For most of us, static electricity build-up just another scientific phenomenon that we’ve heard of. But for warehouses, facilities and mills around the world where forklifts are running on non-marking tires, static electricity is an important safety hazard that threatens operations, staff and facilities.
We’ve been demystifying static charges and static build-up generated by non-marking forklift tires for quite a while here at Camso: in April 2018, we were the first tire manufacturer to introduce a press-on tire that prevents static electricity build-up. And more recently, we’ve introduced the Solideal RES Xtreme NMAS, a resilient tire that also eliminates the risks linked to non-marking tires and static electricity.
But now, let’s deep dive into what causes static electricity build-up in forklift tires and some solutions to keep incidents to a minimum.
Static build-up in non-marking tires, an issue that still needs to be understood
The rubber compounds used in non-marking tires generally contain silica in place of carbon black. Other than their difference in colour, one thing that differentiates black carbon and silica is that while the former is conductive, the latter has insulating properties.
All forklift tires generate static electricity when the machine is in operation: it's a normal phenomenon. However, traditional black tires continuously discharge the charges, so they don’t build up to dangerous levels. With non-marking tires, static generated from friction is stored rather than dissipated: it builds up in the machine until there is contact with another conductive material to release the charge.
For operators working in facilities where forklifts are equipped with non-marking tires, the likelihood of static shocks – up to 50,000 volts – represents a major safety issue. Hazards linked to electricity build-up can vary in intensity and damage:
- Safety issues and operator injuries
- Fires or explosions
- Facility damages, outages and circuit damages
Turning the issue into the solution: non-marking tires that conduct electricity
After years of dedicated research and development, our Material Handling team developed a true industry breakthrough: the first patented non-marking anti-static tire technology (NMAS) – which is now available for the Solideal PON 775 NMAS and RES Xtreme NMAS for material handling fleets that seek a safer and more effective alternative for non-marking tires.
Both the RES Xtreme NMAS and PON 775 NMAS are cured with a cylindrical piece of highly conductive black rubber that is connected from the steel wheel to the tread face: it acts as a path that dissipates accumulated electricity on every rotation. Camso is the first and only tire manufacturer that offers a complete range of non-marking solid forklift tires – with both press-on and resilient options – that overcome the challenges of all high intensity applications where static build-up can cause safety hazards.
Turning anti-static education into a movie series
Last spring, Camso released a first animation video to explain to the general public the safety issues linked to non-marking tires. In the short animation film, we visit a parallel and caricatured world where a strange and electrifying hazard lurks around the material handling industry. That hazard turns out to be static build-up in non-marking forklift tires, which an anti-static hero, Solideal PON 775 NMAS, is able to overcome.
Given the success of this first video destined to North America, a sequel was released in June 2019 to educate the European market about the same issues. In the short sequel, a new resilient hero joins forces with the PON 775 NMAS to resolve the static issues across Europe.