Breast cancer is a hot-button topic. Almost everyone out there has been affected by it in some way — whether they or a member of their family has been touched by it or they know of friends or neighbors who’ve experienced it.
In hopes of raising awareness and money for the cause, Titan International has been making pink tractor tires for charity since 2015.
Late last month in Norfolk, Iowa, a 1954 John Deere 50 tractor wore pink tires at a special Two Cylinder Club Show at the local shopping mall.
The tractor, owned by local resident Jerry Koch, participated in many events to raise money for the John Stoddard Cancer Research Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The show organizers were able to raise around five thousand dollars by giving Tractor Hay Rides.
Koch’s wife died of breast cancer in 2013.
How Titan got involved in making pink tires
Scott Sloan, Titan’s agricultural products manager, decided to see if the company could make a set of pink tractor tires for breast cancer awareness back in the spring of 2015. He said they’d already been involved with making some specialty tires such as the non-scuffing white tires used in Jug’s Pitching Machines as well as a non-marking grey tire made for another customer.
Sloan spoke with Titan’s vice president of compound formulation, Marty Marrow, to see if it would be possible to make the pink tires. Marrow’s wife is a five-year cancer survivor, so he said yes and started the process of coming up with an organic pink formulation. That worked, but unfortunately, by the time the end of October rolled around, the sun had bleached much of the pink out of the tires. Marrow went back to the drawing board and came up with an inorganic compound that they hoped wouldn’t fade.
Plant manager Lester Brewer said many of the people on the manufacturing floor wanted to be in on the production of the special pink tires, as breast cancer awareness was a subject that was important to all of them. He also mentioned that the plant crew tackled the problem of producing a pink tire on a black tire production line with gusto.
Making a pink tire isn’t as hard as it sounds
Sloan told Traction News that the two hardest parts of making the pink tractor tires were finding a pigment formulation that wouldn’t quickly fade in the sun and getting the production line clean enough to make a truly pink tire. The carcass is the first part of the tire that is made and it’s made in the normal black color.
In the next stage of the production process the pink tread is cold extruded from a rubber compound, with the pink pigment mixed in. The rest of the production process is normal; the pink-topped tire has the treads cast in and then the tire is cured.