Increase efficient mowing with airless radial tires

December 23, 2019 -  By
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MORE MOW TIME Airless radial tires help eliminate downtime on mowers and reduce many maintenance costs. (Photo: Exmark)

More mow time Airless radial tires help eliminate downtime on mowers and reduce many maintenance costs. (Photo: Exmark)

Say goodbye to tire pressure checks and flat tires. Airless radial tires could be the investment landscape contractors need to keep mowers productive.

We talked with John Deere, Exmark and Michelin to understand the benefits these tires have for efficient mowing.

Take time back

Airless radial tires have multiple features that can help landscape contractors prevent downtime. For example, air pressure checks, which are time-consuming and often overlooked, are eliminated, says Tony Marconi, technical director with Michelin Tweel Technologies.

“You can imagine for a whole fleet of machines, there would be a lot of tires to check the air pressure on,” he says.

Downtime from flat tires, punctures or leaks is completely avoided. With airless radial tires, landscape contractors don’t need to carry tire repair kits to the site. And, if a tire needs to be changed out, airless radial tires don’t need to go to the shop for a mounting machine. “You can puncture the Tweel, and it’s not going to affect its performance,” Marconi says.

Lenny Mangnall (Photo: Exmark)

Lenny Mangnall

Exmark Marketing Product Manager Lenny Mangnall says Exmark asked its customers, “What does a flat tire cost you?”

Some landscape contractors simply responded with the cost of the $3 tire plug. Others were in tune with the total cost, including the
impact of downtime, Mangnall says.

“The real cost can be anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on the severity of the damage to the tire,” he says.

Airless radial tires are designed to last the life of the mower with up to three times the life span of a pneumatic tire, meaning operators can go three times as long between replacements, says Nick Minas, product manager with John Deere.

Made for turf

Nick Minas (Photo: John Deere)

Nick Minas

Having consistent ground pressure is another perk. “Since there’s no pressure to maintain, you always maintain a nice even cut because you don’t have to worry about a mismatch of air pressure or deck leveling,” Marconi says.

Tire pressure plays a significant role in the deck level of a mower. Airless radial tires maintain even tire pressure so operators experience less vibration and bouncing for improved comfort overall.

Michelin’s Tweel tire has large and even pressure distribution in its footprint, so it’s gentle on the turf, Marconi says. “Operators can mow faster, still maintain a smooth cut and not feel like they are beating themselves or the mower up,” he adds.

According to Marconi, airless radial tires can mow on steeper hills because of the added control and stability.

Mangall agrees. “The tire has a larger contact patch with the turf, so it allows us to reduce compaction and gives more traction for better hillside stability. The tread pattern on Exmark’s Tractus tire allows debris to clear out better,” he says. “It’ll be less likely to build up and carry those debris from location to location.”

Rolling forward

An airless radial tire on a Z994R mower. (Photo: John Deere)

Photo: John Deere

Michelin began producing the Tweel in 2014. After showcasing the Tweel at GIE+EXPO the past few years, Marconi says the company is getting more interest.

Mowers from John Deere, Toro, Hustler Turf, Grasshopper, Ariens, Gravely, Husqvarna, Kubota, Mean Green and others can accommodate Tweel tires. Marconi suggests contractors reference Michelin’s Fitment Guide if they want to find which Tweel tire will work for their mower.

“We’re continuing to add sizes to cover a broader spectrum of mower brands,” he adds.

Exmark launched its new Tractus tire at the 2019 GIE+EXPO. Mangnall says the tires will be available from Exmark’s vendor in spring 2020.

“In the end, we’re not a tire manufacturer,” Mangall says. “We are a manufacturer that makes mowers, and contractors rely on us to give them something that allows them to cut grass productively and proficiently.”

Danielle Pesta

About the Author:

Danielle Pesta is the associate editor of Landscape Management. She started writing for the green industry in 2014 and has won multiple awards from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA). She can be reached at dpesta@northcoastmedia.net.

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