Updating the wheel

March 5, 2020

A Wilson Bros. transport truck with wide base tires All photo credit: Wilson Bros. Enterprises Ltd. and FPInnovations

Houston-based business tests wide-base tires for log hauling

In November 2019, Wilson Bros. Enterprises Ltd. (Wilson Bros.) successfully applied to Northern Development’s Northern Industries Innovation Fund for $19,675 to conduct a trial aimed at improving safety, production and revenue while reducing fuel and greenhouse gases. To do this, Wilson Bros. will install wide-based tires on on-highway/off-highway log hauling nine-axle trucks, replacing the traditional dual tires that are common on logging trucks for one season, including spring breakup.

Already, the advantages of wide-based tires have been proven for on-highway applications through fuel consumption tests conducted in this trial by FPInnovations, a partner with Wilson Bros. In FPInnovations’ prior, on-highway fuel consumption test, they found that there was up to a 9.7 per cent improvement in fuel economy for a tractor-trailer combination equipped with wide-base tires instead of dual tires. In addition, wide-base tires cost less, weigh less and have lower rolling resistance than their dual tire counterparts.

“Wilson Bros. is eager to complete this testing and to hopefully implement wide-base tires on more of our logging trucks,” said Steve Wilson, owner and president of Wilson Bros. ”One of the exciting aspects of wide-base tires is that they weigh less than the dual tires they replace. This means that the truck’s tare weight will be less which subsequently allows for more payload and more revenue for our company. Also, wide-base tires have increased flotation which may extend our hauling season by allowing us to continue transporting logs as the ground softens.”

The project has many outcomes, including: determining the impact that single wide tires have on fuel consumption for on/off highway log transport; evaluating the wear characteristics, durability and puncture resistance of wide-base tires; qualitatively evaluating the tires’ handling through driver interviews; providing an economic cost benefit analysis based on improved payload, fuel saving, tire service life and safety to the public from less rock throw; and to justify or not the use of wide-base tires on more logging truck configurations in Northern B.C. and other areas.

“FPInnovations is pleased to be partnering with Wilson Bros. to discover the benefits of using wide-base tires in on- and off-highway log hauling,” said Dave Belyea, FPInnovations’ industry advisor to the northern interior. “This builds upon the work that we’ve done regarding the performance of wide-base tires on highways in regards to reduced tare weights, reduced fuel usage and safety.  We’re eager to learn more about the wide base tires and their performance in this new environment. This project will benefit other transportation companies besides log transportation in Northern B.C. as FPInnovations will be making the trial’s results public once the process is complete.”

Incorporated in 1973, by current owner Steve Wilson’s father and grandfather, Wilson Bros. has experienced changes in the forestry industry and now they are actively taking steps to research new ways to increase safety and productivity while reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Wilson Bros. harvests and transports 550,000m3 of timber annually and builds approximately 70 kilometres of roads each year.

Launched in January 2018, the Northern Industries Innovation Fund supports innovative project across a variety of industries. Up to $50,000 to a maximum of 50 per cent of a project’s eligible budget is available to small and medium enterprises. This program helps Northern B.C. businesses improve their competitiveness while generating incremental revenue and new jobs.