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Michelin Tweel

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by durallymax, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Posted these in some other forums I am on awhile back but forgot about this one.

    I picked up our set of Tweel's a month ago for our Cat 262C2 Skid Steer.

    We have had too many headaches with pneumatic tires due to punctures. Whether its a simple or large one, it happens too often. The turning point on this machine was when one of the workers stabbed the bale spears through the front two tires which still had over 75% tread.

    We knew solid/solid flex type tires were not the answer either due to their rough ride and poor impact resistance. We have too many instances where they ram into a stub wall or curb.

    I stumbled across the Tweel and thought it would maybe be the perfect fit. i had many doubts, but it seems to be proving me wrong.

    The one thing I really was curious on was their supposed resistance to "hopping/dancing" when turning with the skid steer. They really do eliminate this, all the way up from 0-12mph turning on a complete dime it didn't hop or skid nor did it do it on fast cornering either. The ride is interesting to describe. You can tell you are not riding on pnuematics as it is a slightly firmer ride when empty, but nowhere near a solid tire ride. The large open spaced tread blocks may contribute to some of the ride qualities. The more you load the Tweel's up, the better they seem to ride though. So far traction seems excellent even on ice. Hopefully these do end up working out. They are a big upfront investement but are retreadable.

    Heres a picture of ours followed by a video from Michelin.





    Here is my update on them that I have been posting on the other forums.

    Got in a set of Michelin's Bibsteel All Terrain's this week. Weren't ready to buy another set of Tweel's yet and wanted to see how these performed. Being steel belted radials they are more resistant to punctures to begin with. Most all other SSL tires are Bias ply. These were a little more than the Firestone Duraforce DT's but were half as much as the Tweels. We never got very good life out of the Firestones. Maybe 600hrs. The Michelins start with a little more tread and the Radial construction should help them run at least twice as long. With wheel loader tires I was always told 3-4 times the life with Radials over Bias and that was what the prices reflected as well. Tractor tires seem to wear at least two to three times as long in addition to other benefits.

    If these last as long as I am hoping they should have decent tread for trade in time. These will be going on our 242B3 that runs in the barn, pushes up feed, scrapes manure, beds freestalls, jumps center alley curbs, moves bales, etc. I did disable the 2 speed on this machine however which should help some with the tire life. Our 242B3 for feeding will need tires next winter. By then we should know if we want another set of the Tweels or not I am thinking. Then we would just take the tires from the new machines and put them on the trade-in's and keep that rotation going. I do not know if we will want three sets of the Tweels though due to the fact we may trade down a size on the barn machine to a 226 which runs 10" tires and they do not make the Tweels in that size yet.

    I also attached a picture of the Tweels after 150hrs worth of use. I made sure to not wash them in that amount of time. In the deep snow and mud they keep themselves cleaned out well and do not allow much buildup at all. I forgot to put a gauge to them when new, however Michelin claims 30/32" original tread depth. At this time they measure 29/32". If they continue this trend in theory we should easily see over 3,000hrs worth of life in the original tread. We typically run SSL tires down until the center is smooth. With the Tweels being flat across though it will allow slightly longer wear. I would not expect the retread material to last as long, however I do not know if Michelin will be supplied a pre-mold or custom mold tread or if they will be having people use an off the shelf retread material.

    Michelin Bibsteel All Terrain 305/70R16.5


    Tweels after 150hrs. Rear squats due to how heavy the 262C2 is in the rear with no attachment.

  2. icudoucme

    icudoucme Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    thanks for the write up. I've always been interested in the tweel.
  3. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Really liking the Bibsteel AT's. Very soft ride. They feel like you are driving around with 5-10psi in the factory tires (Titan/Cat). They do squat with some sidewall flex as well like many Michelin radials which should help with traction.

    I think the Tweels are a good replacement for the solid tire, but I am interested to see how the Bibsteels hold up for us. Being steel belted radials they should have fewer punctures. Treadwear should be similar, but the ride quality and traction already seem better than other air tires or the Tweel.
  4. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I got some answers from Tweel on the life of the poly "casing".

    They are working on their legal warranty right now, but they will essentially be covering it for the initial tread life.

    They poly is rated for UV exposure to 30 years and millions of load cycles. It is rated to operate in temperatures ranging from -40*F to 266*F.

    The Tweel can operate with many of the spokes damaged. There is not immediate fail if any one of them breaks. Diminishing performance will be noticed with each injury the Tweel sustains until it is decided to pull it out of service, but it will continue to operate with a lot of damage.

    Making sure to get them retreaded before the tread is completely smooth is important as well to avoid hitting the steel belting.

    He would not give any info on how soon other sizes will be available other than they are planning on adding more in the near future.
  5. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,796

    How are they holding up for you and your expectations of them?
  6. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    So far they are holding up well and are a good alternative to other airless options.

    The Bibsteels do better for ride comfort and traction, but still go flat. haven't punctured one yet, but they just bent a rim the other day.

    I measured the tread yesterday on them and they were still at 29/32". We have 300hrs on them now. New they are 30/32.
  7. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,796

    I'd say 1/32 per every 250-300hrs is pretty good. I'd figure your on concrete or gravel most of the time.

