“Tire or track,” asks Mitas Tire North Americas’ promotional material, announcing the completely new PneuTrac ag tire. It seems like a fair question, given how odd this tire looks and how differently it performs when mounted on a rim. Tire manufacturer Mitas chose to introduce the prototype PneuTrac concept to the public at November’s Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany. While it isn’t market-ready yet, it definitely turned some heads at the show.
“The basic concept is we are approaching the carcass, or tire design, in a different way,” said Avishay Novoplanski, founder of Galileo Wheel Ltd., and inventor of the PneuTrac. “In all existing tires, the carcass is a ‘U’ shape revolved around the rim. As the tire works, the sidewall is deflecting. The standard tire tries to follow the contour of the ground and increase its footprint, and it can do that to some extent. But if you deflate it too much, the footprint buckles in the center (of the tread). “With this (PneuTrac) design, the sidewall is kind of a ‘V’ shape, like an accordion. All the vertical load is carried only by the air, not by the carcass.”
The footprint of the PneuTrac is significantly larger than that of a standard tire of equal size, providing up to 53% more ground-contact area according to Mitas. That increases traction and improves power transfer to the ground, boosting tractive power by up to 48%, the company adds. The increased footprint is elongated compared to standard tires, something the company refers to as a “track effect.” And it gives the tire a flat-bottomed appearance when it’s mounted on a vehicle.
The PneuTrac design is also less likely to suffer damage from field hazards, because its sidewall isn’t exposed beyond the tread, so it’s protected from puncture hazards. If an ordinary tire has a punctured sidewall, it likely means the tire is finished. The PneuTrac on the other hand has a much thicker sidewall than a normal tire, and it can be repaired in the unlikely event it does get damaged.
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Source Tire Review