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Vol No: 3 Issue No: 1 February / March 2022 | INR 400 | USD 25














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Nithya Debbadi

Daniele Lorenzetti

Gwen ten Berge

Samir Gupta




Innovation For Sustainable Mobility




ICRA Expects Domestic Tyre Demand To Grow At A Higher Single Digit In FY2023






Impact On Environment





Tall Claims, Short Tales: The Long And Short Of It


Climate Change To Drive Mobility Future

Star Rating In India Will Allow Customers To Choose Wisely: Apollo Tyres CTO












What Lies Ahead For Global Natural Rubber Market?










Innovation: The Elusive ‘I’






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nnovation is a never-ending thing, and in recent years, the global tyre companies, including small players who were good at imitating their larger peers’ technologies, have gone aggressive on innovation, be it for products or manufacturing or sales and service. Sustainability is the core of any innovations in the tyre industry. For instance, British tech start-up The Tyre Collective has developed a device that collects tyre-wear particles, which are the least talked about pollutant in the auto industry. Gone are those days when tyre companies were taking all responsibilities alone. Whether on the material side or customer front, experts will play a significant role for tyre companies to offer products or solutions for the new mobility. Innovation takes cost and time, but the more substantial challenge is to have innovations that serve the society for a longer time. And going by the current trends, it looks like tyre companies in India will take some time before they focus on innovations, as they are grappling with tepid demand and spiralling raw material costs.

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The quarter ended 31 December 2021 recorded the lowest passenger vehicle sales in the last five years due to supply constraints, mainly chip shortage. Along with passenger vehicle sales, the quarter also witnessed plunge in sales of the two-wheeler segment and vehicles across the categories. However, the commercial vehicle segment managed to have a marginal growth in sales in the October- November quarter 2021. Rating agency ICRA says the Indian tyre industry will witness a 13-15 percent growth in domestic demand in FY22, owing to the recovery in the aftermarket. The agency predicts the domestic tyre demand to grow at a higher single digit in FY2023 on stable replacement demand and improved OE demand. However, the tyre companies are expected to report negative numbers in their top line and bottom line during the third quarter of FY22 due to negative growth in the replacement and OEM segments amid escalating raw material costs. ICRA maintained that the industry has resumed its capex investments this year and is expected to invest more than INR 200 billion in the next three years. However, the tyre players have become conscious on account of the demand they saw in the third quarter. For instance, CEAT lowered its growth capex guidance to about INR 8 billion in FY22 versus the earlier forecast of INR 10 billion. In FY23, the company will have a capex of INR 7 to 7.5 billion. n

Editor: Sharad Matade

Sharad Matade PRESIDENT Antony Powath

EDITOR Sharad Matade Email: sharad@pin-365.com EXECUTIVE EDITOR Bhushan M COPY EDITOR Aneez Shaikh US CORRESPONDENT Dr Louis P Rumao REPORTERS Venkatesh P Koushik, Rajni Jose, Aditya Gowda, Nithin Ramkumar CONTRIBUTORS Rajiv Budhraja, India; Adam Gosling, Australia; Haluk Kizilay, Ertugrul Bahan, Turkey VICE PRESIDENT (MARKETING) Atul Patil SENIOR MANAGER (MARKETING) Cheena Mehta MANAGER (MARKETING) Sridharan Ravi DESIGN & LAYOUT Sradha Art Sphere, Kochi

Registered/Marketing Office: PIN 365: 501/502, Imperial Plaza, Corner of 27th & 30th Road, Near Nilgiri Garden, Bandra (W), Mumbai - 400 050, INDIA, Phone: +91-22-2640-1325, Fax: +91-22-2641-1894. Email: hello@pin-365.com, www.pin-365.com Overseas Contacts: US: Jennifer Poda, Akron, Ohio jennifer.poda@gmail.com China: Jerry Shen, China National Chemical Information Center Co. Ltd. (CNCIC) Beijing, P.R. China Tel: +86 10 64436510, M: +86 13601119887 Email: jerry.shen@cncic.cn

Japan: Shinichi Kato, Shinichi Kato Office Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. Tel: +81 3-5645-8670, Email: shinichi.kato@rubberstation.com South East Asia: Dato’ Mohamed Ishak bin Abdul Hamid M: +60 19 350 3036 , E:mohamed.ishak181@gmail.com Thailand: Ms Somruetai Patana-anek (Mott), Managing Director, Busgum Co. Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand, M: +66-1-8429105, Email: mott@busgum.com


Sri Lanka: P P Perera, Colombo, Sri Lanka. M: +94 772 972571, E: ppperera1946@gmail.com Africa: Bobby Ouda Odhiambo; PO Box 30926-00100 NBI; Phone: +254 795 508380, E-mail: bobby.odhiambo@ kingswaytyres.com Middle East: Dubai, UAE - Markose Chenthitta, M: +971 55 665 7729, E: markose101@hotmail.com


Apollo Tyres has invested a sum of INR 93 million in CSE Deccan Solar, a subsidiary of Cleantech Solar, a renewable energy solutions company, to consequently increase the share of renewable energy to more than 30 percent at the company’s manufacturing facility in Chennai.


Apollo received 27.2 percent of the equity in CSE Deccan Solar in exchange for supplying 40 million units of electricity per year to the Chennai facility. The company has opted for uptake of an optimum quantity of about 20 percent of the requirement at the facility due to the lack of a storage facility, which is required when the solar plant remains inoperative. The move, part of the company’s five-year vision, will also result in cost savings due to the per unit rate of solar being less than that of the state electricity board; it expects the rate to be fixed for the next two decades. The facility has an installed capacity of around 900 metric tonnes of tyres per day for passenger vehicles and light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles. n

MADRAS HIGH COURT ALLOWS CCI TO TAKE FINAL DECISION AFTER PROBE INTO TYRE MANUFACTURERS A judgement by Madras High Court allowed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to take final decisions based on the probe findings on major tyre manufacturers for their involvement in anti-market activities like price parallelism and cartelisation.

TRA WELCOMES INDIA’S END-OF-LIFE TYRE RECYCLING MOVE The UK Tyre Recovery Association has welcomed the Indian government’s action plan for the management of waste tyres as a response to the much-needed environmental challenge. With the rapidly increasing population of waste tyres and the imports of old tyres from western countries, the TRA believes that the new recycling requirements proposed by India should introduce the much-needed recycling compliance as well as constrain often illegal shipments of tyre waste from western countries. Tim Stott, TRA President, said, “Illegal waste export activity involving tyres is something we in the UK have long lobbied to end. It undermines responsible operators here at home where it inhibits further investment in domestic processing capacity and cheats on the motoring public who have a right to expect good practice. Sadly, the UK and most Western governments have been slow to act to restrain this trade but now are pleased to note that India itself as Asia’s largest importer of waste tyres is now doing so.” n

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had initiated the case in 2013-14. The ministry argued that several major manufacturers, including CEAT, Apollo, MRF, JK Tyres, and their association, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturer Association, had increased the prices of products, citing an increase in the price of raw materials. But the manufacturers had not reduced costs when there was a dip in the prices of raw materials. The latest judgement has dismissed the writ appeal filed by MRF. The judgment in 2015 had allowed the CCI to investigate the tyre manufacturers but denied the commission from taking any action based on its findings. The court highlighted that since the probe has already been submitted to the commission, the parties likely to be aggrieved may find their remedy in the manner known to law. It specified that ’at this final stage, the court should, as far as possible, avoid any decision which would bring about the result of rendering the system unworkable in practice’. n

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The Rubber Board announced the inauguration of the Advanced Analysis Laboratory for Rubber Products at the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) which will now enable the testing of hazardous chemicals in line with the stringent norms of the European Union and other developed countries. Inaugurated by Dr K N Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, the new laboratory will enable third-party testing of rubber products for REACH compliance, which is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that chemicals can pose. Dr Raghavan said, “The objective of Rubber Board is to develop the entire rubber value chain to international standards. This includes sustainable cultivation of natural rubber and promoting India as rubber products manufacturing hub for the world. World over, more than 40,000 products are manufactured from natural rubber but only 10,000 such products are now manufactured in India.” n


RACENERGY PARTNERS WITH HPCL TO LAUNCH BATTERY SWAPPING STATION IN HYDERABAD RACEnergy, an EV infrastructure company, has partnered with energy company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to launch Hyderabad’s first battery-swapping station. Jayesh Ranjan inaugurated the battery station, Principal Secretary of Industries & Commerce (I & C) and the Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government. The facility is located in HITEC city. This month, the company will set up several battery swapping stations at various HPCL outlets in Hyderabad as part of its pilot programme this month. The company believes the move is in line with its vision of setting up a network of battery swapping infrastructure for EV twowheelers and three-wheelers.

