Simon Brindley, workshop manager at Fagan & Whalley’s Coventry operation, has around 50 tractor units and 100 trailers to keep on the road. That’s an awful lot of tyres running in and out of the yard every day, with the added complication that the majority of the haulier’s 360 trailers are on a constant rotation, so he may not have seen them for weeks.
He says, “As a company we set ourselves high standards of mechanical service and maintenance: safety, consistent fleet performance and reliability are our primary aims. The last things I need are unnecessary complications. With over 22 months now of running Continental tyres on our trailers, and 10 months on tractor steer axles, I am seeing far fewer issues than in the past. Tyres are probably any haulier’s second biggest running cost, so at Fagan & Whalley we regularly trial various makes, to see what they might contribute in terms of economy and safety.”
Continental tyres were introduced to the Fagan & Whalley fleet in early 2014, when an order of 100 new Lawrence David trailers were specified with the manufacturer’s HTR2 product. Since then, with support from Continental’s local Field Service Manager, Paul Ridler, the haulier trialled the new Conti Hybrid HS3 steer axle tyre at the start of 2015, and is now using them on a fast-growing number of tractor units.
“One of the biggest issues any operator can face,” said Simon Brindley, “is the massive financial penalties uneven tyre wear can generate. Degradation on tyre shoulders, just from routine running, means tyres have to be taken off and replaced with anything up to 40% wear still available across the rest of the surface. That’s not acceptable, and it is one big difference I have noticed with the Continental tyres – we get good even wear from them and that is delivering considerable savings for us as we get the full ‘natural life’ from them.”
The Fagan & Whalley fleet consists largely of Scania units, each averaging around 140,000kms a year on long distance tramping work. Through drivers’ daily checks on tread depth, pressures, surface wear and damage, as well as reports from their own in-house routine maintenance inspections, the company keeps a close eye on the overall performance of the tyres.
Our drivers are a good judge of a tyre and they will soon speak up if they don’t feel comfortable with what they’re running on,” says Brindley, “They are the first to notice uneven wear causing a vehicle to get pulled around too much by road camber. The same with pressure levels, they know they get a better, more comfortable drive when pressures are kept consistently accurate.”
Continental will also be making an appearance in the Fagan & Whalley fleet on a tractor drive axle. The haulier has been making plans to trial the new generation drive axle tyre from Continental, the HD3, early this year.
“We are content with what we’ve seen over the past months in terms of quality and performance from Continental,” he says, “I’m certainly hoping for more of the same from Continental. If we get that we will be a very happy operator.”