No long wait times | The AAID system releases air from the tire into the atmosphere instead of back through the system
GUELPH, Ont. — Soft low-pressure implement tires are best in the field. Harder higher pressure tires are best in transit.
Can farmers have their cake and eat it, too?
An Ontario producer thinks they can.
Jake Kraayenbrink, a hog producer from Moorefield, Ont., who also does custom slurry hauling with his fleet of large liquid tankers, says he has found a way for farmers to quickly inflate and deflate their implement tires.
It’s an important task that hasn’t always been easy to accomplish.
Some of the latest tractor tires are designed to operate as low as six pounds per sq. inch in the field, but 10 pounds to 20 p.s.i. is a more common range. Low tire pressure in the field increases footprint and traction and reduces soil compaction, fuel consumption and tire wear.
However, tire pressures on the road should be increased to the recommended transit range for safe hauling, which is often about 35 p.s.i.
To get the most out of their tires, farmers must be able to switch back and forth as needed.
Michelin has run its CargoXBib 850/50R 30.5 in field comparisons at 35 and 15 p.s.i. It is a non-driven tire often that is installed on heavy haulers such as air carts, grain carts and liquid manure tankers.
The footprint at 35 p.s.i. measured 20 inches long and 30 inches wide for a total of 600 sq. inches.
The footprint at 15 p.s.i. measured 31 inches long and 31 inches wide for a total of 961 sq. inches.
As part of the recent North American Manure Expo, researchers from the University of Guelph conducted similar footprint tests on four heavy haul tires, using clean tires coated with fresh black paint imprinting on clean plywood.
They found that the CargoXBib 850/50R 30.5 Michelin tire at 25 p.s.i. had a footprint of 576 sq. inches. Dropping the tire pressure to 16 p.s.i. increased the footprint to 736 sq. inches.
The Titan Torc-Trac at 27 p.s.i. had a footprint of 353 sq. inches. Dropping the tire pressure to 17 p.s.i. increased the footprint to 575 sq. inches.
The researchers saw similar results with the Firestone ANS Tractor 35.5L-32 and the Alliance Agri-Transport 35.5LR-32.
While farmers are aware that low pressures are best in the field and higher pressures are best in transit, the hassle of halting to change pressures for road and field makes the practice non-viable. It simply wastes too much time.
Some producers have tried systems such as Tire Boss, which are commercially available for log trucks and farm trucks in muddy fields.
However, those systems are for semi tires and don’t work on big agricultural tires, said Kraayenbrink.
“We tried Tire Boss, but all these systems for logging trucks release their air back through the lines and through the control box,” he said.
“We’d spend two minutes at the edge, waiting for the tires to deflate so we could drive onto the field. That’s way too slow for us. The large volume of air contained in a big farm tire like that takes forever bleeding back through the lines.”
Kraayenbrink and his truck mechanic got busy designing and building their own air system specifically for large ag tires.
They knew the tire must be quickly inflated and deflated for road and field conditions. The system they sent to the patent office is called Automatic Air Inflation/Deflation (AAID).
“The difference between our system and those systems for semis is that we release air directly from the tire into the atmosphere right at the tire itself,” he said.
“It doesn’t go back through the system. We deflate those big tires from 40 p.s.i. down to 20 p.s.i. in less than 30 seconds. And it all happens from the cab, on the go. No need to stop and get out. There’s one simple toggle switch to inflate or deflate the tires.”
Kraayenbrink said the tires can run much lower than 20 p.s.i., but he doesn’t want his AAID system to jeopardize his clients’ tire warranty. As a result, he keeps everything within the boxes on the spec charts.
“Recommended tire pressures are determined by two factors, speed and weight. Tire engineers have that all figured out for us and it’s all set out in the specs,” he said.
“We’re not tire engineers. We work within their recommendations. But what we can do is maximize the use of each tire you install.
“If you do not compromise your tire pressures — if you run the best p.s.i. for each situation — then you’re always working your tires at maximum efficiency.”
Kraayenbrink said tests conducted on his own hauling operation and by his clients show a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption when tires in transit are at 35 p.s.i.
He said big ag tires with a high volume of air last twice as long with the AAID system.
The same AAID system can serve self-propelled units such as tractors, combines or high clearance sprayers and power take-off units such as balers, trailers, tankers and carts.
In a multi-implement operation, the control unit can be moved from one machine to another in two minutes. The compressor can transfer between implements in about 20 minutes. The air tank, lines, swivels and valves generally stay in place once installed.
The air tanks hold an additional charge of air for refilling for road use. If the air tank is empty, the system automatically prevents the tires from being deflated. The control unit has a manual override. In the event of an electrical malfunction on the implement, the operator will not be left stranded.
Kraayenbrink said a basic AAID system, which comprises the compressor, control unit, air lines, swivels and valves for four tires, sells for about $10,000.
For more information, contact Kraayenbrink at 519-840-0919 or visit www.agribrink.com.