    You seem to have a lot of trouble with the pneumatic wheels and tires. Is the dairy farm environment vastly different on such a large scale compared to milking say 100 head that makes flat tires common or is it mostly employees just not being careful? I'm used to maybe a flat tire once or twice a year, usually because someone drove where they shouldn't or were just being flat out lazy and didn't pick something up. A bent rim would be very unusual here around the farm.
  8. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    In a way. The biggest change is the operators. On a 100 cow farm, the owner, his/her kids and a farm hand or two operates them. Larger farms all have to resort to migrant labor. They are hard on the SSL's but at the same time they are not $25/hr operators either.

    Curbs are what ruin the rims.

    Then there is simply the chance for issues is just higher when you have a larger area for the SSL to cover.

    It's not just large farmers, guys down to 200 cows and even less are all running solid tires because they are sick of dealing with flats.

    Many flats are unavoidable or accidental, the other half are preventable. The easiest way to prevent them is to make it hard for them to occur. AKA airless tires. Part of the "abuse proofing" we do, along with disabling 2 speed and other things.
  9. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,796

    I forgot your dealing with a different sort of help then what I'm used to. I can see where your coming from though with the abuse proofing. Some friends of mine run a 150ish head dairy south of Monroe and the people they have do barn chores are terrible with the SSL and the chore tractors, broken cab doors, hitting things, no idea what a grease gun is, cold start-> wot and full speed ahead, etc
  10. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Yeah I service ours weekly and theg get cleaned weekly too. Some guys let the operators service them and I cringe when I hear their stories. If a fitting doesnt take grease they just leave it, one was cleaning the air filter every week but never made sure the surface was clean in the air box so the filter didnt seal and dusted the motor.

    Ours are better than what weve had in the past. The Cats have been taking the abuse much better, nothingd actually broken on them other than they ripped all of the hose holders off tfying to pull stuff out this winter. Theyll knock a wiper off once and awhile and scrape some paint but otherwise pretty impressed. We had a new NH L220 for 280hrs, they barely got to run it on that amount of time but it was so fragile they already had a bunch of panels misaligned. Our older New Hollands didn't hold up as well but much better than the new one did.

    The Mitsupillar engine starts much better than the Shibura, this is good because no matter how hard I try, I cant get them to wait for the glow plugs. I put a relay in one of the New Hollands that woulf override the ignitiin if the glow cycle was not done. The Shibura would not start without its glow cycle so they would just crank until it died. The fuel pumps on those liked to go out as well, theyd just crank till the battery died. Fortuneatley they always did it where it was parked so I coyld scoop it up woth the loader. I kept a couple starters on hand.

    We have milkers here 23hrs out of the day so that skid does not see any duration of sitting.

    Ours at least start them and shut them off at idle now. Before they just left the throttle up never moved it. They all use the foot throttle in the Cats which helps.

    A lot of guys have gone to open station utility tractors for scraping their. Barns, bedding stalls and pushing feed. We have ally scrapers and are not setup for drivethrough so the skid works for us, but the utility tractor is a good way to go. no cage around them so they slow down a bit.

    I was very surprised this summer when I brought out a 226b for them to demo because they didnt like the 242b3s poor visibility. I still had the 2spd active at that time and they were all mad that I had to take the 226 back. I figured if they like the slow skod steer better, they must really be worried about visibility. When we trade thats what theyll get.

    Cat gave us some training software when we switched to them and a lot of thr workers went through the course which helped. We also have a great head guy thats in charge of all of the milkers and he likes keeping things nice and is a good operator. Trains the other guys well.

    Its a very different environment that most SSLs are in though. Cat had a couple engineers out this week going to farms and finding out what was important on dairy farms.I think my talkibg points surprised them a bit because while people in construction care about things like power, hydraulic flow and breakout force, we just want a comfortable machine with good visibilty thats built like a tank and can hold up to the amount of dust we operate in and be easily cleanable. They are pushing hard into the ag market and doing an outstandibg job. At first they were switching CNH guys but lately theyve been flipping a lot of Bobcat guys which is impressive.
  11. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,796

    Definitely much different then the environment I'm used to on farms. We don't rely on skid steers as much being a smaller operation. They get used for mixing feed, pushing snow, picking up bales, general work around the farm but they don't see 1/10 of the use I'm sure yours do. Most of the stuff around here is 1845C's with 4-7000hrs on them and still going. Their tough machines but the people running them really help too, they don't see nearly the wear and tear as they would on a bigger farm.

    How many head is the farm milking if you have people there 23hrs a day? Sounds like it would be a big change from what I'm used to, milking takes a couple hours morning and night and then time for barn chores and that's about it.
  12. durallymax

    durallymax Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    We milk 1500 between the farms with dry cows. The home farm only has a double 7 so they milk 700 cows for about 10hrs per shift plus the stuff they have to do after milking. The other farm has a 40 stall rotary which takes less than half the time.
  13. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,796

    I'd have to go to 6 or 7 farms to find 1500 cows here. Sounds like quite an operation. Definitely much larger then anything I've been around.