Technology is moving fast for the earth-moving machinery industry, as well as for agricultural vehicles. This is because of the move towards sustainability and environmental changes, creating a new generation of vehicles that are self-driving, electric and fuelled by alternate energy sources, such as through solar and hydrogen.
BKT Taking on the Self-Driving Future
BKT is ready for the challenge though, when it comes to the off-highway tyre, dedicating time to research how to provide a more environmental tyre for its range of products which include agricultural, industrial, earth-moving, mining, ATV and gardening sectors. As important as the environmental element is, BKT want to craft tyres which are also economically sustainable.
With electric vehicles, the type of energy and load distribution has led to the creation of specific tyres. Owing to the high torque, as well as the strengthening of the bead between the rim and the tyre, the design of the flaps of agricultural tyres must, for example, be adapted and could require a reduction in the depth of the tread and an increase in the robustness of the flaps.
Again as regards electric vehicles, in order to be able to carry heavier loads, compounds are also being research, as they must be able to operate at lower temperatures. The so-called tyre of the future must have compounds such as nanomaterials or nanocompounds, which offer advanced functions such as thermal or mechanical stability – something the BKT Research & Development Centre is experimenting with. Current projects include experimenting on natural fibres such as nanoclay an nanocellulose.
The Indian company is also test graphene, which provides higher resistance to wear and tear and puncturing, as well as higher resistance to traction, as well as better resistance to rolling, and exceptional duration. Graphene is a particularly durable product, known for being the thinnest and most resistant material in the world, to compare with steel, for example, it is 200 times more resistant and 6 times more flexible. Known also for its extraordinarily high level of conductivity for both heat and electricity it’s an asset for heavy-duty applications and the mining sector.
BKT are also working on adapting sensors for work vehicles, as the dialogue between tyres and machines becomes more interwoven. The sensor can inform the vehicle of the consumption of the tread, which is something crucial for the mining machinery as the heavy workloads need high levels of consumption. Likewise, in the agricultural industry, the compactness of the earth is something that requires inflation pressure, so the sensor will help limit possible wear and tear.
SPOTECH is an additional tool BKT are currently using. The device provides information of the exact position of the equipment via satellite tracking, whilst an accelerometer is also included, which records the data, as well as recording all the lateral, longitudinal and vertical movements, as it is attached to the machinery. The additional benefit is that it also works on tracking speed, duration of the cycle and other parameters. The device analyses the general health of the tyres by taking account of the effects and consequence on the equipment on which they are fitted.
BKT are working carefully with automation, digitalisation of data, alternative energies and using innovative materials to help improve the sustainability of our resources, in an exciting and scientific style.