Magna Tyres Group has acquired Industra Limited, a Polish tyre dealer. Financial details of the acquisition are not yet disclosed. Industra is a speciality tyre supplier and works with industrial tyres (forklifts, port handling machines), earthmoving machinery tyres and agricultural tyres. With this acquisition, Magna Tyres Group believes that the company will be the leading player in the market for industrial and off-the-road (OTR) tyres in Central and Eastern Europe. The company also believes the acquisition will enable it to support its customers better with full-service tyre solutions. The company said in a statement that the move is in line with its vision to increase turnover to EUR 600 million in three to five years. Michael de Ruijter, CEO and President, Magna Tyres Group, said, “We’ve always been focused on the expansion of Magna Tyres Poland and our business in Western Europe as well. This collaboration strengthens our European footprint and gives us possibilities to increase and support the customer database in the Eastern part of Europe even more.” n

Apart from providing battery swapping infrastructure, the company also provides retrofit kits that convert normal Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) autorickshaws into EVs that are compatible with the company’s battery swapping network. The company believes its technology will be able to provide an EV ‘re-fuelling’ experience similar to that of an ICE vehicle while being 50 percent cheaper to operate. n

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Samir Gupta

Continental Tires, a leading tyre manufacturer, has appointed Samir Gupta as Managing Director (MD) of Continental Tires India. Gupta is currently also the head of the company’s Central Asia Region (India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia) Passenger and Light Truck Tire Replacement Business (PLT RE). He has experience spanning 30 years in the industry and has been working for Continental for almost a decade. He formerly served as the MD of Continental Tires Malaysia, where he oversaw a successful technical sales team. Before this posting, he served as the Market Manager of Truck Tires (TT) India. Samir Gupta said, “Continental Tires is synonymous with quality, innovation and agility worldwide. Being one of the largest automotive industries, India is an important market for Continental Tires. We are committed to developing and manufacturing quality and innovative products that fit the Indian market requirements. I am excited for my second stint with Continental Tires India and lead the team in its growth and expansion.” n


Hyunbum Cho

Hankook & company has announced the appointment of current CEO Hyunbum Cho as the new Chairman of Hankook & Company. He succeeds Yangrae Cho, who has been promoted to the post of Honorary Chairman of the Group. He joined the Hankook group in 1998, subsequently becoming the head of the Marketing Division and Business Strategy Division. He was instrumental in the company’s growth in the global market and securing major investments in China, Hungary and US. Bonhee Ku has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Sanghoon Lee, who previously led the Europe Headquarters, will now serve as Executive Vice President. Additionally, Hankook has also announced the appointment of three executive vice presidents, three senior vice presidents and 14 vice presidents. n

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EPSILON CARBON APPOINTS ANIL SUNDER AS CSCO Epsilon Carbon, a leading coal chemical processing company, has appointed Anil Sunder as its Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO).

Christian Gadzinski

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced the appointment of Christian Gadzinski as Senior Director of Investor Relations. He will report to Christina Zamarro, Vice President, Finance and Treasurer. Gadzinski, who joined Goodyear in 2007, has held various roles in finance, business development and investor relations. He recently worked as the Director and General Manager within Goodyear’s Commercial Truck Tire service centres. Darren Wells, Executive Vice President and CFO, Goodyear, said, “Christian brings a unique perspective to investor relations from his leadership experience at Goodyear in both finance and our North America business. His Goodyear finance experience includes a prior role in investor relations, which along with his strong communication skills, will make him a valuable resource for the investment community. I also want to thank Nick Mitchell for his contributions to investor relations over the past four years and congratulate him as he takes on a new role supporting Goodyear’s strategy and business development efforts.” n

Sunder holds a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree in Production and Industrial Engineering from Delhi Technological University and a Master of Technology (Mtech) degree in Production Engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jamshedpur. With over 27 years of industry experience, Sunder has been in charge of supply chains management activities such as purchasing, warehouse and logistics. He also has vast experience in the trade of strategic sourcing, vendor management, value chain analysis and cost savings. Prior to joining Epsilon Carbon, he worked for Indian Sugar & General Engineering Corporation. He started his career with TISCO, Jamshedpur and has since worked with various companies such as TGV SRAAC (Sree Rayalaseema Alkalies& Allied Chemicals), Danieli India, ArcelorMittal and the Vedanta Group. n

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Q & A By Sharad Matade

ICRA EXPECTS DOMESTIC TYRE DEMAND TO GROW AT A HIGHER SINGLE DIGIT IN FY2023 As per ICRA’s recent report, the demand in the replacement market will lead 13-15 percent growth in the domestic tyre demand in FY22. However, the OE tyre demand is likely to have mid-single digit levels in FY22. Speaking on the capex spend, Nithya Debbadi, Assistant Vice President and Sector Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited, says,” ICRA expects more than INR 200 billion investment in additional capacity over the next three years. Despite the near-term uncertainties on account of new variants of Covid-19 and supply-side constraints impacting OE demand, capex outlay is expected to remain healthy over the medium term. We do not see major delays in the implementation.” For FY23, Debbadi says that the domestic tyre demand will grow at a higher single digit on the back of stable replacement demand and improved OE demand.


The domestic tyre demand growth is expected to be 13-15 percent in FY22 due to the aftermarket recovery. However, another variant of covid has emerged. Do you think the momentum in the aftermarket will continue in the near future? ICRA expects the domestic tyre demand to grow by 13-15 percent for FY2022, primarily aided by favourable demand from the replacement segment. Replacement, which accounts for two-third of the market, has been largely resilient to the effects of the pandemic. Even during the first wave of Covid-19, the recovery in replacement demand was faster than other auto ancillaries. With learnings from earlier waves and the increasing pace of vaccination, we expect the pandemic impact on demand to be relatively less.


How did the OE tyre segment fare in FY2022? ICRA expects OE tyre demand to grow at mid-single digit levels in FY2022. While the growth in H1 FY2022 was optically high at around 44 percent YoY on account of lower base effect of Q1 FY2021, the demand growth was muted at 1.5 percent in Q2 FY2022 amidst headwinds in the form of supply-side constraints impacting PV production and subdued 2W demand. While growth in the T&B segment is likely to be strong in FY2022 due to a weak base, the volumes are still expected to remain lower than pre-Covid levels.


The export segment has also helped the industry to have growth. However, logistic costs and operations have been a headache for all sectors. Could you elaborate on the exports (in terms of numbers) to support the statement? Growth in tyre exports has outpaced the growth in domestic tyre demand in the past five years on account of growing acceptance for Indian tyres globally, especially in the US and European nations. Agri-construction tyres dominate India’s export mix, accounting for over 60 percent of tyre exports (in value). Exports grew by around 70 percent (YoY) in value Nithya Debbadi, Assistant Vice President and Sector Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited

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in H1 FY2022. While a relatively lower base supports this growth, exports were at record high levels in Q2 FY2022 despite operational challenges. With part of the incremental capacities getting dedicated by tyre makers for exports, we expect export growth to be stable.


