Sterling Handling Finds Large Demand for Flat-Free Tires

Wed September 24, 2003 - Northeast Edition

Sterling Handling Equipment — a producer of heavy-duty “people powered equipment” — has increased wheelbarrow sales to construction and industrial equipment distributors as well as rental firms with its POLY-U flat-free, red-colored wheelbarrow tire that eliminates any chance of a flat tire and reduces costly operator downtime, according to the company.

Sterling President Jim Scott said, “The no-flat guarantee coupled with the satisfaction of end users and rental fleet operators have significantly increased the POLY-U tire’s percentage of sales compared to pneumatic tire and tube type tires.”

He added that the POLY-U flat-free tired wheels accounted for approximately 17 percent of wheelbarrow sales in the startup year 2000, increased to 21 percent in 2001, to 23 percent in 2002, and to 35 percent in the first quarter of 2003.

The specially-designed tire features a high-density polyurethane compound that was developed by Arnco, a manufacturer of flatproofing products including the Carefree flat-free tire. By using a polyurethane technology and a manufacturing method of centrifugal casting, hundreds of thousands of microscopic air cells are trapped in a matrix of polymer elastomer to give the tire the same properties of an air-filled tire — but without the flats.

The tire has a lifetime guarantee and will never go flat from standing in one place for too long, as with traditional air-filled tires. It can never be damaged by nails or other sharp objects, and will not ooze or rot from prolonged exposure to sunlight and harsh elements. Contractors and other operators will never again have to fill up their wheelbarrow tire with air, according to the company.

The manufacturing process also gives the POLY-U tire enhanced load capacity and handling ability — similar to those of an air-filled tire — and a smoother ride. The lightweight tires require up to 40-percent less effort to move heavy loads, and since they are not “foam filled,” they also can be made in any color.

“We chose red for our POLY-U because red and black have been Sterling colors for decades,” explained Scott.