Continental Tire the Americas LLC plans to launch a bias line of General brand OTR tires in 2020. The extension will include an L5 series line, an E3 series line, and an E4 series line.
Shawn Rasey, director of global business development, earthmover tires, Continental, previewed the upcoming bias products during the launch of the company’s Generation 3 intelligent construction tires at its Uvalde Proving Grounds in Texas.
He told attendees that while most of Continental’s focus has been on radial tire development, there is still a fairly large volume of bias construction tires sold in the U.S., across the Americas and around the world.
The L5 series will be used primarily on loaders, and at mine sites, quarries and construction sites. A range of sizes, starting at 20.5-25 and ranging up to 35/65-33, is planned.
The E3 line will have a number of sizes. Rasey highlighted one of the most popular scraper sizes in the world: 37.25-35. “It’s one of the products we’ve had tremendous success with in the past and so now we are bringing it to the Americas with the General brand,” he said.
The new E4 line will likewise encompass a range of sizes. Rasey said end users are especially looking forward to a bias-ply quarry tire in size 24.00-35. He noted that while the vast majority of rock quarries and users of this size have migrated to a radial tire due to the need to dissipate heat in severe conditions, there’s still a need for a bias option.
The new bias line will include a grader tire. “With the addition of the G2, we’ll have the four most popular sizes around the world, which are a 13.00-24 and 14.00-24, as well as a 15.5-25 and 17.5-25,” said Rasey. “That’s probably about 85% of the grader market on the smaller sizes, so it will put us in a good position to be able to fulfill requirements.”
The first sizes of the new L5, E3, and E4 tires will be available in January 2020. More bias products are on the horizon as Continental plans to round out its construction line with skid steer and backhoe tires.
Preview of radial OTR tires
Rasey also previewed radial products planned for the company’s factory in Lousado, Portugal, which he said gives Continental the “newest, most modern OTR tire capacity in the world.” The company recently completed a $110 million investment project, which added three earthmover tire product lines, at the plant.
Rasey said production is ramping up in E3/L3 designs in sizes 20.5R25, 23.5R25, 26.5R25 and 29.5R25.
Several other radial products are now in development. Rasey said two key sizes, 775/65R29 and 875/65R29 in the E3/L3 tread class, will be produced at the Lousado factory.
“Around the world and particularly in the United States, typically our customers fall into one of two categories,” he said. “They are either in a market where it is super-heated for those sizes and they don’t have enough supplier availability. Or they are in a market where they really haven’t seen these products much yet. What we do know – based on our relationships and following the trends with the original equipment manufacturers – is these tires are coming and they are going to be everywhere.”
The 775/65R29 size will ultimately replace the 26.5R25 and the 875/65R29 will replace the 29.5R25 size, according to Rasey.
Two L5 radial lines are also in Continental’s new product pipeline. The Lousado plant will make the following sizes in both rock and traction tread patterns: 20.5R25, 23.5R25, 26.5R25, 29.5R25 and 35/65R33.
Also planned is a bias-ply L5 slick tire that will be built at Continental’s Malaysia factory. The L5 will be available in sizes 26.5-25, 29.5-25, 29.5-29 and 35/65-33. ■