It is hard to imagine a tougher place to be a tire than Chuckran Auto Parts, where machinery operators pull engines and transmissions from cars with hydraulic jaws. By teaming up with Alliance Tire Americas and putting a wide range of Galaxy brand tires to the test, Andrew Chuckran has learned a thing or two about tires.
By Steve Werblow
The process is straight out of a robot/dinosaur movie mashup: an operator approaches a car with a John Deere 624H, pins it down with huge forks, reaches in with a hydraulic mandible and wrenches the engine out. After placing the engine aside for further recycling, he returns and, with a tug, emerges holding the transmission bell casing. In recycling’s most dramatic process, a car is reduced in a moment to a carcass by a giant, steel Tyrannosaurus.
At Chuckran’s Auto Parts in Bridgewater, MA, the loader with the engine puller never loses its appetite—the company recycles an average of 30,000 cars per year. With a steady stream of cars flowing in for processing, efficiency is vital. Scattered shards of steel and aluminum would cripple the tires on most machines in moments, but there is no time for downtime.
That is why—for all the millions of dollars’ worth of machinery and inventory on his family’s 70-acre property—Andrew Chuckran spends a surprising amount of time thinking about tires. “We couldn’t do this without good equipment, and the tires being as cost-effective as they are, it makes this possible,” he notes. “I guarantee you will not find a more aggressive application than this one.”
Since its founding in 1949 by Chuckran’s grandfather, the company has kept up with advances in tire and machinery technology. Andrew Chuckran—who operates the business with his father Alan and cousin Rich—says he has been surprised by some of the lessons he has learned about tires in recent years, especially since he teamed up with Alliance Tire Americas Northeast Business Development Manager, Shawn Sweet, to put a wide range of Galaxy brand tires to the test.
“Shawn has used my company as kind of a testing ground for certain types of tires,” Chukran notes. The recycling yard was one of the early proving grounds for Galaxy Severe Duty Solid (SDS) tires, including the 25.5-25 Super Smooth SDS.
“Initially, we thought tread would be important to us,” he says. “We’ve come to find out that we’re not doing real high speeds, so tread doesn’t really matter. We’ve gone to solid, smooth tires that we press onto a John Deere OEM wheel.”
Sweet points out that the flat tread radius of the Galaxy Super Smooth distributes weight and torque evenly in contact with the ground, reducing wear and minimizing damage to the yard surface. “We build solid Galaxy tires with lug and block tread patterns for environments where traction is important, but in a situation like Andy’s, he can get even longer wear from a smooth contact patch because he’s spreading the load evenly across the entire surface of the tire and he’s not exposing blocks or lugs to sharp debris,” Sweet explains. “The chunk-resistant compound of the Super Smooth SDS minimizes damage from shards of metal, and the tire’s solid construction eliminates any concern of puncture damage.”
Chuckran adds that he appreciates the depth of the rubber compound on the Super Smooth. “We’ve also had tires that have a wheel that is two or three times this size, a gigantic wheel with less rubber,” he says. “But with those, before you know it, you’re down to the metal. We’ve had these Galaxy tires for about a year, and there’s very little wear at all.”
Chuckran points out that rotating the tires on his engine-eating loaders is an important step in extending their service life. “Obviously, the front tires take the brunt of the abuse,” he notes. “You’re riding over the debris if you bring the cars to the same area. Every few months, we’ll swap the fronts to the back.”
Because solid tires cost twice as much as pneumatic tires—or more—the Chuckrans use them where they will enjoy months or years more service life than they would get from pneumatic tires. For machinery in other parts of the operation where debris is not as threatening, including the John Deere 624H and 624K loaders that move cars from station to station around the yard, they use tough Galaxy pneumatics, including the Galaxy LHD 500.
We can get at least a year, perhaps two, out of the premium pneumatic tires if we pull the debris out of them and check the air,” Chuckran says. “They’re in abusive situations, just not as abusive.”
Meanwhile, for the most abusive situations—the epic engine-pulling station—Andy Chuckran is sold on his Galaxy solid tires. “We’ve never had a tire this good,” he says. “These could last three to five years. We couldn’t do this job without good equipment. These tires being as cost-effective as they are makes it possible.” | WA
Steve Werblow writes for Alliance Tire Americas (ATA) (Wakefield, MA). Alliance Tire Americas is the American sales and marketing arm of Alliance Tire Group (ATG), a global leader in OTR, mining, agricultural and logging tires. ATG’s Alliance, Galaxy and Primex brands have earned global reputations for excellence and performance. For more information, call (800) 343-3276 or (781) 321-3910 or visit www.atgtire.com.