TyrFil Teams Up with Equipment World to Offer Trends and Industry Perspective at a Highly Successful 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Thank you to everyone who visited the Carlisle TyrFil booth and caught up with us at this past month’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG show.  CONEXPO, which is the largest construction trade show in North America, pulled even bigger crowds this year—with a record breaking 139,000 attendees on the show floor.  This escalation in attendance at a landmark show reflects an industry that is poised for growth and vitality in 2023—and TyrFil is ready to go along for the ride, helping Off-the-Road (OTR) vehicle operators ensure that the tires on their essential equipment remains flatfree all year-round.

Carlisle TyrFil was pleased to showcase our polyurethane foam fill tire technology to the hundreds of dealers, OEMs and customers who visited the Expo.  Attendees were treated to an in-booth overview of why Carlisle TyrFil Flatproofing technology offers the construction industry the most cost-effective, reliable and eco-friendly alternative on the market for puncture-free tires on the job.  This year, we were also pleased to unveil a new partnership and two-part video series with Equipment World—which kicked off at this year’s big event.

TyrFil teamed up with Bryan Furnace, podcast host and heavy equipment guru, to take a closer look at the state of the market and specifically why TyrFil flatproofing is the optimal solution for OTR operators looking to safeguard the tires on essential workhorse machinery such as bulldozers, excavators, skid steer, telehandlers and more. TyrFil offers the same puncture free tire protection as solid apertures without the heavy weight and often bumpy jarring ride that can fatigue equipment operators—but with the flatproofing guarantees that traditional pneumatics can’t offer.  Bryan sat down with Carlisle TyrFil’s product specialist, Mike Fullen, to get the run-down of the latest technology and also talk to customers in-booth at CONEXPO.

Here are some noteworthy highlights from Bryan’s interview with Mike for OTR operators who might be evaluating upcoming tire selection choices to help them weigh and better understand the benefits of foam fill tire technology.  TyrFil is a liquid polyurethane which is pumped into a pneumatic tire, replacing all of the air and curing into a solid, elastomer within 24 hours to offer operators the comfort and flatfree assurance they need when they take their heavy commercial and industrial equipment out into the field—on job sites often littered with tire puncture hazards from sharp rocks, glass, and nails to rebar.  Let’s “listen” in:

Bryan Furnace: Outside of the obvious of trying to avoid flats, what are some of the other benefits of foam-filling tires on equipment?

Mike Fullen: Protecting tires against flats is the main purpose of tire fill. That’s where it all started over 50 years ago.  But through our R&D and innovation over those 50 years, we’re able to manufacture a range of products in the flat-proofing portfolio to cover a vast majority of industries that weren’t able to take advantage of flat-proofing before for various reasons.  We were able to develop products that were far superior in heat dissipation, for example, which helped benefit the mining industry to a great degree because of the severe application in underground mining.  We developed a product that is relatively soft that enables a tire to deflect and basically ride “like air” to help industries where they had equipment that had no suspensions…or no shock absorbers, for example, which is most of the industrial or construction market.  The R&D and the innovation that we’ve gone through over 50 years has totally expanded the market for this material.

A benefit also that is somewhat overlooked but is extremely important is the pressurization inside the tire.  The beauty of tire fill is that when a tire is processed and filled—it’s processed, filled, and pressurized to whatever the operating pressure of the application calls for.  So, if the operating pressure on an industrial tire calls for 75 psi, for example, once that tire is filled, pressurized, and cures, that tire is at 75 psi from that day forward.  It’ll never change, and it doesn’t make any difference if it’s 90 degrees today, 20 degrees tomorrow.  The pressurization stays the same.

Question from Bryan Furnace:  When you pressurized these with foam, in my mind, it’s pressurized while the foam was kind of curing and it keeps that pressure against the side wall, but you lose that aspect of a possible explosive decompression because there’s no longer air in the tire, correct?

Mike Fullen:  That’s correct.  Another application is debarking machines, for example.   What a debarking machine does is takes the bark off trees, and how this happens is the tree would basically rotate in a cylinder and the bark could be shaved off.  Well, how this roller operates, it rolls on tires.   Tires spin, making the roller turn around. The problem is that there is a tremendous amount of heat build-up.  The tires were basically blowing out, and it was a safety issue because the maintenance people were actually afraid and fearful to go in and check the pressure on these tires.

Question from Bryan Furnace:  They would blow out, yes?