How is the restriction on imports helping tyre companies to top-line growth? Tyre imports contracted sharply in recent years on the back of regulatory developments, including the reimposition of anti-dumping duty, increase in customs duty and imposition of countervailing duty on Chinese truck and bus radial tyres. In June 2020, the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) placed all categories of imported tyres under the restricted category (vs free category earlier), thus necessitating DGFT permission for all tyre imports. Post the restriction, tyre imports contracted by 50 percent (in value) in FY2021. With lower import threat, capacity utilisation of domestic players improved, and imports represent around three percent of domestic demand. While import volumes grew by six percent YoY in H1 FY2022, the volumes remained significantly lower than pre-covid levels.


What about the tyre companies’ bottom-line? How is increasing raw materials prices impacting the margins? Will we see more prices hikes? Do you think trends in RM will continue in future as well? Margins of tyre companies witnessed sharp expansion in Q2, Q3 and Q4 FY2021 aided by lower input costs. However, with the sustained rise in raw material costs, in both rubber and other crude-based inputs, the margins have seen steady contraction in last three quarters (ending December 2021). The raw material price basket rose by over 35 percent YoY in nine months of FY2022. While most of the tyre companies have taken price hikes in last two quarters, the price hikes have not been adequate to compensate for the RM price inflation. After recording multi-year high margins in FY2021, margins contracted by over 400 bps in H1 FY2022. While the RM prices remain at elevated levels, the extent of further price hikes remain to be seen in the context of sustained demand and RM price movement. Overall, we expect a 400-600 bps contraction in the operating margins for FY2022, while it would still compare well with pre-covid levels.


Based on the announcements by the tyre companies, the capex spend is estimated at more than INR 200 billion over the next three years. Do you see any delays in the implementation of investments due to uncertainties? After a brief hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the

capex cycle of tyre industry has resumed in the current year, and ICRA expects more than INR 200 billion investment in additional capacity over the next three years. Despite the near- term uncertainties on account of new variants of Covid-19 and supply-side constraints impacting OE demand, capex outlay is expected to remain healthy over the medium term. We do not see major delays in the implementation.


What are your views on Star Ratings? To enhance the safety standards, the Government of India has introduced mandatory compliance of new norms for tyre makers (including rolling resistance, wet grip and rolling sound emissions), which came into effect recently on a voluntary basis. Accordingly, the new tyres manufactured will carry star rating/labelling, thus making the consumers to make informed decisions. We expect these norms to be a step in the right direction towards formalising the industry. Most of the industry players can meet most of the norms and are already manufacturing such tyres (for exports). However, the infrastructure setup needs to be enhanced for norms relating to wet grip testing.


What is your prediction for FY23? Following two years of contraction (down nine percent each in FY2020 and FY2021) amidst sharp contraction in vehicle sales and Covid-19, tyre demand has recovered sharply in FY2022. We expect the domestic tyre demand to grow at a higher single digit in FY2023 on the back of stable replacement demand and improved OE demand. Gradual easing of supply-side constraints faced be OEMs because of semiconductor shortage, improved vaccination coverage, continued preference for personal mobility and healthy rural cash flows are expected to support domestic demand in FY2023. Exports are expected to witness healthy growth, supporting the volumes of Indian tyre manufacturers. n

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VIEW POINT By Adam Gosling


Adam Gosling


ith global attention having been focussed on the proceedings at COP26, it is perhaps timely to consider the impacts – yes, multiple – those tyres have on our environment. So, what are some of these impacts? • The actual tyre life performance and what is the maximum distance we can extract • Vehicle fuel burn and associated emissions • Vehicle maintenance: think wheel ends, bearing, brakes and suspensions • Pavement abrasion including dust propagation • And one which is not often considered: the actual emissions from the tyres themselves The key issue with tyres is that they are a MUST HAVE for our mobile society. It doesn’t matter how the vehicle is powered (fossil fuels, hydrogen, electric), they all need tyres! Tyres are a common factor across all transport modes as even for rail or water borne freight modes, the goods are delivered to and from the railhead or dock by rubber-tyred vehicles.

Tyres, the supply chain lifeblood Tyres have been, as I have been suggesting for years now, undervalued for their contribution to the supply chain primarily because of the short-sighted nature of near-term focussed accountants, and this is being driven home right now. With fuel prices increasing as a result of Covid politics, many bean counters are struggling to contain their operating costs yet still refuse to acknowledge the substantial contribution tyres make to OPEX (operational expenses). Properly maintained tyres translate to good sound business. By maintaining tyres at their optimum operating state (read using TPMS to understand what tyres are actually doing in operations), fuel burn rates can be reduced, vehicle wheel end maintenance periods can be extended, and yes, tyre life and performance can be extended – not to forget the reduction in fatigue for the drivers. Then we have the reduction of roadside breakdowns which are costly not only from the repair side but also the missed delivery windows. There are simple effective investments that yield substantial benefits to our communities, BUT it does require action by these blinkered individuals known as bean counters.

These black tyres are complex beasts Tyres are the result of a complex manufacturing process as you – the reader – already know very well. The various substances that are required for tyre production come from a range of locations, so the supply chains ramifications already exist; however, it is the fallout from tyres that has been the elephant that is not only in the room but sitting comfortably on our industry’s lap. There is a twin stream of concern evident; the most obvious is the end-of-life tyre issue which is being addressed in different approaches around the globe. Australia has been proactive in this regard, which is interesting to me on a couple fronts in that there is no operational tyre manufacturing industry in Australia anymore. Then, considering the stance taken by the Australian politicians attending the climate conference in Glasgow (November 2021) with regards to reduction of gaseous emissions, I am wondering

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whether this response on tyres is just a low hanging fruit exercise by the politicians to curry favour with the green vote. For those interested, more detailed information can be found at this government website: https://www. awe.gov.au/environment/protection/ waste/exports/tyres

Tyre use was at the start of the cultural throwaway mindset The end-of-life tyre situation has been a topic of high interest to me ever since I entered the tyre industry decades ago. I have struggled with the fact that we ‘use’ a relatively small percentage of the product then discard it as waste. My last article discussed retreading as a pivot point in reducing waste – re-using the structure of the tyre to apply a fresh wearing component, i.e. tread. There are numerous differing philosophies engaged in end-oflife tyres ranging from the physical reduction by shredding and grinding to incineration or pyrolysis (quite different in the outcomes!)

and various other methods of reducing the waste stream into other more manageable waste streams or alternative products. There are challenges with each of the philosophies, but it boils down to the desire of the manufacturers and the communities’ attitudes and capabilities. Some mining companies are now requiring suppliers to remove waste or end of life product that is delivered to the mining operations. Yes, I totally acknowledge that mining can be a highly profitable operation as has been recently evidenced by the significant increase in iron ore and coal prices, BUT all these costs are passed on to the consumer, and that is what requires careful balancing.

Balancing act: tread carefully Humans are prone to taking the easy option first, though this may cost us

big time at a later date. So, if the price equilibrium is tipped too far, then buyer resistance will become a major hurdle in purchasing. If it is too far the other way, then environmental damage (as is evidenced by waste plastic in our oceans and waterways) occurs and then costs considerably more to rectify at a later date. Where is the tipping point?

Reducing tread depth: ever thought where it goes? Recently, I was involved with a study on tyres and what actually happens to the tread rubber that is consumed in normal day to day operations. The tread package of a tyre can account for 25-30 percent of the mass of the new tyre. As the tyre is used, this tread volume is reduced. Tyre management programmes track the reduction in tread volumes to enable accurate forecasting of new tyre requirements. Various

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So, with this data, the question can be asked, at what rate is the tread rubber being consumed? Then, the crunch time of the elephant on your lap, what happens to the tread rubber as it is consumed? Many readers will be familiar with motor racing on road circuits. The drivers talk of the track ‘rubbering in’ and television coverage shows rubber debris close to the racing line. A tyre gains traction by depositing minute amounts of rubber onto the road pavement. Where high levels of traction are required (think F1 or MotoGP), the deposited rubber is clearly evident. What is not so obvious is the normal day to day road operations around our cities and associated supply chain routes.

