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Bridgestone and Firestone putting farmers in the driving seat

As one of the world’s largest manufacturer of tyres and rubber products worldwide, Bridgestone continues to lead the way in quality, technologically innovative tyres in the agricultural sector putting farmers in the driving seat and introducing new Bridgestone and Firestone agricultural tyres to their range.

Bridgestone has recently launched its latest addition to the ultra-high-performance agricultural tyre segment: the VX-Tractor. This high-traction tyre recognises the need users have for longer wear life when used on the road, pushing technological and performance boundaries to allow them to work longer and carry larger loads. The Bridgestone VX-Tractor has already been a significant success in Ireland.

The first focus point for designers was tyre performance. Wanting users to feel confident in the VX-Tractor, they incorporated Bridgestone’s patented lug design. Then they focused on increasing wear life, especially on the road, making the lug on the VX-Tractor longer and wider, with up to 20 per cent more lug volume than direct competitors. This increased lug volume delivers an overall tread depth that, once again, is greater than what direct competitors offers. At the same time, the casing has been engineered to minimise internal stress. This allows the tyre to perform at high speeds and when carrying heavy loads at inflations of up to 2.4 bar

The extra body in the rubber increases the strength, minimising the effects of erosion, friction and use. The premium six-layer tread belt also helps to protect against damage and potential punctures. The surface area of the sidewall has also been reduced and reinforced, further diminishing the tyre’s vulnerability to puncture. The VX-Tractor has been made with a new rubber compound that is even more resistant to wear than previous Bridgestone tyres. This compound partially replaces mineral oil with environmentally friendly vegetable oils, improving the lifespan of the tyres and taking a vital step towards a more sustainable future.

The VX-Tractor uses the same proven Bridgestone lug used on the VT-Tractor, which delivers phenomenal tyre traction in all conditions. Tests have demonstrated that the VX-Tractor has considerably less slip than its competitors, giving users every reason to feel confident in the tyre. Whether they are in the fields, on roads, under pressure, in slippery conditions, on slopes or carrying heavy loads, the VX-Tractor performs to the highest of standards.

The new VX-Tractor embraces Bridgestone’s commitment to quality, with all the available sizes incorporating these innovations as standard technology.

‘The new VX-Tractor tyre joins the current Bridgestone VT-Tractor tyre range for high-performance tractors and the VT-Combine tyre range for cereal combine harvesters. The casing of the VX-Tractor uses a technology which allows inflation pressures from as low as 0.6 up to 2.4 bar, which is perfect to adjust for each operating condition and ensures that even the heaviest loads can be carried. While the proven patented involute lug design optimises traction and reduces slip, the additional lug volume gives the tyre a long wear life,  which is especially important for tractors used in mixed in-field and on-road operations’ explained Mark Sanders, General Manager, Agriculture, Bridgestone EMEA.

The VX-Tractor was developed in Bridgestone’s European R&D centre in Italy and is produced in the Bridgestone plant in Puente San Miguel, Spain. The tyres are being released initially in 12 different sizes for front and rear axle applications, ranging from 24 to 42 inches. Additional sizes will complete the range through 2019.

Complimenting the VX is Bridgestone’s critically acclaimed VT-Tractor premium agricultural tyre which targets large operations using today’s advanced, sophisticated and often heavy equipment.

The VT Tractor enables farmers and contractors to meet the conflicting demands of greater productivity, efficiency and soil protection.

The range is capable of operating at lower inflation pressures and with a larger tyre footprint. As such, they reduce ground contact pressure and associated soil compaction.

Preliminary tests conducted recently by the independent organisation DLG* confirm the superiority of the VT-Tractor over other market-leading brands in a number of areas including traction and fuel consumption.

The VT-Tractor’s superior traction allows farmers to work faster in the field and cover up to 0.9 hectares more than its competitors over a 10 hour period. Coupled with the tyre’s excellent fuel economy, generating savings of up to 36 litres per 50 hectares vs. benchmark competitors, the VT-Tractor guarantees a lower total cost of ownership.

The most important feature of the VT-Tractor tyre is arguably its very low and very evenly distributed contact pressure. Internal testing also revealed that the VT-Tractor provides up to 26 per cent larger lug contact area than the same competitor tyres tested, resulting in very low soil compaction and thus greater crop protection.

In addition to their technical benefits competitive finance packages are now available to farmers on Bridgestone’s key agricultural tyres.

While Bridgestone has set its sights on the new and growing high-end agricultural tyre segment and will mainly be made available in sizes covering the largest and most powerful agricultural equipment, Firestone will continue to meet the needs of more than 90 per cent of the tractor market in Europe with a new generation of high-quality agricultural tyres.

Synonymous with strength and reliability in the agriculture tyre market for more than 100 years, Firestone has marked another milestone on its journey to offer superior performance and high quality products to European farmers with its new, long-lasting Performer Extra tyre.

Based on the popular Firestone Performer 85 and 70 tyres, the Performer Extra is the result of an enhanced wear resistance compound that extends the tyre’s life by 20 per cent when compared with its predecessors. The extended life of the tyre helps to reduce its environmental footprint, as well as cutting down on long-term operational costs and improving business efficiency.

The Firestone Performer Extra isn’t only designed to go for longer. The tyre’s dual-angel lug brings great traction, while the extra load option allows a higher loading capacity than many competitor products. Like its predecessors, the Firestone Performer Extra has been designed with reliability as a priority. The tyre has a self-cleaning tread for excellent traction and improved fuel efficiency, while the flexible casing of the tyre reduces soil compaction and improves road handling and comfort.

The Firestone Performer Extra will progressively be released to the European market in 43 different sizes, ranging from 20 to 42 inches, from July 2020. The tyre was developed in Bridgestone’s European R&D centre in Italy and is produced in the Bridgestone plant in Puente San Miguel, Spain. As the Performer and Performer Extra tyre ranges maintain the same dimensions they are inter-compatible both on the same vehicle and on the same axle. Like the Firestone Performer 85 and 70, the Performer Extra can be fit to most tractors used for agriculture.

“Helping farmers has been at the heart of Firestone since this business was founded – Harvey Firestone himself was born on a farm,” says Mark Sanders, Head of Sales Agriculture, Bridgestone EMIA. “This is why, to this day, we have maintained our commitment to solving common farmer needs through strong and reliable products. The Firestone Performer Extra, the latest addition to our popular Performer range, offers all the benefits of its predecessors but now with a significantly longer tyre life. 20 per cent1 is a huge difference and will be a real cost-saver for the farmers that will choose to make their operations more efficient and sustainable with the Firestone Performer Extra.”

This new generation of Firestone agricultural tyres includes the robust Maxi traction Combine for combine harvesters and the advanced Performer Row Crop for sprayer applications, a narrow tyre that allows precise steering between crops, thus eliminating damage to crops and roots.

Bridgestone Agricultural Tyre Specialist, Andrew Dowdall, said: “Bridgestone and Firestone have different brand strengths and attributes. Together in our multi-brand approach they can provide farmers in all segments the optimal solution.”

The opportunity for both Bridgestone and Firestone is the rapidly changing face of farming in Europe. Farms today are becoming fewer in number but larger in size, often sharing their resources and equipment to maximise efficiency. Their equipment is also becoming larger, more powerful and more specialised.

Andrew added: “This evolution in farming in Europe represents a serious challenge to manufacturers of agricultural tyres, as they struggle to keep up with the pace of change. As the world’s largest tyre and rubber manufacturer, we are responding to the challenge with a target-oriented multi-brand product portfolio that will meet the needs of all players in the agricultural sector.”