Airless pivot tire moves soil towards centre to eliminate rutting

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

In 2018, Zach Fleishman interviewed 200 irrigation farmers trying to figure out their pain points when it comes to center pivot tires.

At the time, the number one issue farmers wanted to eliminate was the pivot track rutting in their fields. The second issue was dealing with flat tires.

Flash forward to 2023 and Fleishman has launched the Shark Wheel SWIFT (Sine Wave Innovative and Floatation Traction well) airless modular wheel to help address some of these main concerns.

“Our tire is made up of flexible flexing paddles. And what it does is takes all the stress off the drive train. So other airless tire solutions out there don’t take away all that stress — it can put too much stress on the gearbox causing early failures,” he explains.

According to Fleishman, another feature of the tire is it can be fixed in 60 seconds or less, with a matter of two bolts out, and two bolts back in.

The solution for rutting, is actually in how the wheels move in different directions.

“The front wheels move left, right, left, and it looks like a snake, and leaves a snake shape in the soil. The rear wheels move the opposite, right, left, right. And so the two weeks don’t go on the same track over and over again, they actually push the soil toward the centre. And that’s kind of our secret sauce of how we eliminate running through a simple geometry change. We are pushing soil towards the centre, unlike every other wheel that pushes soil away from the centre.”

The wheel itself looks wider when it’s put on a hard surface, such as the trade show floor it was shown on at Commodity Classic at Orlando, Florida, but as Fleishman explains, if you measure the path that a Shark Wheel leaves in the soil, it’s very close to a standard tire because a standard tire is pushing soil away from the centre of the wheel.

“It’s been tested for over four-and-a-half years at well over 100 farms around the United States, different soil types, countless different states. And it’s been tested by the industry leaders,” he says.

Check out the full conversation between Fleishman and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below:

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