What happens to the tread rubber? The tread rubber consumed is deposited as micro particles onto the road pavement. In some climates where long periods of dry weather are ended by rain, very slippery road conditions are experienced as the oil and rubber deposited over the dry months is floated and washed away by the rain. For the motorist, this is more often than not a frustrating period due to lack of traction, but that passes as the rain washes the road clean. For drivers in climates where rain is more regular, it is not so noticeable but the same action still occurs – the rubber particles deposited by the tyre interaction with the pavement are washed away. So, we have a substantial amount of rubber that is deposited as a result of wearing tyres. Have any of you actually stopped to think ‘what happens to this rubber?’; yes, the elephant just became heavy on your lap, didn’t it! Studies conducted have revealed that the rubber micro particles are permeating our food chains. Some studies suggest that 10-25 percent of microplastics found in the oceans originate from tyres. That is a


tread characteristics are analysed to determine the most efficient and costeffective package for the operations referring these studies. Where especially the giant tyres have a lead time of months for delivery to site having a consistent supply stream is critical to the ongoing operations.

Microplastics From Tyres

Microplastic pollution

Heavy vehicles vs cars

Tyre wear particles are considered the largest source of microplastics in the environment. They are transmitted daily

22 tyres

system 2. In fact, 10-25 percent of the ocean’s microplastics originate from . tyres1.

approx. 30,000 km per month

Tyre Wear Particles (TWP) Tyre wear particles (TWP) are generated as the tread, the actual wearing part of a tyre, comes into contact with the pavement of our roads.


1 car: approx. 30,000 km per annum

Heavy vehicles are much larger than cars, and have more tyres as well as travelling

Factors that are introduced into the environment 3:


Climate or temperature

Type of road surface e.g. rough

Condition of road surface

Type of tread on the tyre

Driving speed

How they travel

Microplastics from tyres can travel thousands of kilometres from where

The smaller the particle, the further they can spread. The most miniscule microplastics can stay airborne for 18–37 days.

43 percent of the smaller microplastics from tyres remain on land, 57 percent will travel into the ocean 1. Tyre wear particles make their way into the food chain that humans consume

100,000 metric tonnes of microplastics are sourced from tyre wear and tear.

These are carried through the air, eventually ending up in the ocean.

The microplastics are can be quite toxic.

Sources: Please refer to accompanying references sheet

substantial amount. As we are seeing plastic items being consumed by various animals in the oceans, so too is rubber entering our food chain. Some studies suggest that while around 40 percent of the tread rubber will enter the water streams, the remainder is land bound. It is suggested by some researchers that 100,000 tonnes of P2.5 particulate tyre rubber is generated each year. This is the unseen factor of tyre manufacturing. End of life tyres are relatively easy to deal with as it can be seen. The automotive industry is combating air pollution as a result of using fossil fuels by moving towards electric vehicles; however, they still rely upon our tyres. Now consider your next meal of fish, are you consuming tread rubber? How much?

The FACT SHEET is provided by the National Road Safety Partnership Program. It is a highly valuable resource which can be found at https://www.nrspp.org.au/resources/ nrspp-quick-fact-microplastics-fromtyres/ I don’t profess to have any answers; there are many people a lot smarter than me working on this topic, but I bring this to the table to open discussion within our industry. A P2.5 particle is the smallest particulate measured in terms of air pollution; my question to the wider tyre industry is how do we deal with this aspect of tyres? I don’t want the elephant on my lap for much longer, do you? n

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TREND By Louis Rumao

Louis Rumao

CLIMATE CHANGE TO DRIVE MOBILITY FUTURE Is climate change causing increased severity of weather events? If yes, then fossil fuel-based transportation segment will be forced to change.


he world is changing! It used to be that if you spoke irreverently about a religion, you would be accused of blasphemy. But today, one could also be blasphemous for not believing that human activities are causing climate change! Climate change can affect global weather patterns. These changes, in turn, influence the intensity and, in some cases, the frequency of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts and storms, including forest fires. Extreme rainfall and flooding left paths of destruction through communities around the world in 2021. The latest was in Tennessee, USA, where a record-shattering 17 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, turning creeks into rivers that flooded hundreds of homes and killed at

least 18 people. One study looked at the rainfall from the European storm that killed more than 220 people when floods swept through Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in July 2021. Another study points out that the western North American extreme heat in late June 2021 would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. Recently, more than 100 people were feared dead in communities across the American Midwest and South after a string of powerful storms and tornadoes swept across 6 states overnight. Until now, storms of such severity were rare so late in the season. A decade ago, scientists weren’t able to confidently connect any individual weather event to climate change. Even now, many scientists are not sure whether there is a link between climate change and the frequency or strength of storms, in part because of limited data. Still, a team of climate scientists have reported that humaninduced global warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius has made storms of higher severity 1.2 to 9 times more likely than it would have been in a cooler world. They also point out that in recent years, tornadoes seem to be occurring in greater ‘clusters’.

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Transportation segment taking corrective steps There has always been extreme weather. But it is prudent to accept that activities such as burning fossil fuels are contributing to global warming and proactively take corrective steps before being forced to do so. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) and hydrogen power are the most discussed alternatives to vehicles powered by internal combustion engine (ICE). While rapid progress is being made to shift from ICE to BEVs for personal transportation, powering commercial vehicles (CV) for zero emission may be more challenging. While just 2 percent of the vehicles on the road are commercial vehicles (out of which trucking accounts for 22 percent of all CO2 produced by the transport sector), their impact on emissions, and the environment, is disproportionately large. Indeed, any approach to reduce emissions in the trucking sector is a good thing. Battery electric or even hydrogen power, all possess the potential to achieve this goal. Trucks using battery power don’t require any changes to infrastructure but will be expensive, take a long time to charge and add excess wear to roads. Hydrogen trucks will be lighter and able to refuel in minutes like ICE vehicles, but making hydrogen isn’t easy or cheap. Now there is a third option currently being evaluated in Frankfurt, Germany, that seems to be turning heads. Here, trucks will be powered by overhead electric power lines, as is the case with trams and trains, with a pantograph mounted on truck cab.

Trucks with hybrid powerplant that use such electric motorways will be cheaper, lighter and will require no refueling, but this system requires significant costly changes to public infrastructure. Ultimately, the systems that prove their worth in terms of cost efficiency will be the ones chosen by the industry and consumers. Currently, the German government is not revealing too much on the progress of the tests. What it has said is that they will decide in four years what technology will reign supreme. Right now, it appears that overhead powerlines have the edge for a portion of the haulage.

Disruptive tyre technologies to help While to most consumers, tyres are black and round, they are engineering marvels that not only make our vehicles more efficient but greatly improve their safety too! Some of the industry’s biggest players, and even a space agency, are very busy innovating tyres to meet demands of the new mobility needs. Some notable concepts in the works are: l


Airless, non-pneumatic tyres


3D-printed tyres made from bio-sourced materials





(Photo: SCANIA R450 Hybrid Truck)

Tyres that convert heat into electricity to charge battery

Moss-covered tyre that removes CO2 (Goodyear’s OXYGENE) Tyres with artificial intelligence (AI) that ‘sense and interact’ Tyre that autonomously adapts to weather conditions (Continental ContiAdapt) ‘Green’ tyres to reduce environmental impact while improving safety

The global tyre industry continues to enjoy a modest annual growth, projected to sell about 2.65 billion units in 2022. New technologies will help to forge new areas of business growth and profits for years to come. n

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TREND Gaurav Nandi



he Central Government, in December 2021, introduced the star rating of tyres for passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and light trucks in the country on a voluntary basis. The ratings are based on important tyre performance indicators like rolling resistance, wet grip and noise level. Though official communication has not been made to the industry, it is estimated that the star rating for tyres will be mandatory for the new and existing tyre design by October this year. The star rating system will improve fuel efficiency, safety and noise from rolling resistance in tyres. Speaking on the topic, Daniele Lorenzetti, Chief Technology Officer, Apollo Tyres Limited, contended, “The tyre labelling system is envisaged to bring a betterinformed decision-making process for the customer to select and purchase a new tyre. With India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change through sustainable development, Government of India (GOI) has initiated various measures for energy efficiency, with standards and labelling being one among them.” “Originally, the EU labelling regulation is referred to as the draft of star labelling system in India, and it is now being formulated to suit the Indian ecosystem,” he added. The EU tyre labelling system aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution in the transport sector and increase road safety. Tyre label would provide information on tyre rolling resistance, which indicates fuel consumption efficiency, wet grip index or safety owing to braking distance on wet surface and external pass by rolling noise.

