Improved Flexion radials changing ag tire landscape

An IF tire has the same rolling circumference as the industry-standard tire, but it can handle the same weight at up to 20-percent less air pressure or allow for 20-percent more load at the same pressure.

Michelin North America, the pioneer of improved flexion (IF) technology for agricultural tires, showed top agricultural journalists attending the 2011 Agricultural Media Summit how IF radials help farmers reduce soil compaction, improve fuel economy, help the environment and, ultimately, build the farmer’s bottom line.

It took five years for another tire brand to enter the IF-class ag tire market that Michelin North America pioneered in 2005 with the Michelin Axiobib radial for high-horsepower tractors.

“IF technology is having a strong effect on the agricultural tire industry, and for good reason,” says Michael Vandel, marketing segment manager for Michelin North America Agricultural Tires.

“An IF tire has the same rolling circumference as the industry-standard tire, but it can handle the same weight at up to 20-percent less air pressure or allow for 20-percent more load at the same pressure. Running at a lower air pressure reduces growers’ cost of production by improving traction and fuel economy while reducing slip and soil compaction. Ultimately, IF radials make farmers more efficient.”

Expanding on this technology, Michelin widely introduced another first in 2011 — a new class of tire for the sprayer market, very high flexion or the VF-class tire.

The Michelin SprayBib tire is the first VF-class radial for self-propelled sprayers and Michelin’s second VF radial.

The Michelin SprayBib radial first appeared commercially on AGCO® RoGator sprayers and became widely available in 2011 as an option with other manufacturers and on the replacement market.

“VF tires have the same rolling circumference as some ag tires, but they can carry the same load with up to 40-percent less air pressure,” Vandel reports.

“That gives you a significantly better ride and better traction. And in the case of the Michelin SprayBib, it’s the only D-rated high-clearance sprayer tire that can carry 14,330 pounds at 40 mph on the roads at 64 psi.”

Michelin will share information about the innovative Michelin Ultraflex Technologies behind its IF- and VF-class radials at several upcoming farm shows.

Vandel announced that several Michelin North America Agricultural Tire executives and area sales-development managers will be on hand at the Midwest Ag-Industries Exposition (MAGIE), Aug. 24-25, in Bloomington, Ill.; the Farm Progress Show, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, in Decatur, Ill.; and at Husker Harvest Days, Sept. 13-15, in Grand Island, Neb.

The 2011 Agricultural Media Summit also gave Michelin North America the chance to highlight its newest tire in the Compact Line — the Michelin BibSteel radials for skid steers, which deliver increased traction and durability and a better ride than less-durable bias tires.

The Michelin BibSteel Hard-Surface radial joins the Michelin BibSteel All-Terrain radial to cover nearly any skid-steer use.

“Technology is the driving force behind our tires,” Vandel says. “Whether it’s a Michelin Axiobib tractor tire that holds heavy weight at low air pressures in the field, a Michelin SprayBib sprayer tire that can withstand heavy road wear while carrying more than 14,000 pounds at 40 mph or a Michelin BibSteel All-Terrain tire that’s helping build the road, our radials are designed with the same goal in mind — helping our customers to be more productive and more profitable.

“The future is open,” continues Vandel.

“The improved flexion and very-high flexion technology has been proven for tractors and sprayers. Farmers can expect the ag tire industry to move even further with expanded equipment tire options to meet their production needs in the months ahead.”

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