Michelin Begins Comprehensive Tyre Trial With Suckling Transport Ahead Of Euro VI
Michelin has kicked off an extensive 12-month trial comparing the wear rate of three key truck tyre sizes to determine the best fitment strategy for petroleum haulage contractor Suckling Transport, prior to its first Euro VI vehicles joining the fleet.
Based in West Thurrock, Essex, Suckling Transport currently specifies 295/80 R 22.5 Michelin tyres as original equipment on its steer and drive axles. However, with the introduction of Euro VI, the company anticipates a larger tyre size will be fitted as standard by manufacturers to cope with the increased weight – expected to be around 200kg per vehicle.
Michelin will monitor the mileage performance of its latest X MultiWay 3D XZE (steer) and XDE (drive) tyres in the company’s current fitment size as well as 315/70 R 22.5 and 315/80 R 22.5 to determine which option will provide the best results for its petroleum tanker fleet.
The tyres will be tested on three new 6×2 MAN TGS 440 tractor units, which each underwent a vehicle weighing exercise conducted by a Michelin Technical Manager ahead of the trial, to determine optimum inflation pressures. The tyres were fitted by ATS Euromaster at MAN dealer, PCL, in Grays, Essex.
The data will be particularly important to Suckling Transport to determine the company’s future tyre strategy, as well as providing Michelin with vital performance data to share with other customers.
Dan Bauckham, Suckling Transport’s Director of Engineering, says: “We decided to work with Michelin to trial all three tyre sizes as it’s critical for us to have the optimum size and load rating for the liquids we are transporting.
“Although we have found the wear and fuel consumption of Michelin’s 295/80 R 22.5 tyres very impressive, when we start taking delivery of Euro VI vehicles we’ll have to choose between 315/70 and 315/80 fitments. This trial will help us decide which, whilst providing an accurate benchmark against our existing 295/80 preference.”
Suckling Transport operates a fleet of 60 tractor units and 64 tankers delivering petroleum products nationwide to customers including Shell and Phillips 66. Its vehicles are double shifted seven days a week, and collectively the fleet covers more than 10 million kilometres every year.
Bauckham adds: “It’s important for us to operate the safest possible fleet which is why we fit Michelins. However, it’s a fine balance in deciding precisely which tyre size will give us the best combination of tyre life, fuel-efficiency and payload potential. On paper we expect the 315/80 tyres will offer slightly increased longevity, but that carries a reduction in payload capacity of approximately 50kg compared with fitting a set of 315/70s. The results of the trial are going to prove very interesting.”
Guy Heywood, Commercial Director of Michelin’s truck division in the UK, says: “We’re widely expecting tyre sizes to change as manufacturers open up their order books for right-hand drive Euro VI trucks. 315/70s and 315/80s have long been the tyre of choice for operators on the Continent, whilst many UK fleets have tended to prefer 295/80 steer and drive tyres.
“Despite the changes with the new emissions legislation, the 295/80 will remain the top selling tyre in the UK for many years to come, driven by significant demand on the replacement market for pre-Euro VI vehicles.”
Michelin’s X MultiWay 3D range benefits from three-dimensional tread sipes which generate grip in difficult driving conditions, locking together when needed to maintain the stability of the tread, whilst helping to provide lasting safety and mobility on dry, damp and wet surfaces.
Designed for both national and regional operators, the tyre completed its 295/80 R 22.5 launch into the UK market in January 2013. The 315/70 and 315/80 X MultiWay 3D steer and drive tyres have already quickly established themselves amongst the top-selling Michelin commercial vehicle tyres in Europe, and have been on the market since 2011.
The trial is one of many joint projects between Suckling Transport and Michelin since the haulier re-signed its pence per kilometre (PPK) contract with Michelin in July 2008.