Daniele Lorenzetti, Chief Technology Officer, Apollo Tyres

A better-informed customer will be able to choose his tyre wisely. In terms of sales, Lorenzetti opined, “As in the case of other star-rated goods, this is not expected to

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change any sales trend immediately. It would be a business-as-usual scenario and evolve through an optimised implementation programme and OEM adoption during the initial few years. Various market forces and the state of infrastructure affect the buying decision of customers. Indian customers’ needs are more aligned to durability and wear life, and incidentally, these parameters are not part of this labelling programme. With the upgradation of road infrastructure and change in driving habits of the customers, these labels would be a differentiator to customers in making the right choice of tyres. Changes in the application ecosystem will also force the customer to acknowledge the importance of these labels. Increasing fuel cost will promote rolling resistance label while increasing application speed on highways will promote wet grip label. Lastly, the refinement of vehicle sophistication/ EV adoption will promote noise label.”

Commenting on the benefits of the new rolling resistance rules, Lorenzetti said, “Low rolling resistance tyres improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency in internal combustion vehicles. Depending on the application, a 10 percent reduction in rolling resistance can typically correspond to a 2-3 percent reduction in vehicle fuel consumption. The labelling programme is one of the major thrust areas of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in India. The scheme targets the display of energy performance labels on high energy end-use equipment and appliances and lays down minimum energy performance standards. Presently, the Standards & Labelling programme covers star rating for 26 appliances/equipment in India, which is now being extended to tyres also.”

Apollo Tyres has already been selling tyres with labels in developed markets like US and Europe, complying with the specifications in these markets. Labelling has driven an increased R&D and technology innovation effort for the company. Lorenzetti believes that the company needs to spend more on extensive testing and labelling. “For a fast developing country like India, where the road infrastructure is yet to be evolved in large regions, frugally designed vehicles with bias construction tyres are still preferred. Hopefully, the regulation would be drafted in consideration of this large customer base and with special labelling criteria for bias tyre for its long survival,” said the CTO while answering on how the rating system will affect the company.

discussing the industry benefits of this new system, the Apollo executive said, “The Indian tyre industry welcomes all new regulations which would be useful for the customers and supports GOI’s sustainability drive. Apollo Tyres being a forerunner in the Indian tyre industry has been working on sustainability as a core driver of its growth. Labelling drives tyre manufacturers to innovate and strive to classify their tyres in the top classes. Vehicle manufacturers are expected to utilise the classification for a better product proposition. At the same time, it helps consumers make an informed purchase decision when they replace their tyres, as the label highlights the performance. Yet, the market transformation in a country like India would be challenging owing to its typical ecosystem.”

The industry will have a positive impact after implementing the new system because tyre purchasers are presently kept in the dark on selecting appropriate tyres for their vehicles. While

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However, the country has taken a long time to introduce such a system considering the amount of sales witnessed by the automobile sector. Pointing out that trye testing infrastructure in the country is one of the reasons for the late implementation of the rating system, the official added, “Testing infrastructure in India had to be evolved to meet the huge testing and validation requirements to start the labelling system in India. The transformation from a developing country, with very low per-capita vehicle ownership, to an emerging economy is a long process. India is now witnessing massive economic growth due to the development of industrial, infrastructural and technological sectors. The government’s priorities also evolve accordingly from fulfilling the basic needs to environmental concerns and sustainable development. Labelling is comparatively a recent development taking place in the last decade in the EU, followed by Japan and a few other countries. US has yet to adopt the EU labelling in its present form. It has a Uniform Tyre Quality Grading standard for passenger vehicles, which designates tyres based on treadwear, traction and temperature. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a voluntary SmartWay programme for commercial vehicle new tyres and retreads.” On guidelines in the new system, Lorenzetti claimed that it should conform to all the requirements of CMVR rule, 1989 and AIS:142 (for rolling resistance and wet grip only) with BIS certification. Tyre manufacturers need to provide test reports from ISO/IEC 17025 accredited labs to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Marking/making the labelling information available to the end customer varies with the type of product categories, such as passenger vehicle, light truck and commercial vehicle tyres.

GOI has already put strict restrictions on the import of tyres into the market. The Tyre Labelling Regulation is closely related to the Tyre Type Approval certification, which is designed to remove the worst tyres from the market. Type approval sets out minimum requirements for rolling resistance, wet grip and external rolling noise. Europe’s pioneering labelling scheme is an inspiration for us. Unlike few other countries adopting it as such, GOI is working with industry associations to create an India-specific model. This is because of the dynamics of our emerging economy and its infrastructure. As per the draft schedule, star rating is based on Rolling Resistance Coefficients, provided the tyres comply with minimum wet grip index. “Apollo Tyres being a global player has a significant presence in the European market, and all the products for the region are compliant with the EU norms. The Indian labelling system has evolved from the EU regulation, and so, we are all set to comply with it. Labelling helps consumers make an informed purchase decision when they replace their tyres. OEMs have already been far ahead in adopting these performing parameters in their tyres. Apollo being a major OE supplier already has enough range of products and technology to match these OE requirements and the label needs,” said the official when asked about the preparations for the labelling system. “For all tyre manufacturers, the challenge is to find the lowest rolling resistance that is not detrimental to other parameters. We are committed to meet the labelling requirements without compromising on safety, mileage and durability for Indian conditions, which are its hallmarks and also the primary concerns of the Indian customer,” concluded Lorenzetti. n Wet grip testing system

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INSIGHT B y P P Pe r e r a

Innovation: The Elusive ‘I’ Innovation, similar to communication, which I touched on in the previous issue of Tyre Trends, is a somewhat elusive subject as far as modern organisations are concerned. My intention here is not to delve into the subject’s intricacies but to share my experiences and views with the readers.

who have comprehended the essential interrelationships of ISO requirements from a business and strategic perspective as a key driver of business growth and sustainability.


The Oxford Dictionary describes innovation as introducing new things, ideas or ways of doing something. From a business point of view, this implies the process that an individual or an organisation undertakes to conceptualise brand new products, processes and ideas, or to approach existing products, processes and ideas in a new way.

