What Is The Key Difference Between Solid and Foam-Filled Tires On A Machine?

When you work with heavy machinery, avoiding flat tires is one of your biggest concerns. Not only does this lead to costly and time-consuming downtime, it can leave your machine vulnerable to further damage. When looking at No Flat tire solutions, there are two main options — foam-filled and solid pneumatic tires. Whilst both prevent flats, they do have some notable differences.

When it comes to No Flat tire solutions, the flatproofing provided by Carlisle TyrFil is second to none. With more than 500 years of combined experience, no other company can match our innovation, product offering, or technical support. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your needs in more detail and make the switch for your machinery.

What Are Solid Tires?

As their name suggests, these pneumatic tires are made from 100% solid rubber. This has given them the reputation of being more ‘puncture-proof’ than their counterparts and is part of the reason why they’re so popular today. Surprisingly, solid tires are considered a newer technology when compared to other options (like foam-filled).

The main benefits of solid tires include:

  • They’re designed as a singular unit, so there are no moving parts or added components.
  • The rubber compound can be customized based on the application
  • They offer superior sidewall protection.
  • They have a higher return on investment thanks to increased machine productivity and reduced downtime.

The main drawbacks of these tires include:

  • The ride is sometimes described as being ‘harder’ than that provided by foam-filled tires.
  • The upfront cost can be much higher than other options.
  • The tires themselves are generally heavier than foam-filled ones, which can make moving them around more challenging.

What Are Foam-Filled Tires?

This is essentially another name for pneumatic tires that have been filled with a type of liquid instead of air, which hardens inside the airtight core and converts the tires to solid ones. This was once the main way to achieve a ‘puncture-proof’ tire — amazingly, this technology actually existed before solid tires were even invented.

The main benefits of foam-filled tires include:

  • The ride is often described as softer than that provided by solid tires.
  • It’s possible to use whatever tires you like, as any can be converted to foam-filled.
  • It can be cheaper than solid tires, particularly when the cost of rubber is high.

The main drawbacks of these tires include:

  • They are composed of a variety of different components, all of which have different manufacturers, so if one component is subpar it can affect the whole structure of the tire.
  • They don’t have as much sidewall protection as solid tires, although reinforced ones are available at an extra cost.

So, What is the Key Difference Between Solid and Foam-Filled Tires?

Although both are considered types of pneumatic tires and are ‘puncture-proof’, solid tires and foam-filled tires are not the same — their key difference lies in what they’re manufactured from.

Solid tires are made only from rubber, while foam-filled ones are typically made from tread-molded rubber that has been reinforced by steel belting and has layers of rubber-coated polyester underneath to form an airtight core inside. This core is filled with either pressurized air or gas (which will harden into a foam-like consistency).

Which is the Best Choice for my Machine?

It can be difficult to determine which type of tire is the best choice for your heavy machinery if you don’t first consider what sorts of jobs you typically undertake. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are the tires going to last a long time?
  • How are they going to impact my machine during its operation?
  • What sort of maintenance is required?

Whilst foam-filled and solid tires are both long-lasting and relatively low maintenance, the impact on the machine and operator comfort often means that foam-filled tires come out on top.

Choose Carlisle TyrFil for a Superior Foam-Filled Solution

Although solid tires have been increasingly popular over the years, we are seeing a shift back to foam-filled tires in many industries. If you’re looking for a superior No Flat product that will stand the test of time, look no further than Carlisle TyrFil. We replace the air in your pneumatic tires with a polyurethane liquid, which hardens into a synthetic elastomer core that eliminates flats in heavy machinery of all shapes and sizes.


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