The new Galaxy AT Grip Steel steel-belted skid steer radial from Yokohama Off-Highway Tires was designed from the ground up in close consultation with skid steer operators and industrial tire dealers. The result is a revolutionary, all-around performance design engineered to deliver higher performance and longer tire life for skid steers.
"What we found when we sat down to talk to skid steer operators and tire dealers about skid steer radials is that the market is ready for the benefits radials deliver—more hours, better traction, better ride, and overall lower cost of ownership," says Dhananjay Bisht, Product Manager—Earthmoving, Construction and Industrial Tires for Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America, Inc. "But what we also heard loud and clear was that they really wanted a strong sidewall. The feature they admired most about their old bias-ply tires was the stability and durability of the sidewalls. So we developed a radial tire that delivers the footprint and ride benefits of radial construction as well as a much sturdier, reinforced sidewall."
Bisht points to several features that toughen the sidewall of the Galaxy AT Grip Steel. First, there's an extra sidewall ply to add thickness and stiffness. Immediately below the bead, a stiff flex-dampening layer directs sidewall deflection away from the rim, reducing damage from lower-sidewall movement. On the surface of the sidewall, twin rim protectors minimize impact and rubbing damage to the tire.
The AT Grip Steel sidewall strikes a balance between stiffness and flexibility that allows the tire to reduce the bucking and bouncing common with bias-ply skid steer tires while resisting damage and heat build-up to extend tire life.
Bold, Aggressive Tread
The Galaxy AT Grip Steel features a non-directional block tread design, a strong departure from standard R-4 patterns. The blocks are optimized for wear and traction, Bisht notes.
"We knew radial construction would give us a larger footprint with more evenly distributed tread wear than bias-ply tires can deliver," he notes. "So we were able to design the AT Grip Steel with smaller, shallower tread blocks, knowing they would last. That gave us more biting edges for traction on any surface and less heat build-up for longer tire life.
"Within the AT Grip Steel tread pattern, the lugs are closer together toward the center of the contact patch and farther apart along the outer edges. This gives us a 45% higher rubber-to-void ratio along the center and lower mass along the edges," Bisht adds. "Those ratios provide a smoother ride and better stability because of the center mass, while adding traction and self-cleaning from the extra voids along the shoulders."
The contact patch of the Galaxy AT Grip Steel is significantly larger and more square than the footprints of same-sized bias-ply tires. The flat, even footprint also minimizes center wear in the tread that is common in bias-ply tires.
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires developed special sidewall and tread compounds that maximize heat resistance and resist cut-and-chip damage. The AT Grip Steel is a strong performer over the road, allowing crews to move skid steers quickly and conveniently on or between job sites.
The combination of design, construction, and materials enabled the AT Grip Steel to outlast conventional bias-ply R-4 skid steer tires by up to 50% in rigorous field testing. Plunger tests at the factory also documented that the AT Grip Steel is 3 to nearly 4 times more puncture resistant than competitive bias-ply tires.
The Galaxy AT Grip Steel casing is also retreadable, Bisht adds.
"The AT Grip Steel is literally the tire the industry has asked for, designed with the help of the people who will be working with this tire every day," Bisht says. "The icing on the cake for the market is that we are able to launch this tire at a price point that is comparable to bias-ply tires. That makes the AT Grip Steel a perfect tire for skid steer owners who want to economically enter the radial market and see the benefits for themselves."