PP Perera

ne of the frequent observations I notice when conducting audits in ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 is that the requirements of the context of the organisation, planning for risks and opportunities, and continual improvements are some of the least addressed areas. These are also some prominent areas where managers cannot adequately provide objective evidence for verification. More often than not the auditor is overwhelmed by voluminous documentation on SWOT, PESTLE and other catchword scenario analysis techniques, detailed risk analysis and planning information. On the other hand, some companies provide scanty details and perennial records with no evidence of review for long periods. This in no way is intended to undermine those innovative companies

According to Joseph Schumpeter, the Austrian political economist (1883-1950), innovation is the process and outcome of creating something new, which also has value. Innovation involves the whole process from opportunity identification, ideation or invention to development, prototyping, production marketing and sales, while entrepreneurship only needs commercialisation. The term ‘innovation’ seems to get tossed around a lot these days. The persistently mutating Covid-19 virus, in its own struggle for survival, has taught a lesson on innovation to mankind, and it shows up in blog posts, speeches, articles and memos, to the extent that it has the risk of becoming another catchword. Is ‘innovation’ also on its path to becoming another of those management concepts (fads) which will pass its expiry date? When I consider the organisations I have associated with and worked with over the past 53 years, one salient feature is that creativity gets killed much more frequently than it gets supported and nurtured. This does not necessarily imply that the managers have a grudge against creativity and innovation. Creativity is undermined, intentionally or otherwise, in everyday

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work environments established to maximise business imperatives such as planning, coordination, control and productivity. There was a common saying among the managers in Kenya where I worked in the 80s and 90s that employees leave their brains in numbered lockers at the gate when they enter the work arena. I suppose that this could be a universal feature. A notable example is the difficulties that most companies face in implementing 5S practices at the workplace. Perhaps it could be our natural and inherent tendency about the resistance to change and shifting away from our comfort zones. The irony is that some of the same employees have won the Household 5S competitions, which their children’s schools organised. On a similar note,

I have found some employees running their own small scale businesses at the domestic level with considerable business acumen supported by innovative ideas. We cannot blame the present-day executives for this apparent lack of innovative thinking at workplace when we consider the demanding expectations placed on them by the top managements, driven by a product and profit-oriented approach. Thinking out of the box and developing fresh ideas can feel like a lot of pressure in today’s competitive and rapidly changing world. Do they have time for inspirational thought, or are they driven by circumstances and grappling with the same issues and problems almost 60 percent of their working lives? We cannot undermine the grave importance of innovation as a strategic driver for business growth in a world so drastically transformed by almost two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. The word ‘new normal’ that entered our vocabulary after the first wave in late 2020 seems to have generated the wrong signal, as the words new and normal can sometimes be mutually exclusive. Naturally and understandably, most companies are resorting to catching up with the lost production and markets by focusing on capacity utilisation, and improving efficiencies

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and innovation is skewed towards technology and product development. What can we do that is different and needed, and how can we reinvent ourselves? These questions can freeze our minds when trying to force the answers. Developing an ‘innovative mind’ is a skill to have mental creativity and approach the world in a fresh and perhaps unconventional way. When talking about innovation, we are often confronted by several words that seem to convey an almost similar meaning,

such as Inspiration, Insight, Intuition, Initiative, Incubation, Inquisitiveness, which appear to reflect different facets of an innovative mind, which defy rational quantification, and hence elusive. Researchers have found evidence that the Alpha brain waves can trigger a surge in creativity and that relaxation and meditation can boost the Alpha waves. At this juncture, I find it fitting to fall back on a story from Hindu mythology, narrating how Lord Ganesha happened to acquire his symbolic elephant head. As

the famous story goes, Ganesha and his brother Skandha or Karthikeya (who is venerated in the southern part of the Indian Subcontinent and in Sri Lanka) were once thrown the challenge by their mother Parvathi (Lord Shiva’s wife) of travelling around the seven seas in the fastest possible time. While Karthikeya ventured on a long voyage, the wise Ganesha went to the kitchen and circled around the coconut shell containing kitchen salt, a practice still seen in the rural areas of Sri Lanka. Karthikeya, in his anger, beheaded Ganesha and the mother fitted the head of an elephant to resurrect Ganesha. Notwithstanding the episode’s appeal to the rationality of modern-day managers, I think that the story teaches us some salient features of an innovative mind: the ability to scan the environment, weigh the options and select the simple, least cumbersome and the more effective path. Furthermore, the sharp and penetrating eyes, the large ears, the ever probing sensitive trunk and, very importantly, the

small mouth, signifying less talk, seem to convey a message from the distant past on the importance of some anatomical and behavioural attributes of an innovative mind. When considering the landmark innovative discoveries and inventions in the history of mankind, one clearly emerging revelation is that the concept of an ‘original idea’ similar to the original sin itself could be a myth because all new findings are based on the skill and ability to comprehend the cause/effect relationships of the existing information and generating new knowledge. The discovery of fire and the wheel, the inclined plane, steam engine, the conveyor system (with apologies to the other famous inventors and discoverers) were all based on interpreting the existing knowledge and information in a new way.

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Discovery of Gravity and the Laws of Motion by Newton, the famous equation E= MC2 of Einstein and DNA by Crick and Watson were all based on expanding existing knowledge. On a similar note, we can understand that the emergence of great philosophers such as Lord Buddha resulted from the innovative thinking created by the observation, analysis and evaluation of existing knowledge and information. This is the basic reality that the management and the managers should understand. Innovation is not magic or rocket science, and it emerges through our own inquiring and investigating minds. Overlooking this fundamental truth is the reason for the majority of failures of Elite Groups, Brainstorming Teams, Think Tanks, Focus Groups and Task Forces and other hypes used by some companies today to bring forth productive innovation. Researchers have identified several miss-concepts shrouding the somewhat elusive innovation, which result in pitfalls or sinkholes as some would like to refer to them. 1. It is synonymous with creativity: Creativity generates ideas, but innovation requires that those ideas actually get implemented successfully or ‘making it happen’. 2. It is limited to a selected group of people: We often create an image of people working in isolation in the design and development, research lab or an advanced IT facility when we hear of innovation. While this may hold true in some cases, more often than not innovation happens on the shop floor or the field, as the Japanese have demonstrated by Quality Circles and Kaizen. 3. It is big and loud: Innovation often happens in incremental changes rather than the big breakthrough. Continual improvements in products, processes and procedures and, most importantly, looking inward within ourselves for our strengths and weaknesses. 4. It is expensive: While some kinds of innovation can be costly, many innovations simply require a change in the way we operate. 5. It is not relevant to my business: This may be the biggest

misconception. Any kind of organisation can benefit from innovation. It is what keeps firms flexible and poised for growth. While the scanning of the external and internal issues and the interests of the stakeholders, coupled with an evaluation of risks and opportunities, can bring forth significant product innovations, I know of a few medium-scale rubber-based companies in Sri Lanka who have achieved remarkable productivity improvements through Quality Circles and Kaizen at the floor level. Another baffling problem for organisations is determining suitable methods for evaluating the success of innovation. It may be relatively convenient for establishing KPIs for product development through revenue generated by innovative product design and development. However, the challenge will be to develop appropriate measures for the elusive aspects of innovation. I remember when the college students of the advanced level class were asked to describe a method of preparing oxygen in the laboratory. Practically all except one student sited the age-old practice that we also studied a long time ago, namely by heating potassium chlorate in the presence of manganese dioxide as a catalyst. One student explained that oxygen can be prepared by keeping a beaker containing green algae near an open window in the morning sunlight. Unfortunately, the teacher did not give him any marks. Perhaps our education syllabuses could be one reason for the lack of innovative minds. According to the ancient Buddhist canonical literature, the Buddha has mentioned four types of people categories based on their personal work effectiveness and talk by comparing them to the rain and thunder in one of the discourses. It would be interesting to try categorising the innovative effectiveness of managers using these two variables, namely 1. Rain without thunder

- The silent achievers

3. Thunder without rain

- Non-achievers but talkers only

2. Rain with thunder

4. Neither thunder nor rain

- Talkers and achievers

- The silent and non-achievers

the compelling outcome versus the efforts and the hype. The advertising gimmicks used by many companies to capture market share by promoting unhealthy FMCG is a good example. Innovation, despite its elusiveness, will continue to stay with the organisations and us and play a key role. The opportunities are immense and without boundaries. The Epitaph on Sir Isaac Newton (one of the greatest innovators of all times) says: NATURE and Nature’s Laws lay hid in night: God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light. On the contrary, one of Newton’s quotes clearly highlights the vastness of the unknown: “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” n The author is a Management Counsellor from Sri Lanka

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Be it an intelligent or an airless tyre, innovation is in full swing. Innovation is gaining more attention, focusing on sustainability for a longer run to thrive and sustain in the current challenging times. But continuous efforts for innovations make more sense when all the stakeholders in the ecosystem come together and work with one objective. Tyre companies, too, instead of taking all responsibilities, are allowing other experts to be more innovative. In this issue, we try to highlight how innovation is driving the tyre industry.

