If you were to rank the world’s toughest service for tires, refuse trucks would rank right near the top. As they maneuver through residential neighborhoods or position themselves to unload commercial dumpsters, refuse vehicles are constantly twisting and turning and running into curbs.
While these pressures are tough enough on their own, a bigger hazard comes when refuse trucks deliver loads to transfer stations or landfill sites. Here, they are often driving over ground littered with broken glass and construction debris like nails, screws and other sharp metal objects. Punctures are frequent.
Typically, the result is either a completely ruined tire if the vehicle continues to be driven, or downtime and the costs of a service call if the puncture is repaired.
These costs are big-ticket items for many fleets. According to a Goodyear survey, refuse fleets running an average of 50 trucks typically receive 102 tire-related service calls per month. Of those calls, 69 percent are the result of tire punctures and the average cost of each outside service call is more than $170. That’s more than $143,000 a year for the average fleet, which doesn’t include an average downtime of two hours per call.
The survey results also showed that these fleets purchase an average of 14 tires per month due to punctures. At $300 to $500 per new tire, or $150 to $200 per retreaded tire, these costs are also significant.
Goodyear recently introduced a new technology which offers a promising solution to North American waste handling fleets. The company’s new DuraSeal Technology is a gel-like, solvent-free compound built into the inner liner of the tire which is designed to instantly and consistently seal punctures up to 1/4-inch in the tread area, allowing truck drivers to continue operating after a tire is punctured.
Goodyear tests show that DuraSeal tires last up to six times longer than conventional tires before removal for repair.
“DuraSeal allows the punctured tire to remain in service until it is retreaded, reducing vehicle downtime and service calls,” explains Bethann Barchalk, marketing manager for Goodyear. “It seals tread punctures repeatedly without the tire needing to be repaired until it is retreaded. Even after retreading, the tire casing maintains its sealing capability.”
The City of Toronto’s waste hauling fleet has put DuraSeal Technology to the test. For six months the fleet ran DuraSeal Technology-equipped 315 80R22.5 G287 MSA tires fitted in the steer position on five trucks. The city’s 350-truck fleet includes a variety of waste trucks hauling from 18,000 to 30,000 pounds each. The trucks make several trips during a shift, picking up residential waste in the Greater Toronto Area and hauling it to transfer stations. Flats are typically the result of punctures and lacerations from glass and nails.
According to Ross Petrini, the Toronto’s manager of operations, the G287 MSAs equipped with DuraSeal Technology didn’t experience a single flat during the test period. Results show that DuraSeal Technology prevented at least one flat per tire tested, saving the fleet approximately $80 per service call and preventing lost productivity due to vehicle downtime.
“It’s the downtime costs I want to avoid,” Petrini explains. “If I have a crew of guys sitting around for two or three hours while I get a tire repaired, it’s a lot of money, particularly if it runs into overtime. I can save a lot over the course of a year if I can avoid downtime.”
Petrini says he’s now having the G287 MSAs retreaded to run in the drive position, where the fleet typically experiences the majority of its punctures.
“I look forward to seeing how many times we can retread them and how many losses we can prevent once we get them on the drive axle,” he says.