Non-marking tyres for forklifts – what you need to know

The pros and cons of white tyres in your business

Some businesses must use non-marking tyres on their forklifts, while others might choose to. For example, Australian law says that food processing companies must use them in their factories. They are also popular with pharmaceutical and IT companies, and indoors where marks on the floor need to be avoided (for example, indoor sports centres).

Non-marking forklift tyres are available as a cushion, pneumatic, or solid tyres. See our article ‘How to choose your forklift tyre in Brisbane in 2018’ for advice on how to choose which is best for your application.

In this article, you’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of non-marking tyres for forklifts.

How do non-marking and standard tyres differ?

The first thing that you notice about non-marking tyres is their colour. Usually, they are white (hence they are sometimes called ‘white’ tyres), but they can also be manufactured in other colours – most often grey. This is because they have the carbon black removed. Now, carbon black helps prolong the life of tyres, so its removal is one of the major disadvantages of non-marking tyres: they don’t last as long as standard tyres.

To try to combat this shortening of life, non-marking tyres are made with silica or chalk added. Antioxidants are used to protect against UV radiation.

Are non-marking tyres really non-marking?

Standard tyres can leave black marks if the forklift operator makes a fast start, stop, or turn. Non-marking tyres leave white chalk marks and not carbon black residue. This chalk is easily removed. The poor operation will leave a mark, but it’s kind of like the difference between pencil and ink: one can be easily erased, the other is pretty much indelible.

Key advantages of non-marking tyres

Non-marking tyres:

  • Reduce the marks left on floors
  • Reduce the need for labour-intensive floor cleaning
  • Perform the same as standard tyres
  • Provide good traction and low rolling resistance
  • Offer good load carrying ability
  • Are resistant to building up heat

Main disadvantages of non-marking tyres

Non-marking tyres:

  • Are more expensive than standard forklift tyres – usually by around 25%
  • Wear faster, lasting approximately 10% to 15% less time than standard tyres, depending on use and environment
  • Chalkdust left must be cleaned
  • Require a grounding strip underneath the forklift, especially in situations where the forklift is operated in close proximity to flammable or explosive materials

Retreading to adapt to non-marking environments

It is possible to retread standard tyres and adapt them for use in non-marking environments. White rubber is available for this, allowing forklifts to be used in sports centres, food manufacturing plants, shopping centres, etc.

I’ve written before about how to buy the best retreads for trucks. The four rules are the same if you are considering retreading standard tyres as non-marking tyres for your forklift:

  1. Don’t buy on price alone
  2. Make sure you see samples and testimonials before buying
  3. Take a look at the testing equipment
  4. Don’t go it alone – take someone with you

Follow these safety standards

When it’s time to replace your forklift tyres, always use a reputable tyre company to make the change. If you don’t have the knowledge, experience, or equipment to change forklift tyres, the consequences can be fatal.

To find out about our comprehensive tyre services and how they could help you cut costs on your forklift operations, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the road and in the workplace,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.