Conti is Facebook friend: new tires from feedback
Truck tire customers may want to “Friend,” “Poke” and “Like” Continental Tire the Americas LLC’s Commercial Vehicle Tire Division. Following an enthusiastic response from Facebook as well as the Mid-America Trucking Show, Continental is launching two new super single truck tires.
In March this year, Continental invited truck tire customers to visit its booth at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. and leave feedback about two competing designs for a wide single drive tire product on its Facebook page. The company repeated the offer at Canada’s national truck show, ExpoCam, in early April in Montréal.
After speaking with hundreds of show visitors and reading the comments left for the research and development team on Facebook, director of marketing Clif Armstrong said that Continental will bring both designs to market.
“Originally when we invited our customers to give us feedback on the designs for the product, we were envisioning one, wide single drive tire for highway use. However, the response was enthusiastic for both designs – so much so that we knew they both had a legitimate place in our product portfolio,” Armstrong said.
Continental’s original decision, Armstrong said, was to launch a wide single drive tire for long haul, highway use which would replace dual fitments and provide superior fuel economy, exceptional traction and weight reduction. The product labeled “Design 223” on Continental’s Facebook photos will be produced for this application as the new Continental HDL2 Eco Plus super single drive tire. It is currently scheduled for November 2011 availability.
Continental’s director of research and development for truck tires in the Americas, Roger Stansbie, said that the new HDL2 Eco Plus (Heavy Drive Long Haul) in size 445/50R22.5 will feature 27/32nds of tread depth, a closed shoulder and regenerating sipes in the middle of the tread blocks. A three-dimensional sipe in the center of each tread block couples the groove under compression for increased strength, but still allows more block flexibility as the block exits the footprint.
The second product produced will be an additional size for the successful HDL2 DL (Heavy Drive Long Haul, Deep Lug) truck tire, also in 445/50R22.5 size. On the Continental Facebook photos it was labeled as “Design 224.” At 27/32nds of tread depth, the HDL2 DL super single tire’s tread design was copied from the existing sizes of the HDL2 DL and provides deep tread depth with the excellent traction of an open shoulder, Stansbie said.
This tire also features a bottom groove treatment that reduces stone retention and outside groove geometry designed to distribute stress evenly throughout the groove bottom, providing excellent durability. The HDL2 DL wide base also will meet the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership limits for low rolling resistance tires in the drive position, he said. Availability is scheduled for mid-2012.
Both the new drive tires will be initially produced and shipped from the Continental truck tire plant in Puchov, Slovakia, but Armstrong said that molds and presses are already being relocated to the recently expanded Continental truck tire plant in Mt. Vernon, Ill. for American production.
For more information visit the Continental truck tire Web site at www.continental-truck.com.