Whether you’re in ag, construction, or forestry, you're probably not thinking too deeply about your tires when you get to work - unless of course there's a problem. In effect - the less you have to think about your tires, the better we're doing our jobs! But - have you ever given any thought to the engineering required to keep your tires properly mounted on your machines - especially under extreme circumstances like slippery mud or hillsides?
At Alliance Tire Group (ATG), we understand that the productivity, efficiency, and success of your business is literally riding on us. Your machinery can be brought to a halt by a malfunction of the smallest part.
One of those small parts with a big job is the tire bead. Though the tire bead is comparatively small to the other components of the tire, the bead serves the super-important job of anchoring the tire to the wheel.
A Bead Bundle
Located at the inner flange of the rim is the tire’s bead, who's function is to hold the tire to the rim, translating the power of the machine's engine to the ground. While ATG believes that all parts of a tire are extremely important, you could make an argument that the bead is the most important component in a tire's construction—after all, it's like the master link between the machine and the ground. You can still drive on a worn-out tread, but a tire with a damaged or defective bead will not sit properly or stay mounted on a rim.
The bead bundle is commonly constructed from a combination of steel cable and rubber compounds. Think of the bead as a steel-reinforced rubber band that stretches around the rim. When the tire is inflated, the air pressure pushes the bead against the wheel flange and creates a high friction point ensuring the tire stays mounted as it rolls and doesn't slip when the wheel starts to turn.
Proper planning and design of the tire bead is of the utmost importance. If the bead is too small there’s risk of damaging the tire during mounting, and if the bead is too large the tire could slide off the rim when in use. Due to the large size, heavy loads, and high horsepower of today’s equipment, the tire bead is more crucial than ever since it faces intense stress as the tire grips the ground beneath it. Because of this, ATG uses only the highest quality materials in its tire bead construction.
Alliance 550 MultiUse Tires stay firmly mounted on this hillside spraying application. Consider the uneven forces being exerted on the tire bead bundles in this situation.
Although tire beads are built tough, that doesn’t mean they should be taken for granted. In the end, we are asking a lot from a small amount of rubber and steel—especially when you consider the extreme forces to which they are subjected, not only by today’s machines, but by the advancement in tire technology.
Machines like skid steers have changed the direction in which a tire is stressed, while tire technologies like IF/VF and flotation allow operators to reduce the inflation pressure of their tires to minimize their impact on the soil, both of which have increased the demands put on the bead. To get the most out of your tires' beads, make sure you’re running your tires at the suggested inflation pressure and have your tires checked if you’ve done any damage to the rim.
ATG is committed to using quality materials throughout our tires and is invested in making the most durable and longest lasting product possible. After all, what’s the point of designing cutting edge tread designs and engineering advanced compounds if we skimp in a critical part of a tire's construction? (By the way, ATG believes every part of the tire is critical.) The attention to detail ATG demonstrates in the production of every part of a tire is what has made us the fastest growing brand in the off-road tire industry and given us a reputation for building long-lasting, high-performing tires.
Before wire bead bundles, tires were stitched to the rim, as seen on this replica of Charles Lindbergh's famous plane, the Spirit of St. Louis