Jointly-Developed Wheel and Tire Cut Telehandler Operating Costs
A new wheel and tire developed jointly by GKN, Bridgestone Americas, and JLG improves telehandler stability while lengthening tire life and reducing replacement-parts inventory. The three companies worked together to develop the new wheel-and-tire combination to meet JLG’s goal of seeking a way to differentiate its products, according to GKN. Rather than considering a wheel and tire designs separately, says GKN, it was recognized that the co-development of the products could maximize overall performance and offer the best value.
GKN worked with engineers from Bridgestone Americas Off Road Division to develop the wheel in parallel with Bridgestone’s new tire, the Firestone DuraForce MH.
“The project took into account JLGs requirements, the characteristics of a newly developed tire, and the operational and service elements,” said Len Hensel, technical director at GKN Wheels, North America. Hensel also noted that, from the outset, the approach focused on a close working relationship between all three companies, rather than each working in isolation. “Instead of selecting standard product as the basis for development, the solution was engineered from a clean sheet of paper,” Hensel said.
Telehandler wheels typically measure 24 inches or 25 inches in diameter and are made from 9mm (.354-inch-thick) steel. GKN’s unique design resulted in a 28”-diameter wheel size to fit the tire’s geometry. The wheel’s shape enables it to support the telehandler’s loading and durability requirements while using a lighter 8mm (.314-inch-thick) steel.
In addition, the 28” rim’s shape offers improved tire serviceability despite the tire’s stiffer sidewall, resulting in reduced servicing costs.
GKN says the wheel-and-tire combination provides superior customer value by delivering three times the tire life now common with the Firestone SGG. The new designs have also allowed JLG to reduce from four tire options to two, thereby reducing the number of parts to stock and reducing inventory costs for JLG distribution.
Commenting on the development, Michael Poirier, General Manager of Corporate Accounts for Bridgestone Americas Off Road Division said: “We are extremely proud to have collaborated with JLG and GKN to bring one of the most exciting introductions to materials handlers in many years. We utilized the collective strengths of three organizations to deliver a superior product that dramatically improves the total cost of ownership and the overall stability of the machine.”