier, director-business product development, Goodyear Middle East and Africa, explains how Goodyear takes a market-back innovation approach to product development.
“This approach involves constant engagement with our markets and listening to our customers in order to understand their specific, evolving changing needs. Such needs could arise from our customers’ day-to-day business challenges, and their demands often include fewer truck breakdowns, higher mileage, retreadable tyres, and improved chip and chunk resistance. These are crucial problems that we need to tackle as tyre manufacturers. Of course, there’s no one tyre that can solve all these problems. However, such market feedback takes us back to the drawing board to improve and create new products,” says Saghier.
The Omnitrac range comprises 10 sizes – six Omnitrac S steer tyres and four Omnitrac D drive tyres. Among them, the Omnitrac S 325/95R24 24-inch model is an all-position tyre specifically developed for countries in the Middle East and Africa. The tyre range was designed at the Goodyear Innovation Centre in Luxembourg. Goodyear’s engineers incorporated a new technology called DuraShield that combines enhanced robustness with performance and retreadability. They also adopted the tried and tested, high-performance features of Goodyear tyres used on trucks participating every year at the Dakar Rally.
Saghier emphasizes how market feedback from the Middle East and Africa was crucial to the development of the Omnitrac range.
“The Middle East and Africa markets are different from Europe with regard to load regulations and operating conditions. When a tyre is designed commonly for the EMEA market, all the requirements of these markets need to be taken into account. We obtained market feedback about needs related to products and working conditions.For the Middle East, the top requirements were durable tyres for harsh working conditions, improved chip and chunk resistance, tyre performance for increased mileage, and extended life through retreadablilty. Our engineers and designers in Europe, then, used our market insights to modify and fine-tune the tyres for this region,” he says.
Goodyear began testing the Omnitrac range three years ago in partnership with truck fleets in the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. The tests employed tubeless versions of the tyre range in Egypt and Jordan, where adoption of tubeless tyres is relatively higher than in the GCC, and a 24-inch version in the UAE.
“Generally, the development of a new range of tyres requires 3–4 years. We could develop the best tyres in the world, but it’s the testing under real conditions that will determine their market adoption and saleability. Tubeless versions are more popular in Jordan and Egypt because of load regulations. Currently in the UAE, few vehicles are equipped with rims for tubeless tyres, but the adoption of tubeless tyres is increasing. So we offer both tube and tubeless versions. The 24-inch size developed for the GCC is a tubeless tyre that can be fitted as a tube tyre,” says Saghier.
Omnitrac S 24-inch mixed service tyre
Features of the Omnitrac S steer tyres include a 5-rib design with sipes and ‘quick release’ groove shapes with penetration protectors. The 5-rib design with sipes optimise durability and ground pressure distribution. This helps ensure high mileage and even wear performance in addition to improving traction. Furthermore, the Omnitrac S tyres have been optimised for use with driven front axles including the emerging trend for hydraulic traction systems. The quick release groove shapes reduce stone holding and enable efficient protection against stone drilling and groove cracking, thereby increasing the robustness and retreadability of the tyres.
The Omnitrac D drive tyres have features such as a directional 3-rib tread design with siped blocks, high centreline net contact area with tie bars, and wide open shoulder grooves with stone penetration protectors. The sipes double the number of biting edges and consequently ensure high traction and even wear on all surfaces including during retarder operation. The solid centre rib provides a high level of damage resistance and improved even wear in abrasive road conditions, high mileage potential and enhanced casing durability. The wide open shoulder grooves provide excellent mud drainage and stone rejection, retaining a high level of traction throughout tyre life and under all highway conditions, and provide chip/chunk resistance under torque including that from retarder operation.
The DuraShield technology includes an exclusive top belt for extra resistance to casing damage which increases mileage potential and improves retreadability. The top belt helps prevent penetration by stones or other objects as well as prevents water ingress that can cause corrosion of the belts in the carcass. The top belt is made of a non-metallic cord material, used for the first time in tyre applications. This material undergoes a very specific process that ensures optimal adhesion with tyre rubber compounds. This technology improves the retreadability of the tyres.
In both the Omnitrac S and D, the under-tread gauge is increased and an extra thick tear-resistant base compound is incorporated. This gives high mileage, casing durability and protection against accidental damage by stones and foreign objects.
An additional feature of the tyres is the integration of radio frequency identification (RFID) allowing simple identification and connectivity to tyre management and tracking systems.
All Omnitrac tyres are both regroovable and retreadable and have been developed according to the ‘Multiple Life Concept’ approach – allowing fleets to make the best use of their tyre assets and substantially reduce their costs per kilometre.
“Our biggest differentiator is our ‘lowest cost per kilometre’ proposition. Customers will want to invest in tyres that offer better performance and service and reduce their operational costs. The Omnitrac range offer over 90% retreadability, which is a huge achievement considering that unlike in Europe, the MEA region does not have stringent load regulations,” says Saghier.
Benjamin Willot, director-marketing, commercial tyres-Europe, Goodyear, says: “Our new Omnitrac tyres are a further development of our previous range and now feature DuraShield technology to make them even tougher and offer greater service life. We are so confident of the robustness of these tyres that we are guaranteeing them against accidental damage.”
Saghier points out the importance of correct maintenance to get the best performance from tyre, particularly for mixed-service applications. Goodyear recommends fleets to combine the use of Onmintrac tyres with Goodyear Proactive Solutions, a suite of data-based solutions, featuring advanced telematics and patented predictive analytics technology, able to provide commercial fleets with precise, real-time monitoring of tyres.
“The Goodyear tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) enables Omnitrac tyre performance to be optimised further to improve fleet management, especially in remote locations. With advanced telematics and Goodyear’s unique algorithm, Goodyear Proactive Solutions can constantly monitor the tyres and give instant warnings if tyre pressure or temperature fails to meet acceptable parameters,” says Saghier.