TAMPA, FL. Double Coin Tires and China Manufacturers Alliance (CMA) is continuing expansion efforts to bring more wide base tires to the U.S. market, as well as codify its lineup of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved “SmartWay” tires under its “OptiGreen” label.

During a press conference here at the 2012 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting, Bob O’Donnell, Double Coin’s OEM and fleet sales manager, noted that the company’s wide base tire model for trailers – the FT125 – passed EPA SmartWay compliance “thresholds” two months ago but is still awaiting final certification from the federal agency. Full production of the FT125 is expected to be achieved late this year or in early 2013, he added.

Double Coin is also now prototype testing its FD425 wide base drive tire model with several customer fleets and expects to have them commercially available by late in the fourth quarter this year.

“We continue to see an increase in wide base tire use throughout North America,” noted Aaron Murphy, Double Coin’s vice president, during its press event, largely because a single wide base tire weighs less that the dual-tire configuration used on trailer axles and tractor drive positions, resulting in fuel economy gains for a wide range of trucking operations.

He noted that Double Coin’s FT125 wide base trailer tire weighs 168 lbs. compared to the 200 to 230 lb. weight of the typical dual-tire pairing on a trailer axle.

The company is also beefing up the warranty period for its “OptiGreen” family of SmartWay approved tires, which includes the FT125 wide base and standard FT105 trailer tires, along with the FD405 drive and FR605 steer tires. O’Donnell said Double Coin is extending the warranty on those tire models to seven years from its current five-year period.

Murphy noted that Double Coin is also trying to make the manufacture of its OptiGreen tires more “green” as well, for example using a nitrogen vulcanization process to reduce the amount of energy consumed, waste water produced, and other waste by-products left over from its tire manufacturing efforts. “We’re trying to make our tires more ‘green’ at both ends of the tire life cycle chain,” he explained.