Industrial Evolution: Digital to Play Bigger Role, Says Continental
Continental has big plans for its material handling tire offerings, says Matt Futrelle, head of sales and marketing, Commercial Specialty Tires, Continental Tire the Americas LLC.
“For forklifts, Continental offers a range of solid tires — both press-on band and resilient — in standard (elastic black) and clean (non-marking),” says Futrelle.
“Pneumatic tires in radial and crossply construction are also available for use on forklifts.”
Several trends are impacting the forklift tire segment, he notes.
“We are seeing a trend towards clean, non-marking tires as certain industries have production requirements or do not want marks on the floor. We have seen growth in this area and have clean, solid tires in both the Continental and General brands to meet this need.
“Another trend we are seeing is the shift from internal combustion material handling equipment toward electric-powered versions,” he says.
“As batteries become more advanced and more competitively priced, we expect this to accelerate."
In addition, automation is coming on the scene. “With regards specifically to pneumatic tires, much of the market continues to be bias, but the industry is seeing an increase in the use of radial tires,” which, Futrelle notes, offer a variety of benefits for end users.
He also expects digital tire performance monitoring to become increasingly important on the industrial tire side.
In the port tire category, “Continental is moving in the direction of digital solutions and fleet analytics.
“These solutions offer fleets information that can help reduce costs, as well as make vehicles and operations safer.
“ContiPressureCheck sensors are mounted to the inside of tires to read air pressure and measure tire temperature. We are working to develop future versions that can monitor tread depth, as well.
“We imagine a future where we can offer enough data about tires and their operations that a port, for instance, could pay by the hour or by the container moved,” instead of paying by the tire, he says.