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Road wear testing of wider tyres underway

road wear

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) has begun road wear testing on new ultra-wide tyres as part of a $395,000 project funded by the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI).

The project aims to quantify the wear for a select range of tyres including the Next Generation Wide Load Base Tyres (445/50R22.5).

The test results will provide the scientific evidence required to develop a case for increasing the mass limits for axles fitted with wider tyres so they are consistent with current limits for narrower tyres.

Truck Industry Council CEO Mr Tony McMullan said the project will study pavement wear for Next Generation Wide Load Base Tyres (NG-WBT) compared to the industry standard dual 11R22.5 installations at the same loads.

The tyre and pavement testing will be undertaken by Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), with the support of tyre suppliers Michelin and Goodyear, McMullan said.

“Based on safety studies from New Zealand, the adoption of Ultra-Wide Single tyres resulted in reducing the relative crash risk from rollovers by up to 17 per cent, so the potential safety advantages for Australia are significant,” he said.

“The operational benefits of wide base single tyres are well known: fuel savings, increased payloads, wider footprint and greater stability. These benefits are being realised in Europe but not in Australia, as we continue to use old tyre technology, that’s been unchanged for over 20 years.

ARRB team leader Anthony Germanchev said the industry needs to better understand the impact these new tyres will have on our roads.

“We need to put these tyres to the test and that’s what we intend to do,” he said.

Additionally, a tyre footprint assessment was conducted by the project group in early December 2020 for a range of inflation pressures and loads.

This data is providing a better understanding of pavement loadings and will guide expected pavement wear impacts.

The group hopes to release a report for this initial footprint assessment by the end of the 2nd quarter 2021 to feed into the core pavement wear testing due to start later in 2021 using ARRB’s Accelerated Loading Facility (ALF).

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the funding was part of $5.4 million being distributed across the country for the 2020-21 program.

“Heavy vehicle safety is everyone’s responsibility and through local safety programs we can make our roads safer for all road users,” Petroccitto said.

“We have been working closely with TIC to help them conduct testing as we understand the significant potential benefits to safety and productivity that could be realised through the introduction of the new generation of tyres.

“It’s a major focus for the NHVR and we are very happy to be supporting a project that will eventually assist us to encourage further uptake of more modern, higher productivity vehicles.

“We are also moving forward with the PBS Tyre Review with the work being undertaken by TIC complementing the testing that we have underway.”

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