April 9, 2020 << Back to Blog
April 9, 2020
Based on the well-established division of labour, our industrial society allows everyone to do what he/she can do best, fastest and/or most economically under the circumstances given. In addition to “just in time strategies” in supply management, this leads to enormous amounts of goods and material being transported around the globe. As a consequence, forklifts of various kinds and sizes are indispensable machines for all kinds of loading and unloading as well as lifting and shifting operations. In the end, this means that also reliable tires for forklifts are indispensable to keep the whole system going!
Not all forklifts are the same
The wide range of lift truck starts with smaller electric/manual pallet trucks which are towed by staff in warehouses; for example, to either store goods in tight spaces or commission orders for subsequent shipment to customers. Classification of the forklift world would be with narrow aisle electric forklifts to sit on, followed by small size electric forklifts with seats for speedy storage or commissioning of goods in warehouses, and loading or unloading of trucks and trailers. These machines are followed by diesel-or gas-powered forklifts in various sizes which are mainly used for internal, short distance transfer of material in plants, as well as loading and unloading operations. At the end of the range, there are large diesel-powered machines, as those found in harbor and yard operations. All these forklifts have one requirement in common: Since they move goods to and from great heights, reliable stability is paramount for operational safety – and this is exactly where forklift tires come into play.
What makes a tire a good forklift tire?
There are several critical performance parameters for forklift tires: This starts with optimum stability and deflection, includes high load carrying capacity according to the field of operation, reliable traction, reduced heat build-up, strong resistance to fast wear and punctures and – all in all – the strength to withstand demanding working conditions and abrasive surfaces. Depending on these conditions and the type of machine used, either solid resilient tires or pneumatic tires may be the first choice. While solid resilient tires are chosen for their stability, long tire life and virtually ‘never-flat’ resistance to punctures, pneumatic forklift tires clearly increase operational comfort, on rough/ uneven surfaces and where the machines are doing outdoor work, and are available in either bias or radial variants. They are predominantly used for large equipment and outdoor operations in ports/yards, construction sites and lumberyards.
Some forklift “tire specifics”
The smaller the tire diameter for a given load carrying capacity, the lower the center of gravity hence better is the stability of the overall vehicle. Due to the typical construction of forklifts, front tires generally have higher load carrying capacity than rear tires as the load is carried in the front. Whilst rear tires often are smaller than front tires, as this allows for a better turning radius, this does not apply to forklifts capable of lifting higher weights: as the tonnage increases, both sets of wheels are normally of the same size. Solid tires tend to increase the stability of the forklift whilst pneumatic tires usually provides more ground clearance which makes it easier to manoeuvre on uneven surfaces and tough terrains. As most forklifts usually work on smooth concrete, tarred or paved surfaces, a smooth tire surface is often preferred. Industrial lug patterns are rather used for in- and outdoor operations, the latter of which can also be necessary on wet surfaces at times.
Pneumatic radial tires: For “Long run” operations
Galaxy’s tire portfolio is characterized by true forklift specialists, providing the right match for any given task and situation. As pneumatic radial tire, the Yardmaster Radial perfectly meets requirements of forklifts which have to travel faster in order to reduce cycle times while working on demanding surfaces with maximum stability. That is why applications involving longer runs and potential heat build-up issues call for Galaxy’s Yardmaster Radial. This applies for lumber yards or steel and recycling plants, where punctures are not much of an issue, as well as for empty container handlers and heavy duty forklifts in port operations. Particularly designed for concrete surfaces and metal ramps, this member of Galaxy’s Yardmaster family easily copes with heavy duty tasks on long, two-shift+ working days.
Pneumatic bias tires: Ensuring stability
Galaxy’s Yardmaster Ultra, Yardmaster and Bosslift III are pneumatic bias tires. The Yardmaster Ultra is a tire for all kinds of heavy duty operations in ports, yards and warehouses, material handling, loading and unloading as well as shop-floor operations. Pneumatic ride comfort, strong casing strengthened by stiff sidewalls, excellent stability in operation, a large deep tread for maximum wear protection and a specific tread block pattern coupled with a strong sidewall construction effectively protect this tire. This tire comes with excellent load distribution, optimal footprint for stability, puncture resistance for long durability and a comfortable cushioned ride. The Galaxy Yardmaster equally features a strong casing, stiff sidewalls, and optimum tread depth for high performance in lower intensity operations, excellent load distribution and an optimal footprint for stability. Galaxy’s Bosslift III comes with a carcass built to resist punctures and damage and to provide good load distribution along with a wide footprint for stability. Large central blocks ensure improved stability and wear resistance – particularly on heavy diesel forklifts working outdoors on paved and/or industrial surfaces.
Solid tires for Severe Duty Service – For most adverse conditions
Galaxy’s Yardmaster SDS, LIFTOP SDS and Lifter SDS are tires for severe duty service (SDS). Solid resilient forklift tires are typically constructed with either two or three layers of rubber with each layer using a unique rubber compound. Three-layer solid resilient tires, such as the Galaxy Yardmaster SDS, feature an inner heel made from hard rubber to ensure excellent stability and effective load transfer to the rims of the machine. A special softer centre compound provides a smooth pneumatic-mimicking ride whilst the robust cut- and chip-resistant tread compound reduces wear and dissipates heat. The Yardmaster SDS thus is the top performer with regard to increased tire life, stability, comfort, sidewall protection, a cushioned ride and excellent stability. The solid construction virtually eliminates any breakdown issues due to punctures, thus reliably ensuring maximum uptime.
The LIFTOP SDS is the latest addition to the brand’s extensive range of forklift tires. This non-marking resilient tire with its robust 3-stage construction was specially designed for severe duty applications in warehouses and ensures high riding comfort, minimum heat build-up, enhanced shock absorption and excellent durability. The tread design with its optimum tread depth ensures lasting grip and stability. Galaxy’s Lifter SDS is a budget offering with best standards and high-performance tread compounds for a long tire life. The solid construction will eliminate breakdown of equipment and ensure maximum uptime for applications where only one or two shift operations are required.
Up and down: Keep things moving!
There is every reason for the astonishing variety of Galaxy forklift tires which can be summarized in a simple conclusion: Provide customers with the optimum solution for any given operation, any working environment and any forklift – and with premium as well as value alternatives which match individual needs and preferences. By the way: This is why Galaxy will soon be coming up with new sizes to extend the ranges of Yardmaster SDS, Yardmaster Ultra and Yardmaster: Development engineers are busily preparing for new launches. So, don’t hesitate to contact and ask your dealer – and you will make your optimum choice!
Product Manager (EMEA) – Solids, Forklifts & ROTR