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New Continental tyres reduce fuel consumption, performance review finds

Continental TractorMaster tyres have been judged the most efficient in a European tyre performance review. The review was carried out by the German agricultural society Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (DLG) and included a number of practical tractor tests to establish which agricultural tyres are the most efficient for tractor use.

The TractorMaster tyre was the most fuel efficient of all premium brand tyres tested. It also delivered the most efficient transmission of engine power offering the best ratio of tractive output to PTO of the brands on test. “This review shows our tyres, when set to the same pressure for load, are three per cent faster over the same distance and use less fuel to complete the same task,” says Continental agricultural tyre specialist Richard Hutchins.

The tyres are uniquely manufactured using new technology that Continental has applied to an agricultural tyre for the first time. N-Flex Technology is a patent pending, heat-treated nylon that sits beneath the rubber. It enables the tyre to keep its shape which reduces rolling resistance on the road and lowers fuel consumption. “Tractor tyres reach high temperatures during road use. With the standard nylon used in the manufacture of tyres, after a long run when parked overnight, the tyres cool to the shape of the parked position creating so called ‘flat spots’. When the tractor is used again, the operator will experience ride disturbance because the tyres are not a perfect circle. N-Flex Technology reduces the occurrence of flat spots and provides a more comfortable ride,” explains Mr Hutchins.

Technological developments in the construction of the tyre’s bead and lug design increase fuel and operational efficiencies. Mr Hutchins adds: “Our research showed a more flexible tyre with a stronger single bead filament construction is safer and allows the tyre to be fitted to the rim with greater ease, the bead also holds the rim better and transfers torque more efficiently which reduces fuel consumption. Our d.fine lug design has a five percent larger surface area which extends the life of the tyre and offers the operator a more comfortable ride on-road and more traction in the field.”

The tyres were tested on the road and in the field to determine the fuel consumption, ground coverage, and operational efficiency. The DLG uses ‘PowerMix’, a test that consists of 14 test cycles to simulate various loads on the tractor and measure its fuel and AdBlue consumption. The individual test cycles replicate typical field and transport applications at half load and full load.

These include ploughing and cultivating, but also mixed work that applies load on the transmission, the PTO and the hydraulic system such as the use of a power harrow or baler. “This test is as close to everyday farming as possible and shows how efficient the tyres tested are for real farm work,” concludes Mr Hutchins.