After years of fitting Continental branded new tyres and retreads from Bandvulc to its fleet, the UK-based supply chain logistics provider, Fowler Welch, has now put the two companies’ low rolling resistance (LRR) offerings to the test in a joint-trial held at the vehicle testing facility at Millbrook Proving Ground.
Bandvulc and Conti in Tyre Testing Exercise
Fowler Welch and Bandvulc, who were acquired by Continental in 2016, arranged an evaluation of the performance and efficiency benefits of low rolling resistance tyres, both new and retread, with support from Continental and its ContiPressureCheck TPMS system.
Maurizio Romano, Head of Fleet Strategy at Fowler Welch, explains: “Miles per gallon figures are critical to operational costs and we are determined to get the most out of every drop of fuel. Not only does it result in undeniable cost savings, but also significant reductions in CO2 emissions. After implementing a number of fuel-saving measures across the business, we asked ourselves ‘Where else can we maximise our economy?’ The obvious answer was tyres.”
Fowler Welch currently fits Continental tyres to the steer axles of their vehicles, paired with Bandvulc retreads on the drive and trailer axles. All tyres across the fleet are managed by the Galahad platform as part of Conti 360° Fleet Services. The purpose of the tests was to gather quantitative data on miles per gallon (MPG) for various tyre setups, while demonstrating the benefits of tyre pressure monitoring systems.
Two DAF 6x2 tractor units were used to conduct the tyre trials, which were divided into five rounds. Accuracy of the tests was critical, so all variables were closed to obtain the precise MPG figures. The trucks were driven simultaneously to eliminate any variance in weather conditions. Forming an extremely comprehensive and analytical process, the entire testing sequence was expertly calibrated, and both cost and CO2 reductions were evaluated. One truck acted as the control vehicle, with the same tyres fitted for all five rounds. The other became the test vehicle and was fitted with different tyres from rounds two to five.
- In the first round, both vehicles were fitted with OEM tyres, consisting of Continental HS3 on the steer axles, Continental HD3 on the drive axles and replacement Bandvulc B2K on the trailer.
- In the second round, the test vehicle was fitted with Bandvulc BD08 tyres on the drive axle, and the difference in MPG compared to the OEM setup measured.
- In the third round, the test unit was fitted with LRR tyres – Continental Efficient Pro on the steer axle and Bandvulc BDF5 on the drive – and the effect of pure LRR tyres on MPG evaluated.
- In the fourth round, the test vehicle trailer was fitted with Bandvulc TF1 tyres, and the effect of the trailer on MPG assessed.
- Finally, in the fifth round, all of the test vehicle’s tyres were deflated to 20% below the recommend tyre pressure levels, and the resulting difference in MPG measured.
Both vehicles began at a filling station, where the tanks were completely filled with fuel, trip counters were reset and start time was recorded. Data from the integrated Microlise telematics solution and CAMBUS were also noted. After the initial setup, the unit and trailer combinations performed 15 laps of the test track, covering 30 miles, before returning to the station. Once they returned, the finish time, vehicle trip data and MPG metrics were recorded. Microlise and CAMBUS data was similarly documented.
Following the tests, Fowler Welch and Bandvulc were presented with what Bandvulc describe as “outstanding results” with the combination of Continental and Bandvulc low rolling resistance tyres leading to an increase of over 5% in MPG.
In addition, after dropping tyre pressure to 20% lower than the recommended level, the trucks suffered a 2% loss in MPG. Not only did this confirm long-held claims by Continental and Bandvulc, but also the accuracy and effectiveness of the ContiPressureCheck system.
Romano said: “We were extremely impressed by the professional way in which Bandvulc organised these tests, and equally by the vast difference that low rolling resistance tyres offer. The figures speak for themselves and offer real food for thought as we look to adapt our tyre policy.
“We see our work with Bandvulc not only as a relationship, but as a partnership. It is because of this strong connection that we are both willing and able to carry out these tests, while improving the efficiency and environmental sustainability of our fleet.”
Fowler Welch is a leader in supply chain logistics for ambient and temperature-controlled products. Established for over 30 years, the company works with a range of major retailers and manufacturers in the UK.
From its eight depots across the UK, Fowler Welch currently operates 400 Euro 6 vehicles and 750 trailers, covering a total of 57 million miles each year.