Telehandlers. Pneumatic Vs Solid Vs Foam-Filled Tires
What type of tires would you use for your Telehandler? Pneumatic, Solid or Foam-Filled tires?
Pneumatic Telehandler Tires: Because pneumatic tires are air filled, at first sight they’re the most affordable telehandler tire option.
Pneumatic tires offer better traction on soft surfaces and uneven terrain. This tires are well suited for telehandlers operating on soft or muddy surfaces. They also provide a softer ride, which is easier on operators and reduces wear and tear on machines.
The cons of pneumatic telehandler tires is that they’re vulnerable to puncture. Flat tires on telehandlers not only jeopardize downtime, they’re dangerous if a flat occurs with a load in the air.
Solid Telehandler Tires. As any kind of solid tires, Solid telehandler tires are made entirely of a consistent rubber compound. This means there’s no air or foam to leak out of the tire no matter what type of damage the tire gets. These tires have the highest up-front cost and are the longest-lasting of the different types of telehandler tires.
We know that may consider the initial price, but don’t let it tell you the whole solid tire story. Solid tires never flatten under any circumstance, which mean they can handle cuts and chunking without compromising the integrity of the tire and eliminates costly tire-induced downtime.
Wear life for solid telehandler tires is estimated up to three times more compared to foam filled telehandler tires, which often results in them having the lowest total cost of ownership.
Increased stability also occurs with solid telehandler tires because the rubber compresses at a consistent and predictable rate when it’s loaded. This means operators will have more control over the loads they’re carrying at extended reaches. Another benefit of solid construction is that the tires require very little maintenance—for example, there’s no need to monitor air pressure.
The cons of solid tires are that their weight and rigid footprint don’t translate as well to soft surfaces as other types of tires. Some operators find them comparatively harsh, although others appreciate the stability they provide.
Foam-Filled Telehandler Tires. This type of tire is in between of Solid and Pneumatic tires, lifespan and cost is greater than the pneumatic, but less than a solid.
The weight of the foam makes these tires heavier than the pneumatic ones while still allowing the tire to put a favorable footprint on the ground—all of this adds up to stability when lifting loads on uneven terrain. Another advantage of foam-filled tires is their increased puncture resistance when compared to a traditional air-filled tire so they can seem like a great solution to your tire flat problem.
The problem of this type of tires rely on the sidewalls that can get easily hurt. When the damage is severe enough, the foam will start squeezing out of the tire resulting in a hobbling tire and eventually a flat. This means that in the end you’re paying twice as much if not more for that one damaged tire because you only used part of the wear life that the tire should have given you.
Another unexpected cost associated with the replacement of foam filled telehandler tires is higher expense in labor and service calls. That's because foam filled telehandler tires typically have to be cut off of the rim. This is a slow, tedious, and demanding process that significantly increases labor hours. Not to mention the fact that your telehandler is out of service while awaiting repair. So you will rarely get full life or value out of a set of foam filled telehandler tires.
Depending on what you'd normally be using that equipment for, the delay could cost your company thousands in downtime. While foam filled telehandler tires are a lower up front cost, they’re significantly more costly than solid tires over the lifespan of the tire because of replacement, labor, and downtime costs.
Base on pros and cons, for us the answer is clear, solid tires. Our customer’s favorite solid tire pattern is the L1H.
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