Should you puncture-proof your forklift tyres?

Advantages and disadvantages of foam filled forklift tyres

A constant problem for forklift operators is their tyres going flat, either because of puncture or air leakage. When forklift tyres go flat, you suffer stability and handling issues. If a tyre needs changing, you lose productive time. Choosing the best tyres for your forklift is essential to keep maintenance and running costs low and productivity high.

In this article, you’ll learn the benefits of foam-filling your forklift tyres to puncture-proof them.

Why foam filled forklift tyres?

There are several different types of forklift tyre, though the most common are pneumatic and solid tyres:

  • Pneumatic (air-filled) tyres provide better cushioning on rough ground and are made from a wear-resistant rubber compound. However, they are not puncture-proof, and over time the air pressure will fall as air escapes the tyre (a curse on all pneumatic tyres). Extreme temperatures also affect a tyre’s air pressure.
  • Solid tyres are puncture-proof, but do not offer the same smooth ride provided by pneumatics. Because of this, operators may suffer more back pain. Solid tyres are very commonly fitted to forklifts that operate on smooth surfaces in warehouses and factories, where there is less risk of damage to load or operator.

Foam-filling your forklift tyres may retain some of the qualities of pneumatic tyres while gaining the lower maintenance costs of solid tyres.

What is foam filling?

Instead of air, your tyres are filled with fluids that make them solid. A tyre specialist will fill to the recommended pressure, and this pressure will remain constant, without the need to check air and maintain air pressure.

What are the benefits of foam-filled forklift tyres?

There are several benefits that a forklift operator might experience by foam filled tyres. You should maintain the performance of a pneumatic tyre while gaining the resilience of a solid tyre. Therefore, you could find that your vehicle suffers less axle stress, and the increased ballast will improve stability. The shock absorption should be better than experienced with solid tyres, and traction will be like that of pneumatic tyres.

The biggest benefit, though, is that they don’t lose tyre pressure or go flat.

Foam filled tyres can reduce your running costs

Foam fill your forklift tyres and you wave goodbye to costly punctures. With better shock absorption than solid tyres, there is less stress on operators and the forklift. This should reduce illness and injury as well as forklift maintenance costs.

If your forklift tyres are constantly bursting, the losses caused by disruption to work can be large. Perhaps running to thousands of dollars each year, when all costs are considered. Foam-filling your tyres could eliminate much of this cost.

What are the disadvantages of foam filled forklift tyres?

Where so many advantages are obtainable, there are always some disadvantages. While foam filled forklift tyres may prove a better option for many sites, they won’t be the best choice for all.

For example, foam filled tyres are as much as three times heavier than pneumatic tyres. Therefore, they are harder to push and don’t provide quite the same bounce of pneumatic tyres.

Another disadvantage is the initial cost of foam-filling forklift tyres. The filling solution is far more expensive than air. Also, when you do need to replace a foam filled tyre, it may be necessary to replace the entire wheel.

In summary

For a business that relies on its forklifts, tyre costs should be a prime consideration. Puncture-proofing your forklift tyres could reduce your maintenance and running costs, especially if you currently suffer from a lot of punctures, flat tyres, or other maintenance issues associated with tyres.

However, the choice of forklift tyre depends on many factors, such as your current tyre history, application and environment in which your forklift operates. Our tyre specialists in our Darra Tyres shop can help you choose the best tyre for the job, whether it is pneumatic, solid, or foam filled.

Foam filled tyres may not require frequent maintenance, but their total cost of ownership can be higher due to replacement or refilling after it has been worn down.

Don’t let your loads, drivers and bottom line suffer from poor forklift tyre choice. Come and speak to us in our Brisbane forklift tyre shop. We’ll help you to get the most out of your forklift tyres from day one.

If you’ve got any questions or queries, call our team on 3333 5510 now. We’re here to help.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road, (and warehouse)

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.