Mike Fullen:  Well, that can’t happen with a filled tire. You can’t have that explosive force. It doesn’t happen.  The other thing it did for that particular application is you can imagine there’s a number of tires that are rolling at the same time making this big cylinder turn, right?  If they have varied pressurization in these tires, and they did because they were air-filled, it created a vibration problem within the cylinder, where, again, we saw that problem with psi.  Aside from flat-proofing, psi is extremely important.  And even, a benefit as far as the viewpoint of sustainability.  Our innovation does not only include our product innovation.  It also includes our processing innovation and the equipment that we’ve developed over the years to help our dealers process our material inside their customer’s tires.  And the newest and greatest is what we call the AutoFil-GenII system. And what this allows is the reuse of used fill being processed with new virgin material and pumped into a tire, where the customer could save up to 60% of using virgin fill by reusing the old fill and keeping this used material out of landfills.

Question from Bryan Furnace:  Does the foam actually stay in a semi-liquid form?  How are you able to reuse some of the foam in a different application?

Mike Fullen:  Foam’s kind of a misnomer.  It’s not really a foam.  It’s basically an elastomer. There’s an A and a B, a prepolymer and a catalyst…mixed together.  Over a period of 24 to 48 hours, this liquid cures into a solid elastomer—soft, in some instances—and once it’s pressurized, off it goes. When the tire is worn out and it’s time to replace it, what the dealer will do is they’ll cut that old tire off and then cut the used fill that’s inside that tire into chunks that are then placed into a recycling machine. This material is ground up, and then mixed with virgin material, and we’re off to the races again with brand new material.

We also have a partnership with our customers and with the American Forests…known as the One Tote, One Tree program.  For every tote of material that leaves our manufacturing facility, a tree is planted by American Forests.  And to date, we (have planted) over a quarter of a million trees.

Question from Bryan Furnace:  In my mind, when I think of foam-filled tires, I always think of scrap guys, someone that’s going to constantly run over nails and pieces of scrap metal. But you just described a huge variety of applications that I never would’ve thought of for foam-filling tires.

Mike Fullen:  It’s tremendous. My favorite is we have an athletic equipment company. This company makes football tackling dummies, and in their mold, they use tire fill in the base of the tackling dummy.

Bryan Furnace:  I’m going to be honest, foam-filled tires is not the sexiest of topics at surface level, and yet, this is fascinating. I had no idea there were this many applications.

Mike Fullen:  I attribute that to, of course, to the innovation, to the R&D to improve our product portfolio.  At Carlisle TyrFil, we don’t have salesmen per se. I don’t call these guys salesmen. They basically, with their customers, are trusted advisors. They don’t sell, they solve. And in doing so, they’re the ones always looking for these new applications, new avenues, and because of that, we’re the leader in OE approvals.

Bryan Furnace: Is it worth the investment for like a rental company doing this to their equipment?

Mike Fullen:  Absolutely…You’ll see these pieces of equipment that, for example, will hoist up roofing material so people can redo roofs.  That’s probably the most popular application going today. On a rental basis, they’ll use a solid tire, for example, or they’ll use a filled tire. The benefit on the filled tire side, again, is you don’t know where this machine’s going to be used. That weekend warrior could be driving it into a swimming pool.

On a cost basis alone for the rental company, flats would be a headache. They would have to arrange to get somebody out to fix it. Meanwhile, for the rental customer, the clock is still ticking.  So, the rental company’s paying for this time, and now the guy who rented the equipment is kind of ticked off because now he’s paying for equipment he can’t use…Flat-proofing of the tires on rental equipment basically eliminates all that stress, all that bother, all that cost.

The benefit also is what a flat-proof pneumatic tire will afford, and that will give them traction and stability.  No matter where that rental piece of equipment is being used, you can rest assured that whatever the environment might be, the filled tire can handle it. Whether it be going over mounds of trash or going through softer compounds, as far as surface is concerned, the traction and stability of a filled tire is far superior than any other flat-proofing process.

Bryan Furnace:  Thank you for all of this information. Like I said, this is far more interesting and there are far more aspects of this than I ever would’ve thought at surface level.

Mike Fullen:  I’m in my 23rd year in the flat-proofing business, in the tire fill business, and every day is an adventure. Every day is different because the sky’s the limit, I think. The applications our team comes up with, almost on a daily basis, is mind-blowing, and that’s enabled us to be as successful as we are and to be able to grow. It’s a very, very interesting industry.

Bryan Furnace:  As you can see, there are a ton of different applications that can benefit from foam-filling tires, and it’s got some benefits that I didn’t even know existed. For instance, the heat dissipation…Foam-filling tires has come a long way from the days of just shooting some great stuff into your skid-steer tire. It’s actually come down to a pretty intense science, and these guys really know what they’re doing. I hope this helps you and your business.

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