With manufacturers of earthmoving machinery and agricultural vehicles moving toward greater electrification and automation, tire suppliers to these industries have had to react. In the case of Indian off-highway tire specialist BKT, it is engaging in an open dialog with its customers to identify their evolving needs.
For electric vehicles, which have very specific power and torque characteristics, BKT says it is in the process of developing a specific tire range, which will have design features specific to these demands. For example, owing to the high torque output of electric drives, in addition to a necessary strengthening of the bead between the rim and the tire, BKT has noted that the design of the flaps of agricultural tires must be adapted, such as through a reduction in the depth of the tread and an increase in the robustness of the flaps.
The company says it is also working on new compounds, to allow both greater load carrying capabilities and improved low temperature operation. This research involves the use of nano materials such as nano clay and nanocellulose. It is also investigating the use of graphene to increase wear and puncture resistance.
Complementing the mechanical development of its tires, BKT is focusing on sensor technology to provide operators with tire condition data, such as pressure and wear levels. To this end, it has developed its SPOTECH system, a device that can provide GPS positional information, as well as three-axis g-forces and duty cycle for machinery using its tires.