What is the difference between foam-filled tires and solid rubber tires?

May 16, 2023

What is the difference between foam-filled tires and solid rubber tires?

Polyurethane foam filling method has been around since the early 1970s. Poly fill is composed of a two-part liquid polymer A and B, they are pumped directly into a pneumatic tire at designated pressure. This was before solid off-the-road tires were invented and it was a way to deal with tires being punctured on tougher jobs at waste and recycling, and scrap metal yards.

There are some pros of foam-filling your pneumatic tires:

  • Cheaper in the short term than solid OTR tires
  • Ride may be softer compared to some solid OTR tires

Disadvantages of foam-filled tires include:

  • Foam-filled tires have a single use life span
  • Sidewall tears eventually will cause failure since the poly will revert
  • Combination of tire/wheel/poly fill is costly
  • Special equipment required to dismount poly assemblies

Solid rubber tires may be pricier than foam-filling pneumatic tires, however, in long term, they surpass foam-filled tires. Pros of solid tires:

  • Zero maintenance
  • Zero downtime
  • Puncture proof sidewall
  • Significantly lower cost-per-hour compared to foam-filled tires
  • Work with existing wheels on your wheel loaders
  • Rubber compound can be manipulated based on application

While solid rubber tires are harder than foam-filled pneumatics, manufacturers are able to engineered solid OTR tires to be soft enough to offer a nicer ride for the operator.

When deciding between foam filled or solid OTR tires, consider what your operation prioritizes and calculate the long-term cost accordingly.

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MAXAM Tire is a global leader and manufacturer of specialty tires engineered and custom built specifically for you.

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