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Tyre Industry Innovations In 2021 By Gregers Lindvig


he year 2021 was special for many industries, and the tyre industry was no exception. Even though the pandemic was raging as the year started and ended, only a few months in the middle gave us all hope of returning to normal soon all over the planet. All sorts of vehicles were still on the road from A to B, and tyres were consumed and spent. For some tyre companies, 2021 was actually a better year than ever before, especially those that had secured good stock levels before the sea freight costs skyrocketed. I always say that you must never lose focus on improvements and development. In times of crisis, it’s what will secure your growth and sustenance when things improve again, and in times of excess, it’s where you need to invest those extra earnings in getting more robust for when the meagre times come back.

Gregers Lindvig

The year has offered many innovations to prove my point, though most of them have been centred around the same segment, namely electric vehicles (EV). As the brand leaders in the tyre industry have discovered that this segment is where the industry is heading in most parts of the world, they have brought one innovation after the other to the table. First of all, EV tyres need more substantial casings to endure the added stress of the rapid acceleration capabilities most EVs feature and the high vehicle weight caused by the large battery packs. Also, they need to be more durable to reduce additional wear caused not just by the same acceleration but also deceleration, which can be rapid. Naturally, they also need better grip to ensure shorter braking distances and handling when turning at speed, again due to the high weight. Still, they also need to offer lower rolling resistance so that the vehicle can travel as far as possible on a single charge. Lastly, they need silent tyres, as they are the only noise source when driving. Knowing how many of

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these factors contradict each other, it seems like an impossible mission. A more robust casing usually means increased stiffness and weight, and those factors typically result in increased noise and reduced grip. Softening the tread compound to increase grip could result in rapid wear from accelerating and surely increase noise levels. It’s not just a question of how to decrease rolling resistance while improving wet grip and braking distance, as it was the case to obtain good European tyre label values – it’s much more than that. And yet, basically, all the premium brands have cracked it in 2021. Continental, for example, has secured OE supply for six of the ten largest volume EV manufacturers since 2020 and onwards. For its latest product, the EcoContact 6, the German tyre company has developed a compound that reduces rolling resistance by an impressive 15 percent compared to the previous model. Since tyres account for roughly 20 percent of a vehicle’s total resistance, it effectively reduces energy consumption by three percent. On the other hand, Yokohama has launched the Advan dB V552, which features a reinforced belt designed to eliminate vibrations that in turn improve comfort and handling, reduce wear and still be a more durable option for electric vehicles. At the same time, a redesigned silent structure offers reduced noise levels, as the model name also attempts to indicate. Michelin has brought to market an excellent product for electric buses, the X Incity EV Z, which offers increased load capabilities – up to eight tonnes for the vehicle compared to previous models – and at the same time provides 10 percent longer mileage and a 13 percent reduction in rolling resistance. A great product for a more sustainable future, for sure. With a massive focus on the EV segment, Bridgestone has developed several new technologies in 2021 that will make an enormous difference for the industry going forward. In 2021, 11 percent of tyre products from Bridgestone were aimed at EVs, and the company expects it will be 20 percent by 2024. To reach

this goal, the Japanese tyre company has developed the ologic technology to improve battery range, B-silent to reduce tyre noise and TECHSYN to reduce wear and rolling resistance. The most promising of all is the ENLITEN technology which reduces tyre weight by a massive 20 percent, thereby reducing rolling resistance by up to 30 percent. Such a reduction makes a genuine impact on the environment, as it drastically decreases the energy needed to obtain any given speed or mileage. Having secured OE deals with half of the top EV manufacturers, Bridgestone will make an impact be felt with these technologies. Most prominently, Bridgestone tyres featuring all these new technologies have been developed for the new Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept vehicle, which can travel more than 1,000 km on a single charge. That is quite the showcase for these new technologies. For these reasons, my money is on Bridgestone’s ENLITEN technology to be the most crucial tyre industry innovation in 2021. n

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The Tyre Industry Is Currently Covering Brilliant Innovations

Ertugrul Bahan


s part of the vehicle body, a tyre always does and has to go hand in hand with the vehicle industry. When it comes to tyres, innovation only takes on its whole meaning when it is integrated into the vehicle. Recently, serial production of 16–17-inch rim sizes shifted to the 18–22-inch range and even partly to 24-inch tyres. This is directly related to the trends in the automotive industry and technological achievements based on environmentally friendly engines with more horsepower. Tyre and automakers do and must work well together to meet the challenge. Today’s cars have unique weights, torque and chassis. As a result, most tyres are either tuned or specially designed and manufactured for specific cars. Following various developments in vehicle chassis and suspension

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systems, the contribution of tyres to passenger comfort has decreased. The concept of airless tyres was born after significant advances in passenger comfort, range, safety and handling. The image of companies is based on correct, solid and attractive messages that indicate innovative products. Which company is more innovative is dependent on various factors. Is rolling out the first replacement tyre for EVs an innovative idea? You have a great advantage if you first launch a product with a brilliant idea highlighting the benefits of the average customer. If it attracts the attention of a particular segment of customers, it is a big step in survival. If the innovation covers most of your customers and you gain newcomers, you are sure of your sustainability. Technology feeds on the company’s innovative strength. Its workability is the number of innovations, market acceptance and financial contribution. Under this description, being more innovative does not mean increasing sales. Innovation can only be successful if it is used skilfully and if its timing is appropriate to many parameters of the market situation.

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Products that are tailored to customer needs and respond better to safer and more environmentally friendly transport will cover the market. So, the initial message pointing replacement of EV tyres is a limited innovation. But it indicates the company’s long-term strong vision. Innovation has no limits in the short term, but guidelines and trends show how to maintain competitiveness. The way is through safer and greener transportation by developing products that are better tailored to customer needs and cover most of the market. Green and digital transformation is an essential and expected role in an agile way. There is and will be a great deal of effort on the part of tyre manufacturers to develop efficient designs for electric cars. The Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 EV series available on the Porsche Taycan reduces road noise, is more resistant to high speeds and torque output and is reinforced by the ‘Ball Jam technology’, with increased lateral rigidity and precise handling. A new vulcanisation process ensured the right balance of temperature, time and pressure for optimal performance. Another example, Michelin e.PRIMACY for large SUVs in the US brings seven percent more

range to electric vehicles by optimising resistance to the road. The other Michelin tyre is Pilot Sport for electric sports cars and offers an additional range of up to 60 km per tank with optimised rolling resistance. We will see that more and more revolutionary designs and concepts for EV tyres are developed. Current product forecasts and market evaluations for electric tyres may very soon fail due to the reduction in battery weight, and thus for electric cars. Cars with extended mileage ensure safety, but with electric cars, minimising rolling resistance is undoubtedly necessary. Because of the heavier batteries, high-tech body parts with increasingly lighter suits are required. On the other hand, current designs and long-term strategies could suddenly fail if battery technology becomes lighter and generates more power with possible nanomaterials! Tyres become a driver’s nightmare when they suddenly burst. Hence, the best idea to prevent this fear is innovation number one. Inventions in this area either come at a price or if developed in parallel with little maintenance or some deficiencies in some of the key performance parameters of tyres. Whether airless or not, there is always a large innovation gap in the ‘no burst tyre’ concept. The Bridgestone Air-Free tyre, Michelin Tweels and Goodyear TurfCommand with DuraWeb technology consist of an internal compressible honeycomb matrix structure. Michelin Uptis has poly-resin spokes, and all have a rubber profile surface. Such composite structures have a thermoplastic joint structure that provides rigidity and flexibility. Goodyear’s spherical tyre concept, based on a magnetic body suspended between the tyre and the road, is revolutionary. The ‘Spherical, Omni or Mecanum Wheels Concepts’ are futuristic as alternative airless tyres. Wheels and tyres meet under cars, so it makes sense to find new

