"Tires in this application are arguably the most abused of any in the trucking industry," said Reuben DeBolt, commercial technical services manager for Cooper Tire.
"We set out to engineer a tire that could take the punishment that carriers dish out, but we also wanted to ensure we stayed true to what Roadmaster is all about: excellent quality at a reasonable price."
"Tires in this application are arguably the most abused of any in the trucking industry."
For several months, DeBolt
team used computer modeling and advanced finite element analysis to test various tire shapes and structures, along with different tread compounds, for their ability to withstand the enormous lateral pressures the tires endure, especially at their edges.
"We looked at a variety of tread profiles that could minimize the load on the shoulder rib," DeBolt
As a spread-tandem trailer turns, it tends to pivot on its back axle, and the tires on the trailer's forward axle scub sideways across the pavement through the turn, DeBolt
As much as 60% of a tire's 5,000-pound load transfers from the full footprint to the shoulder rib of the front-axle tire on the inside of a sharp turn.
This can tear the shoulder rib, causing big chunks of the tread to rip off.
"Imagine the force at play here," DeBolt
"We tried several different test protocols at commercially available test sites, but we were not able to replicate the conditions we had seen on some tires returned from the field," DeBolt
"We had to create our own," and that included building a small test facility near Cooper's corporate offices in Findlay, Ohio.
"We poured three concrete test pads and treated the pads to simulate three different road surfaces," DeBolt
"We then dragged the tires, under full loads, across each of the test surfaces to simulate the dragging they would experience out in the field maneuvering in tight quarters.
Think of running your fingernails down a chalkboard.
That's what we were doing to our test tires, and those of our competitors.
"What we put the tires through in testing-all the stresses and forces-is comparable to the worst conditions one could expect to see in the field," DeBolt