Michelin North America Introduces First VF-Class Ag Radial for Sprayer Market
GREENVILLE, S.C. (Feb. 16, 2011) – After pioneering the world’s first IF- and VF-class agricultural radial tires for tractors, Michelin extended its technological advantage by widely introducing the world’s first VF-class tire for sprayers in 2011. The D-speed-rated MICHELIN® SprayBib™ radial is the only high-clearance sprayer tire that can carry 14,330 pounds at speeds up to 40 mph. The tire also delivers an expected wear life of three to five years versus an industry standard of one to two.
The new MICHELIN SprayBib radial features MICHELIN® Ultraflex™ Technologies, which boosts the tire's flexing capacity, helping improve fuel efficiency and traction and reduce soil compaction, something that is just as important for a full sprayer that frequently enters a field in
early-season adverse conditions as it is for even larger, heavier tractors, says Robyn Conrad, director of marketing for Michelin North America Agricultural Tires.
"We carefully engineered the Michelin SprayBib radial to deliver significantly better bottom-line benefits to both custom applicators and growers," Conrad says. "The new Michelin SprayBib tire flexes more than its closest competitive products, and it runs at significantly lower air pressures. As a result, it delivers a larger footprint with more lugs in the soil, giving you better traction, less slippage, a better ride and the opportunity to get into the fields sooner without damage."
The MICHELIN SprayBib tire, which was test launched in 2010 as an option on model year 2011 AGCO RoGators, is now widely available from multiple OEMs and on the replacement market, says Michael Vandel, agricultural segment manager for Michelin North America. The MICHELIN SprayBib radial joins the MICHELIN XeoBib® radial as the innovative tire company's second entry in the elite VF - or Very High Flexion - ag tire classification. Competitors have yet to introduce a first. Michelin developed tires
that are classified as VF or IF - which Michelin calls Increased Flexion - to meet the needs of producers who are using equipment that is growing larger, heavier and more muscular to accommodate expanding farm operations.
In fact, when it was introduced into North America in 2006, the MICHELIN® Axiobib® radial was the first tire to meet the IF - or Increased Flexion - classification created by the U.S. Tire and Rim Association. IF-classified tires flex more than standard radials, allowing them to carry up to 20 percent more weight at the same air pressure or operate at up to 20 percent less air pressure than standard tires. Four years later, in January 2010, the first competing IF radial entered the market.
Thanks to MICHELIN Ultraflex Technologies, the MICHELIN Axiobib radials help growers reduce soil compaction in traditional applications in a variety of soil and weather conditions. But Michelin researchers realized that sprayers needed special attention. A VF-class tire was an ideal solution, Conrad says.
"A VF-classified radial like the Michelin SprayBib radial flexes 20 percent more than IF-classified tires," says Conrad. "This becomes particularly useful for sprayer operators, who need to get into fields when soil and weather conditions may be less than ideal. The Michelin SprayBib tire allows sprayers to get into the fields sooner with better fuel economy, better flotation and better traction, but most important, with less soil compaction and less crop damage."
But that's not the only advantage the MICHELIN SprayBib tire offers growers and custom applicators looking for every business edge they can find, Conrad adds. The MICHELIN SprayBib radial is built to last. Even though it flexes so much that it may give the appearance that it is underinflated, the exceptionally durable VF radial significantly outlasts its closest competitors. "The expected tire life of the Michelin SprayBib tire is three to five seasons, versus one to two for its competitive tires," Conrad says.
Michelin plans to introduce additional new tires in 2012 that incorporate its revolutionary IF and VF technology and feature its patented MICHELIN Ultraflex Technologies, but Vandel says he wasn't ready to discuss them yet.
"But if Michelin is willing to invest so much design work into a niche market like sprayer tires," he says, "think about what we have planned in 2012 and beyond for combines and tractors."