The Mitas PneuTrac (click here for product information) brings together the best of both pneumatic tires and rubber tracks into one technology. “This concept shows that we are thinking outside of the box of current tire-producing practices with a strong focus on what will benefit farmers,” says Andrew Mabin, Sales and Marketing Director, Mitas (click here for company information). “We still have [a ways] to go to bring the concept into a commercial product, but the initial results look very promising, challenging the design of the conventional tire and [the] cost of tracks.”
Mitas is developing its PneuTrac concept with its partner, Galileo Wheel Ltd., an Israeli technology company that has been working on the design for the past several years.
Out with the old, in with the new
To see the tire in action is to question the very idea of tire technology, as the PneuTrac appears as though it is flat (to watch it in action go to www.galileowheel.com). Running flat is one of the tire’s most important attributes, according to Galileo Wheel. The PneuTrac concept tire can work continuously at 0 psi.
A normal tire deforms when air escapes which can cause steering control problems. With the PneuTrac’s design, the deflated form is the tire’s natural state, allowing a tractor to go from a soft field to the road without worrying about tire damage. When the tire’s air pressure drops, the sidewall folds instead of collapsing as a standard tire would, which provides an estimated three times increase in the ground contact area over standard radial tires. This is when the tire performs as a track.
Traditional pneumatic tires are either bias ply (diagonal) or radial and have a trade-off of features. If the profile of the tire is high, it provides a smoother ride, but at the expense of side stability and accurate steering. Conversely, if a tire has a low profile, it will provide the steering and side stability, but lack a comfortable ride and proper shock absorption.
Galileo Wheel refers to its design as the CupWheel tire, having a folding sidewall that allows the outer circumference to change its shape freely and move about the wheel center in all directions.
The footprint of the Mitas PneuTrac is 53% larger compared with a standard tire, and it provides a higher tractive force. This ensures gentle ground handling with much lower and improved distribution of pressure to the ground with less soil compaction. The lateral stability of Mitas PneuTrac is on a very high level compared with a standard tire, even 167% higher.