OTR Tire Shipments: A Cyclical Market Relies on the Construction Industry

Feb. 11, 2016

Are heavy truck tires off-the-road tires? No, although some sizes overlap the segments, and heavy-duty truck tires sometimes are designed to travel off-road depending on the application.

Are industrial tires OTR tires? How about agricultural tires? Technically, yes, but based on their application and how the tire industry defines them, no.

OTR tires are their own animal. However, there will always be some confusion as to how an OTR tire is classified, especially because there are so many sizes.

They are targeted for mining and construction equipment, but those are broad categories.

Here is an OTR tire briefing on the size definitions of OTR tires. They are listed as radial rather than bias because more than half of the tires are radial.

Small: 10.00R20 through 17.5R25 sizes; range may include 15-inch sizes, depending on the tire manufacturer’s definition.

Medium: 20.5R25 through 23.5R25 sizes; range also includes 18.00R25.

Large: 26.5R25 through 24.00R35 sizes; range also includes 29.5R25 and 29.5R29.

Giant: 24.00R49 through 63-inch sizes.

Looking at 2016, OTR tire manufacturers describe the demand for large and giant OTR tires as flat. Michelin North America Inc. suspended operations at its earthmover plant in Starr, S.C., at the end of last year because it could meet demand with existing capacity from its other earthmover facilities, including the plant nearby in Lexington, S.C.

Pierre Jambon, vice president of aviation, OTR and commercial tires at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., addressed the slowdown in mining at the recent Goodyear Dealer Conference.

“It’s true that demand for large OTR tires is down. But the mining business is cyclical. We know from experience that it will recover.” He added that construction activity is expected to increase at a steady pace.

Globally, a new Smithers Rapra Inc. report says all off-the-road tire volume, including agricultural and industrial tires, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% through 2020.

According to “The Future of Off the Road Tyres to 2020,” mining and construction growth over the last several years “has been restrained by the effects of soft energy and metals prices that have limited mining activity, but the aggregate mining segment (aggregate used in construction) has driven growth in the overall market.

“Meanwhile, the construction, agriculture and industrial sectors have continued their steady performances in line with overall economic growth.”

Arthur Mayer, author of the report, says a number of technological trends, including tire pressure monitoring systems, will help OTR tires “become more durable, efficient and long lasting as applications become more demanding.”   ■

About the Author

Bob Ulrich

Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000 and retired in January 2020. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and had been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993. He won numerous awards for editorial and feature writing, including five gold medals from the International Automotive Media Association. Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University and has a law degree from the University of Akron.