Familiarise yourself with the pros and the cons

Axis Tyres on 19 December 2017

If you're trying to decide whether pneumatic or solid tyres are best for your business, we can empathise with your struggle. Both types of tyres have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between pneumatic and solid forklift tyres is a difficult one.

However, it's an important choice that at some point in your career you will probably have to make. We've tried to lessen the difficulty of the decision by listing the major pros and cons of both options below.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before we dive in:

  • Each tyre type is better suited to different applications
  • Each tyre type has its own features and benefits
  • Each tyre type has a range of customisation options

At Axis, we can offer expert advice on forklift tyres for all kinds of industries. Give us a call on 1300 551 001 today.

What you need to know about pneumatic tyres


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Pneumatic forklift tyres

Pneumatic forklift tyres are available in both 'bias' ply construction and steel 'radial' construction. You can choose between the two based on your intended application.

As a rule, pneumatic tyres are made from thick rubber and deep tread, making them ideal for harsh conditions and uneven surfaces. Their dense cushioning is great for rugged outdoor applications which involve working on rough or potholed turf. The air inside the tyres provides absorption of impact thus reducing bumps and jarring caused by irregular ground.

However, pneumatic tyres can puncture and deflate at the worst possible times. They're air-filled, which means you get less reliability and a constant threat of site-specific usage impact damage. Punctured pneumatic tyres can be repaired, but will never perform as well as they once did or be as reliable.

The fact that pneumatic tyres are prone to punctures pokes a hole in the argument that they're ideal for construction industries. The other problem with them, aside from the risk of punctures resulting in total failure, involves variations in air pressure and tyre performance. It's notoriously tricky to set your tyre pressure correctly, yet this is a 'must' for pneumatic tyres.

Furthermore, pneumatic tyres are susceptible to changes in temperature, which can change their internal pressure. Decreased tyre pressure allows the tyre sidewalls to flex, which unfortunately leads to poor handling because the tyres flatten slightly, placing more tread in contact with the road.

Often, people opt for solid tyres to obtain peace of mind. But it's not all bad news for pneumatic tyres! They're cheaper in the short term and lend themselves well to applications that need both off-road and on-pavement operations. If you consistently work on rough or bumpy terrain, pneumatic tyres may be right for you.

What you need to know about solid tyres

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Solid tyres

The first thing you need to know about solid tyres is that their performance is, well, solid.

Solid tyres offer more hours of use than pneumatic tyres - approximately 2.5 - 3 times more - and are more or less maintenance-free. They don't need a pressure maintenance program, and you will have zero punctures to repair because they contain no air.

Their stability is guaranteed, and thanks to advances in technology, solid tyres like the ones manufactured by TY Cushion Tire can ride like regular pneumatic tyres. Better yet, the risk of sudden flat tyres or the explosion of the tyre or wheel assembly is completely removed.

The main drawback to solid tyres is that they're substantially more expensive. When it comes to making the switch from pneumatic tyres to resilient solids, you can expect to pay approximately 80 per cent more for them. Arguably, they provide many more hours of use than pneumatic tyres so the cost per use will reward you in the long run, but it's still a big initial acquisition cost.

Solid forklift tyres are more commonly used in warehousing and factories where the smaller turning radius is an important factor. They can also work outdoors, but only on smooth, paved areas such as loading docks. Solid tyres are ideal for applications in scrap steel recycling, and TY's specialist range have a reduced rubber weight which can boost your fuel efficiency by up to 30 per cent.

Overall, solid tyres are a great choice, provided you don't work on bumpy or uneven ground too often. They're long-lasting, and the reduction in downtime and maintenance makes up for the higher cost of ownership. Plus, they boast added safety for forklift operators and other on-site workers.

Other considerations

If you work in any of the following industries, solid tyres will almost definitely be a better and more cost-effective choice than pneumatic tyres:

  • Warehousing and storage
  • Scrap metal yards
  • Glass recycling centres

Solid tyres come in non-marking models for the food industry and anti-static for the chemical industry.

Making the switch

If you're keen to convert your forklift tyres from pneumatic to solid, we can provide you with the best tyres for both under and overground applications. At Axis, we can talk you through the whole process - beginning with establishing your forklift's operating environment, how much it's used and what type of products it handles.

As Australia’s forklift tyre experts, we are committed to helping businesses and organisations navigate through the vast range of forklift tyres available on the market - each with their different benefits in specific applications - by providing them with expert advice. We are proud to partner with TY Cushion Tire, Caterpillar, Dingo, Bobcat and JCB so whatever your application, we have you covered.

Our end-to-end process for converting pneumatic tyres to solid tyres is to provide a detailed quote to replace the tyres then, once accepted, make a booking at a time suitable to our customer to come out to their side in our mobile press truck.

We then remove the wheels and press-fit the resilient solid tyres to the existing wheels on your forklift, which takes approximately one hour. Immediately after, your forklift can be put back to work.

We always recommend going for a resilient solid tyre that is produced from virgin material (rubber) with a three-stage production and wire bead base. The virgin rubber will provide more use in years to come, and when combined with a soft centre core, it provides the operator with a smoother ride that's almost identical to the ride of a pneumatic.

The base of the tyre is what holds the tyre on the wheel, and a wire-enhanced base also helps ensure there is no slippage between the tyre and wheel.

Why choose Axis?

We have been in the industry for a long time and know how to find the right tyres and solutions for either general use or highly specialised applications. As an expert tyre supplier, you will always get the best products and service when you deal with us, as well as specialist advice. We have qualified tyre technicians operating Australia-wide, as well as competitive pricing packages and a long history of service excellence.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all tyre, but we can guarantee that we'll find the right fit for you, your business and your forklift.

For more information on switching from pneumatic to solid tyres - or just to chat about tyre maintenance in general – call our team at Axis on 1300 551 001.