Smithers Rapra upgrade accommodates testing for larger wheels

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US polymer products testing company Smithers Rapra has upgraded the wheel-testing capabilities at its Tire and Wheel Test Center in Ravenna, Ohio, to handle wheels with rim diameters up to 24in.

“Recent trends toward larger wheel sizes on SUVs and trucks have created a need for testing of larger diameter wheels,” said Jim Popio, vice president – North America. “This new machine addresses the shift in the wheel market by accommodating 24in wheels and using more sophisticated data controls in product analysis for our clients.”

The new equipment will enable Smithers Rapra to test wheels up to 24 x 13in with a machine load rating of 5,000 ft/lb (3,360 m/kg). A programmable logic controller computer manages the load and speed applied during testing periods, while monitoring the deflection.

Prior to this, the largest wheels the company could test were 17in rim diameter. Smithers Rapra expanded the Ravenna facility last year, adding 10,000ft² (929m²) of floor space to accommodate an MTS Flat-Trac CT Plus tire test system.

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