OTR conference emphasizes earthmover tires

Feb. 19, 2015

Sixty years ago, no one was producing a 63-inch giant OTR tire, much less retreading one. Today, 63-inch tires are in demand all over the world. And a number of companies, including Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. in Potosi, Mo., are profitably selling, retreading and/or repairing them.

What will be trending 60 years from now is anyone’s guess. But questions about the present and near future are being answered as you read this: The 60th annual Off-the-Road Tire Conference began on Feb. 18 and will run through Feb. 21. Sponsored by the Tire Industry Association (TIA), the 2015 conference is being held in Tucson, Ariz.

Purcell Tire Chairman Bob Purcell, who has been attending the conference since the late 1950s, is in attendance. He says in the early days, 63-inch tires were unheard of.

"There was no OTR tire even close to that — 39-inch was just about the biggest. Some loader and scraper tires were up to 39 inches."

He doesn’t see anyone producing a non-low profile tire larger than 63 inches. “I think they will find a better way to put more tires on larger pieces of equipment.”

On the opening day of the event, TIA introduced its Certified Earthmover Tire Service (ETS) training program. There also was an educational session on the status of the Highway Trust Fund, which TIA said cannot possibly keep up with infrastructure improvements that are necessary for the highways and bridges in the U.S.

“Since road and bridge construction will have a direct impact on the OTR tire and retread businesses, the industry must be aware of the proposed funding mechanisms and the areas where these funds will be spent,” said Roy Littlefield, TIA’s executive director.

The 61st annual Off-the-Road Tire Conference will be held Feb. 17-20, 2016, in San Diego.