MICHELIN® SPRAYBIB™ RADIAL DELIVERS INCREASED FLEXIBILITY, LIFESPAN AND CARRYING CAPACITY

Michelin North America introduces first VF-class ag radial for sprayer market

 

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Farmers visiting the 2011 National Farm Machinery Show will discover that they can boost operational efficiency not only by moving up to large-volume MICHELIN radials on their tractors but also by embracing the radial revolution in another ag market: sprayer tires.

After pioneering the world’s first IF- and VF-class agricultural radial tires for tractors, Michelin is extending its technological advantage by widely introducing the world’s first VF-class tire for sprayers in 2011. The D-speed-rated MICHELIN® SprayBib™ radial is the only high-clearance sprayer tire that can carry 14,330 pounds at speeds up to 40 mph. The tire also delivers an expected wear life of three to five years versus an industry standard of one to two.

The new MICHELIN SprayBib radial features MICHELIN® Ultraflex™ Technologies, which boosts the tire’s flexing capacity, helping improve fuel efficiency and traction and reduce soil compaction, something that is just as important for a full sprayer that frequently enters a field in early-season adverse conditions as it is for even larger, heavier tractors, says Robyn Conrad, director of marketing for Michelin North America Agricultural Tires.

“We carefully engineered the Michelin SprayBib radial to deliver significantly better bottom-line benefits to both custom applicators and growers,” Conrad says. “The new Michelin SprayBib tire flexes more than its closest competitive products, and it runs at significantly lower air pressures. As a result, it delivers a larger footprint with more lugs in the soil, giving you better traction, less slippage, a better ride and the opportunity to get into the fields sooner without damage.”

The MICHELIN SprayBib tire, which is expected to be available widely in the second quarter of 2011, joins the MICHELIN XeoBib® radial as the innovative tire company’s second entry in the elite VF – or Very High Flexion – ag tire classification. Competitors have yet to introduce a first. Michelin developed tires that are classified as VF or IF – which Michelin calls Increased Flexion – to meet the needs of producers who are using equipment that is growing larger, heavier and more muscular to accommodate expanding farm operations.

In fact, when it was introduced into North America in 2006, the MICHELIN® Axiobib® radial was the first tire to meet the IF – or Increased Flexion – classification created by the U.S. Tire and Rim Association. IF-classified tires flex more than standard radials, allowing them to carry up to 20 percent more weight at the same air pressure or operate at up to 20 percent less air pressure than standard tires. Four years later, in January 2010, the first competing IF radial entered the market.

Thanks to MICHELIN Ultraflex Technologies, the MICHELIN Axiobib radials help growers reduce soil compaction in traditional farming applications in a variety of soil and weather conditions. But Michelin researchers realized that sprayers needed special attention. A VF-class tire was an ideal solution, Conrad says.

“A VF-classified radial like the Michelin SprayBib radial flexes 20 percent more than IF-classified tires,” says Conrad. “This becomes particularly useful for sprayer operators, who need to get into fields when soil and weather conditions may be less than ideal. The Michelin SprayBib tire allows sprayers to get into the fields sooner with better fuel economy, better flotation and better traction, but most important, with less soil compaction and less crop damage.”

But that’s not the only advantage the MICHELIN SprayBib tire offers growers and custom applicators looking for every business edge they can find, Conrad adds. The MICHELIN SprayBib radial is built to last. Even though it flexes so much that it may give the appearance that it is underinflated, the exceptionally durable VF radial significantly outlasts its closest competitors. “The expected tire life of the Michelin SprayBib tire is three to five seasons, versus one to two for its competitive tires,” Conrad says.

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinag.com) employs 20,900 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.

 

SPRAYER OPERATORS SAY NEW VF-CLASS TIRE FROM MICHELIN® OFFERS BETTER RIDE AND PERFORMANCE

More than two and a half years and 2,500 machine hours after equipping his RoGator® sprayer with a set of new VF-classified MICHELIN® SprayBib™ radials, Jon Hauck can’t imagine putting any other tire on his rig again. It’s a far cry from his skepticism when he watched the RoGator settle down onto tires he thought were so under-inflated, he was convinced that fields strewn with sharp stubble, badger holes and hidden ditches would prove too much for the test tires.

“I’ve been highly impressed with the SprayBib tire,” says Hauck, a sprayer operator for Golden Valley Coop in Sanford, Kan. “I have to admit, at first when we put them on, when we let the jacks out from underneath the RoGator, I actually laughed and thought these aren’t going to work. The sidewalls squished out way too far and I thought it would be a problem. I’ve been highly impressed ever since we put them on. The ride is twice as smooth as any other tire I’ve ever run, and they handle a lot better spraying row crop.”

In Nebraska, sprayer operator Brock Corman says he sees a huge improvement in reduced soil compaction and ride because of the significantly lower air pressures he can use in the MICHELIN SprayBib radials mounted on his Patriot sprayer. Entering his third season using the radials, he already had put 1,700 hours on the tires and says he was shocked at how little they had worn.

“The SprayBibs here, we’ve been running 44 (psi) in the front and 34 in the back and got along with it great,” says Corman, who works at the Nelson, Neb., office of Cooperative Producers Inc. “Before, we always had to run 50 or 60 pounds of psi. And it seems like with SprayBibs, the 44 and 34 actually rides a lot nicer. It seems like it just floats over any bump a little bit better. Fifty or 60 pounds feels like you’re riding over concrete sometimes or just the steel rims and there’s no give at all.”

Indianasprayer driver Donny Folz concurs wholeheartedly with both of his peers. Folz, who tested the MICHELIN SprayBib on a RoGator for Wagoner Seed & Fertilizer in Evansville, Ind., for a year, says the radials outperformed other sprayer tires, including both Firestones and Titans, which he had used.

“The SprayBib is a good all-around, excellent tire,” Folz says. “The SprayBib has good length and width of footprint. The wear was exceptional, and the tire had good traction without cutting the field up. It wouldn’t leave a heavy cleat mark. It ran well on the road, and it ran well at speed. I roaded it a lot and ran it at 32 mph, and the SprayBib held up well and had a comfortable ride.”

All three men helped Michelin in the final test phase of the MICHELIN SprayBib radial.*  Michelin fitted a sprayer operated by each custom applicator with a set of the innovative new tire in exchange for the opportunity to gather real-world data. The operators were free to make up their minds based entirely upon performance. Corman, from CPI in Nelson, NE., says that the smooth ride, the way the lugs shed mud, the ability to get into the field sooner, and the durability of the MICHELIN SprayBib radial proved to him for the first time that not all tires are built alike.

“What I’ve learned running these SprayBibs is that it seems like before a tire was just a tire to me,” says Corman, who has operated spray rigs for more than a decade. “Other tires, it seems like I would go through a couple sets a year. These SprayBibs, I’ve never had any grief with. Let’s say they cost double the cost of any other tire. I’d pay triple, just because of what they do for us. You figure if you run two or three sets of other tires over a two year period, and you get just two years out of one of these, they’re cheaper to run in the long run. Plus you can get in the field before anything else, and if you can go spray 600 or 800 acres a day instead of your competitors sitting there with some bad tires, that’s worth a lot.”

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinag.com) employs 20,900 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.

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