Bridgestone unwavering belief in the commercial retread sector and continued investment in its range of products is beginning to reap dividends, with the market showing signs of a significant upturn in fortunes.
After the European Union applied duties to all Chinese imported tyres in May, the UK retread industry is now experiencing a strong uplift in demand, largely due to the legislation and partly due to the value for money that retread products represent.
Bridgestone’s North Region Truck & Bus Product Manager Terry Salter said that Bridgestone’s strategic decision to keep investing in retread technology during a particularly lean period could now be fully vindicated, with a significant investment in equipment being brought into the company’s UK franchised Bandag network and factories.
He said: “Throughout the very difficult climate, Bridgestone has stayed fully committed to its retread proposition and franchised Bandag network of retread factories. Our retread products underline our commitment to the ‘Total Tyre Care’ range of services. Each truck tyre features retreading technology built-into the original tyre design, with the life of every tyre maximised through audits, reports and tyre care husbandry.”
Terry said that the response to the EU’s decision to apply duties to commercial Chinese imports had been immediate.
“There has been a direct and positive reaction amongst our network of Bandag dealers,” he said. “Four franchisees have already started recruiting additional staff to support an increase in production. Meanwhile, production at our Bulldog factory in Bourne is also being scaled up by 25 per cent to meet demand.”
Bandag retreaded tyres are not only a safe and reliable alternative to a new set of tyres, but also a solution for reducing fleets’ tyre related costs per kilometre. This proposition applies also to retreads made from Bridgestone and Firestone tyre casings – for which the retreadability by Bandag is also 100% guaranteed.
The world’s largest tyre and rubber company has always remained steadfast in its belief in the retread sector, confident that the good times would return owing to the quality of the products, their value for money and the benefit to the environment as a whole.
The UK operation has benefited from a sustained investment programme to make it one of the most efficient in the industry, with new buffing, building and inspection equipment being ordered for rapid installation in the last six weeks alone.
At Bridgestone’s Bulldog factory in Lincolnshire, a new tyre pressure chamber, shearography machine, 10 bar pressure tester and envelope spreader have all been purchased.
Meanwhile, the Bandag network has also been investing in its machinery, courtesy of extruder builder, pressure tester, buffer upgrade and nail hole detection machines. Another example of Bridgestone investment has been seen in the introduction of the BASys casing and production control system. The BASys system is the result of a global project with Bridgestone’s European, American and Japanese strategic business units collaborating to upgrade a key aspect of Total Tyre Care. It provides the ability to track a tyre from the point it is removed from service at the fleet, through the return of the tyre to the production facility, and then through each stage of the production process and finally the return of the transformed product back to service. BASys was installed at Bulldog in February 2017.
This replaces a paper-based system and works off cloud-based technology and offers additional reporting benefits for commercial fleets.
Terry expects the good times to continue for the foreseeable future too, despite the retread market being notoriously difficult to predict.
“We predict a sustained investment into retreaded products across the industry. Our products will represent good value for money to the transport industry within the UK and Europe.
For more information about Bridgestone’s commercial tyre offering, visit http://www.bridgestone.co.uk/truck-and-bus/