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GKN Weels co-develops new solutions for JLG telehandler application

The current offering of Standardwheels has been designed to meet a broad range of off-highway equipment applications. On occasions, OEMs will demand unique solutions to match specific, and often highly challenging, conditions. In such circumstances, the ability for the OEM, tyre and wheel manufacturers to work closely together can provide greater value to the end user. The benefits of this type of collaboration are clearly demonstrated in a design project undertaken by GKN Wheels in North America withaccess equipment specialistJLG
Industries.

JLG was seeking a way to differentiate its products. This resulted in
the development of a solution that provided enhanced telehandler
stability, greater tread life and lower operating costs. Rather than
considering a wheel and tyre design in isolation, it was recognized that
the co-development of the products could maximize overall performance
and offer the best value.

GKN Wheels Armstrong was selected to design and develop the new wheel
due to their engineering expertise and in-house test capabilities.

GKN worked in liaison with the engineers of Bridgestone Americas’ Off
Road Division to develop the wheel in parallel with their new tyre, the
Firestone DuraForce MH.

Len Hensel, Technical Director at GKN Wheels, North America, stated:
"The project took into account JLG’s requirements, the
characteristics of a newly developed tyre, and the operational and
service elements. From the outset, the approach focused on a close
working relationship between all three companies, rather than each
working in isolation. Instead of selecting standard product as the
basis for development, the solution was engineered from a clean sheet of
paper."

Historically, wheels for this type of application were a 24" or 25"
diameter utilizing 9mm gauge steel. The unique GKN design resulted in a
new 28" diameter size to fit the tyre geometry and has a specific
shape which enables the wheel to support the loading and durability
requirements of the machine, while using a lighter 8mm gauge steel.

In addition, the 28" rim shape offers improved tyre serviceability
relative to conventional wheels, despite the stiffer tyre sidewall,
resulting in reduced servicing costs.

The wheel and tyre combination provides superior customer value from
the enhanced tread wear characteristics that result in a projected tyre
life that is up to three times more than the Firestone SGG. The new
designs have also allowed JLG to reduce from four tyre options down to
two. This means fewer parts to stock and reduced inventory-carrying
costs for JLG distribution.

Commenting on the development, Michael Poirier, General Manager of
Corporate Accounts for Bridgestone Americas’ Off Road Division said:
"We are extremely proud to have collaborated with JLG and GKN to
bring one of the most exciting introductions to materials handlers in
many years. We utilized the collective strengths of three organisations
to deliver a superior product that dramatically improves the total cost
of ownership and the overall stability of the machine."

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