DECATUR — Productivity for farmers goes right down to the tires being used on their equipment. Major agricultural tire makers at the Farm Progress Show on Wednesday were showing the latest advances in tire technology to provide a boost to farmers.
Mitas wanted to show farmers something clear, visible and tangible during field demonstrations of its tire performance, said Greg Gilland, an account director with the company.
“When they're out in the field 8 to 10 hours a day, it allows them to have a more productive day,” Gilland said. “They can work a field faster. All that is money in their pockets, not to mention satisfaction.”
Mitas is launching its new PneuTrac tire concept during the show. The company is continuing to invest in new, larger tires, said Neil Rayson, its senior vice president.
It is continuing to increase its global reach despite a downturn in the agricultural economy, Rayson said.
“The decrease in equipment sales has affected all of us,” Rayson said. “It's a small bump in the road for us.”
Mitas, which is the second leading agricultural tire maker in Europe, opened a manufacturing facility in the United States in 2012 and Rayson said has continued to gain market share even with a down economy.
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Engineers are looking to design tires that can reduce compaction in fields, said Noberto Herbener, a Mitas automotive engineer. Compaction can reduce yields, which Herbener said can mean less money for farmers.
He said the technology is being extensively tested in fields and in the company's labratories.
While trying to improve productivity, operator comfort is important, said Avishay Novaplanski of Galileo Wheel Ltd. in Israel, which is the company that invented the PneuTrac concept. A smooth ride provides comfort, improved work quality and reduced wear on machines, Novaplanski said.
Other tire companies are working on products with the similar idea of innovation in mind. Michelin has one of the tires it is launching during the Farm Progress Show that is over 7 feet tall, said Mike Pantaleo, a customer engineering support representative.
“We continue to innovate,” Pantaleo said. “Farmers can justify a purchase by realizing the increase in yields.”
Pantaleo said the new Michelin tires visitors see during the show are mostly updates to its current lineup.