The choice between marking and non-marking tires depends mostly on your application, where non-marking tires are preferable in indoor, smooth surface environments. To understand what type of tire fits your application, it’s important to understand the differences between the two.
Depending on the chemical composition, forklift tires can exhibit dramatically different characteristics. For example, marking tires are made from a mixture of natural and/or synthetic rubbers and black carbon, a composition that dramatically improves tire life compared to other formulations. The black carbon, in particular, reduces heat absorption and protects the tires against UV radiation – two key factors in tire wear.
On the other hand, non-marking tires are made from a mixture of synthetic rubber and white silica (chalk) gel or resin instead of black carbon. By replacing black carbon with silica, these tires do not leave black marks and/or residue due to rapid starts, stops or turns. Instead, non-marking tires leave a chalk-like dust, which doesn’t adhere to the floor and is easily swept up. This is absolutely essential for applications in the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, where black carbon residue is prohibited by law. These tires are also aided through the addition of anti-oxidants, which compensate for the UV protection provided by the black carbon. Learn more about the various causes behind black warehouse dust here.
There are several key differences between marking and non-marking tires beyond the presence or absence of black tires marks. From a cost standpoint, non-marking tires are significantly more expensive than non-marking tires, with a price tag up to 25% more per tire. At the same time, non-marking tires are also more susceptible to daily wear and generally last 90% as long as marking tires. There is also a safety factor that must be considered with non-marking tires, which require a grounding strip to be installed underneath the forklift to prevent static build-up and discharges as they don’t contain self-grounding carbon found in marking tires.
When the time comes to replace your tires, be sure to use a reputable, knowledgeable material handling company like Lucas Liftruck Services Ltd. Changing your forklift tires yourself, without the proper equipment and knowledge, can be a dangerous, even tragic, proposition. Instead, utilize our on-site service technicians and mobile tire press to minimize your down-time with minimal disruption.