Goodyear for tyre trials
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by Toby Clark • Within five years Goodyear will have a complete new range of truck tyres designed to combine improved economy with better handling and wear life.
The US-based company has a European development centre in Luxembourg: (.3/ spoke to Jan Kuiper, in charge of truck tyre marketing for Europe, who classifies truck tyres into five market sectors: • Long-haul; • Regional (medium/shorthaul); • Communal (urban deliveries); • Mixed on/off-road; • Off-road.
Each sector requires drive, steer-axle and trailer tyres, making a total of 15 potential market areas.
Goodyear aims to be marketing new designs for all but one of these areas by 2001.
Kuiper says that the 21stcentury tyre will be more fuelefficient, longer-lasting and significantly quieter, with a lower profile design. Most of all, it will be application-specific; there is no real trend towards standardisation between tyre applications. In fact, says Kuiper, "it is not inconceivable that you will
see separate tyres for left and right axle positions".
Goodyear's development policy is to look at a number of different designs for one application, then select the one which works best after extensive computer simulation, track testing and service trials, known as "field engineering".
This means that sometimes completely dissimilar tyres can be pitched at the same market niche: for instance, the G124 19.5" drive-axle tyre, intended for regional work, will be replaced by two designs. One, designated RT376, is conventional; the other, R1'465, is a directional-tread design. Whichever comes out on top should be available by 1999.
Low rolling resistance (LRR) tyres, which are claimed to give improved fuel consumption, are a big issue at the moment:
Goodyear itself has just launched the E-range in parallel with its conventional designs. But development engineer Susan Spaeth plays this down: "On all our regional tyres traction and removal mileage are our main priorities. We know we've got a low rolling resistance casing."
Other new designs include a megatrailer tyre—a 435/50R 19.5 design which looks like a Formula One slick.
With a rolling diameter of 928mm (around 150mm less than a 385/65R 2Z5) it combines a low loading height with reduced weight and lower rolling resistance.
It is currently in field trials with Cargocare,