Material Handling | Tools and technology | 12.05.21

8 Factors to Consider When Choosing Non-Marking Forklift Tires

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Over the past 17 years, indoor forklift applications have boomed thanks to the rise of e-commerce, online shopping and home deliveries just to name a few. This trend has shaped the material handling and logistics world, leading to a rise in popularity for non-marking forklift tires. Today, indoor applications represent 60% of the market and 30% of these require non-marking tires.

Indeed, companies do not want to see tire marks or black rubber dust on their floors or goods, and a growing number of industries have set regulations that require the use of non-marking tires. To meet the increasing demands linked to this, multiple tire manufacturers are now offering some non-marking products are part of their line-up.

When it comes to non-marking forklift tires, what matters and what doesn’t? Here are the 8 factors we recommend considering when choosing non-marking tires:

Leaving no marks on the floor or black dust on the goods

This is the easiest and most obvious factor when it comes to non-marking tires: they should offer clean running, leaving no tire marks behind or black dust on products. Otherwise, they would simply be regular tires.

Tire lifespan and overall performance

Non-marking solutions should not mean compromising on tire performance. When looking at options, always ask about the compounds, their technical features and performance. Since it’s something that can vary according to the usage intensity of each application, the first thing to do is to determine your forklifts’ usage intensity. If you’re not sure, you can use our Maximum Lifespan tool.

Lower rolling resistance and energy consumption

Lower rolling resistance equals better energy efficiency. This means lower combustible consumption for fuel and gas-powered forklifts, and increased battery life for electric trucks.

Enhanced thermal capabilities to lower heat build-up

Medium and high intensity applications often mean that forklifts have more travel time, they’re covering more distance and have multiple duty cycles. This leads to increased demand on tires and fewer cooldown periods, which causes internal heat build-up. Tires with enhanced thermal capabilities are better suited to handle such applications: overlooking this factor when choosing a non-marking solution could lead to thermal failure of the tires.

Color, a superficial factor for non-marking products

Whether looking at shoes, tires or wheels, non-marking products exist in a wide variety of colors: green, red, black, grey, etc. Rather than a reference to their color, non-marking defines the products’ property, which is leaving no marks on the floor.

Non-marking tires and wheels offer the perfect solution for settings where floors must remain clean and where hygiene plays an important role, such as airports, hospitals, warehouses, grocery stores, trade show floors, and other indoor environments.

Superior age resistance due to rubber’s natural antioxidants

There are many processes that manufacturers can use in order to be able to produce non-marking tires. While some compound recipes require the use of harsh chemicals to give the tires their lighter shade – as is the case with white non-marking tires, some methods require dyes (think of red or green tires), and others try to keep manipulations to a minimum. The less the rubber’s natural antioxidants are tampered with, the more they’ll remain in the compound, offering better age resistance to the final product.

Reduced chunking and cutting thanks to more natural rubber compound

This goes hand in hand with the compound recipe mentioned above: the higher the ratio of natural the rubber in the compound, the stronger the tire will be. This results in more resistant tires that don’t chunk and cut as easily.

Color stability and UV resistance

When cooking, rubber naturally turns to a brownish color. We can’t notice it in regular tires because of the black carbon that is added to the compound as a filler: it’s what gives the tires their black color. Non-marking tires, however, use silica as a reinforcer, which is of lighter color. While it is possible to produce white tires when adding bleach and chemicals to the compound, they are unable to maintain their white color. Causes include dust and particles on surfaces where they run, or heat build-up in the tires when in higher intensity applications. Some non-marking tires have very poor heat resistance capabilities, thus generating important heat build-up in the tire and making the brown color of the rubber reappear (what we call in material handling jargon “yellowing”).

Anti-static properties for very high intensity applications

The last factor is about safety: because of the silica used as a filler in non-marking tires, they have insulating properties rather than being conductive like their black counterparts. Static build-up in non-marking tires can lead to shocks up to 50,000 volts, fires, and facility damage. Non-marking anti-static tires offer a great solution to this issue. For more information on static build-up in non-marking tires, read our article on the matter.
Make sure to ask your dealer about these 8 factors when seeking a non-marking solution for your forklift fleet to get the right non-marking tire for your application!
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