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"Grooving Gun" Boosts Traction On Worn Tires
“Our new grooving gun is designed to boost traction on worn tires,” says Rich Ilg, Nextire Inc., Roseville, Mich.
    The grooving gun operates on 110 volts and heats a durable horseshoe-shaped razor blade. Pushing the blade across the tire creates a groove that can be anywhere from 1/16 in. to 1 in. wide and up to 1 in. deep.
     Nextire designed the grooving gun primarily for solid rubber skid steer and forklift tires. “Grooving can give solid rubber tires about 20 percent more traction life,” says Ilg.  “Most manufacturers of solid tires put a wear bar anywhere from 33 to 66 percent below the traction depth, which means the tire will run smooth for almost half its life.  However, when skid loader or forklift tires wear down that far most farmers get frustrated with the lack of traction the tires provide and buy new ones.”
    He says the grooving gun gives you traction for the full life of the tire. “You can groove your tires to keep them going through the winter, and then maybe re-groove them again the next fall. The sharp groove edges on the tire have much more bite than a worn tread bar and can vastly improve a tire’s traction.”
    The grooving gun is equipped with 2 knobs. One has numerical settings from 1 to 4 that indicate the depth of cut, and the other has a high-low setting that works similar to a high-low transmission range. The combination can result in 8 different temperature settings. “If you’re grooving a tire and see smoke, you’re going too slow or have the setting too high,” says Ilg.
    He says it takes about a half hour to groove a skid loader tire with 18 to 21 1-in. wide cuts across the face of the tire to a 1-in. depth.
    He recommends keeping the tire on the vehicle during the grooving process in order to keep the tire stable. “You want to make sure the tire doesn’t ‘dance’ as you go across it with the gun. You can draw template lines across the tire to guide your cut, or if the tire isn’t worn completely down you can just follow what’s left of the tread. You should be able to cut grooves to the depth of the wear bar that’s molded into the side of most tires.”
    The grooving gun sells for $500; a package of 12 blades sells for $25. “A package of 12 blades usually allows you to regroove a set of tires 2 to 4 times,” says Ilg.
    He recommends weighing the cost of a grooving gun against the hassle and downtime of having your tires grooved in town. “It can easily cost $300 to $500 to have your local dealer groove a set of four 10 by 16.5 skid loader tires,” says Ilg. “Most people can get anywhere from 500 to 800 more hours out of a grooved tire. That can extend the life of the tires by 6 months to 2 years, depending on how much you use them.”
    Contact: Farm Show Followup, Rich Ilg, Nextire Inc., P.O. Box 235, Roseville, Mich. 48066 (ph 800 323-4152; cell ph 810 459-5048; rich@flt-online.com; www.flt-online.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6