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Air Suspension Wheel Tyre

achievements in future designs that combine the two. The Air Suspension Wheel tyres are currently used for heavy services where the tyre is a real consumer product. Another brilliant concept is the ‘Air Suspension Wheel’ patented by Global Air Cylinder Wheels, an airless mechanical wheel mainly made of steel with air suspension in the wheel. The company showed examples of working under heavily loaded mining trucks. Still, it is noted that design is underway in construction, agriculture, bicycles, armoured vehicles and, later, automotive tyre services and transport. Empowering consumers is the primary goal of government policy and the organising committee. Therefore, the focus on regulatory rules is and will remain permanent. The airless tyre concepts mentioned and currently being developed accordingly require regulation. As a result, some of the concepts above may not meet your needs. The last ‘Tyre Labelling Regulation’ of May 2021 and the next further tightening of the RR by 50 percent will call the next innovation horizons into question. From May 2021, the European Tyre Commission implemented the revised ‘Tyre Labelling Regulation’ in line with the ‘Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility’. This will challenge other technological innovations with

better environmental, energy and safety properties. Type approval limits for rolling resistance are expected to be tightened by 50 percent by 2024. So far, unchanged tradeoffs such as tyre/road-noise, fuel efficiency, safe braking are due to new labelling limits and most less performing products will be withdrawn from the market. Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin are committed to making tyres made from 100 percent sustainable materials by 2050. Goodyear has declared a tyre made from 70 percent sustainable materials and comprises 13 ingredients in nine different tyre components. All of this means that we will come across a more significant number of tyres with an ever-increasing proportion of renewable and recyclable tyre materials. Likewise, the introduction of the labelling regulation for retreaded truck tyres is to be achieved by 2022, which reflects the dimension of material savings and a fair comparison with new tyres in terms of energy efficiency. RFID goes back 20 years. Newer high-tech RFID chips have opened up new potential areas for monitoring all processes and the lifecycle on the customer side. Therefore, the manufacturers have carefully examined the application of 100 percent RFID to all tyre groups. In the next five years, all medium and heavy truck tyres and all tyres of the PSR Group will be equipped with RFID chips. Monitoring the tyre lifecycle will open new horizons for innovation. The optimal tyre mass weight and the current superstructures of the safety base may be revised. The next-generation tyres will be the best and combined product of most trendy and desirable technologies best suiting the customer needs in an economical way. n

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Brand-New Tyre Mould Casting Foundry U

zer Makina is a leading tyre technology provider serving top tyre makers worldwide with its tyre curing presses and moulds since 1978. Uzer Makina’s press product category consists of mechanical and hydraulic presses for all kinds of tyres, while the

mould category includes tread segments, sidewall plates, container mechanisms, AG moulds and bladder moulds. Uzer Makina recently announced the commencement of its brandnew casting foundry to produce casting tread segment moulds inhouse. This used to be a process that was being outsourced in the past. However, after a long research period that took approximately three years, Uzer Makina finally developed and started its own casting methodology.

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Uzer Makina has always been a company that is an expert at utilising milling technology with its state-of-the-art machines. Therefore, the primary method for producing segmented moulds has always been the engraving method. The engraving method has many advantages, such as being much more precise than casting and cost-effective while manufacturing a few moulds from a pattern/size. This precision is often required for ultra-high-performance PCR tyres to reach desired uniformity levels. However, casting methodology is obviously the better option when producing moulds with high complexity (e.g. PCR winter tyre moulds) and when a high amount of moulds from one pattern/size are requested.

The casting process of moulds is a bit complicated compared to the direct engraving method. First, CAD data is used to produce a model. The model is obtained by utilising 5-axis machines. Then, the model sipes need to be inserted into this model. After this process, a silicone mixture should be poured into the model to obtain a silicone mould, which is the doublet of the real segmented mould. Later, casting sipes should be inserted on this silicone mould and plaster mixture is poured into the silicone mould to obtain the plaster model. In this process, casting sipes should transfer to the plaster model. The final step is to make the aluminium casting. The aluminium alloy should be melted and poured into the plaster model to get the final product. One of the most critical steps to be an expert in aluminium tyre mould casting is to manufacture all types of tyre mould sipes used on the moulds. While developing an in-house casting project, in the meantime, Uzer Makina also started its own sipe production line, which once used to be a process outsourced as it was for casting segments. More than 100 types of sipes are being produced in-house, and research and development activities continue to diversify sipe types, including regular 3D sipes and 3D-printed sipes. n

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Upholding IP Is A Common Interest For Every Innovator IP protection is a boardroom priority in most businesses and markets. It’s also subject to many regulatory changes, as countries across Asia, starting with China, seek to foster innovation by tightening the laws around IP. Gwen ten Berge, Director– IP Litigation at VMI, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of automated production systems, gives an insider’s view on the state of play in IP protection, and why it matters. Why is IP protection so important? You cannot have the constant flow of innovation the world needs unless you also have a robust system for protecting innovation. The two go together. If you won’t or can’t safeguard Intellectual Property, innovation will dry up. Innovation requires money, effort, faith, courage, and flashes of intuition, followed by a great deal of development. That’s how you turn a clever idea into a working solution. To keep innovating, you need to profit from your work. You have to earn back your initial investment, then make enough to fund your next innovations, remembering that only one in five new concepts actually leads to a successful product. Finally, you need to make innovation sustainable to keep shareholders and investors engaged, which is the only way to keep investing in the future.

What happens if there is inadequate IP protection? All innovators know the feeling that comes from seeing their ideas being illicitly used by someone else without permission. If someone steals your ideas and therefore steals your profit, you lose the income you need to fund future innovations. That’s bad for you and your customers. After all, customers depend on supplier innovations for the tools that enable them to innovate as well. Through innocence or desire to get a good product for less than it really costs, some customers may buy products based on misappropriated technologies and counterfeit components built by suppliers who have neither the right nor ability to use them. Products using misappropriated technology are unlikely to achieve the original Gwen ten Berge, Director – IP Litigation, VMI

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standards, leading to poor commercial performance. So customers suffer as well. Worst of all, the people we depend on for future technologies, the innovators we hope will build tomorrow’s cleaner, better, more sustainable systems, will go out of business. The economy and society will stagnate because nobody wins if innovation loses. That’s why protecting IP may be the single most important issue for every industrial sector today.

What does innovation really involve? Let’s look at a real-world example: VMI itself. Once you include researchers, development engineers and other people creating new products, between 10 and 15 percent of all VMI staff are dedicated to innovation. That’s an unusually high proportion, even before counting the additional resources provided by partners who supply specialised components to our industrial systems.

We have launched a series of revolutionary products in the past 10 to 15 years, including the MAXX and MILEXX tyre building machines, which have redefined integrated, automated tyre manufacturing. In each case, we invest an average of eight years in developing the initial product while also bringing platform upgrades to market every two years. In the meantime, we still continue to create entirely new products. The commitment required for innovation on this scale is extraordinary. For example, our REVOLUTE system for automated Bead Apex manufacture, to be launched in 2022, requires more than 20 separate new patents, together with additional technical know-how and trade secrets to control and manage different processes and components. The product incorporates innovations in robot and vision technologies, together with automated systems for automated scrap discarding and handling. Through an innovative compound application method, it uses ‘flip-over’ technology to enhance product quality and higher apexes. REVOLUTE took four years of continuous work to complete, with around ten engineers and researchers dedicated full time to this project. This illustrates how much time, money and commitment are required to launch an innovative new product, and no business will continue to make investments on this scale without proper IP protection.

VMI Synchro crown drum

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COV E R S TO R Y How is the IP landscape changing? There’s nothing new about IP theft, yet significant changes are now taking place, as more countries aspire to become ‘creators’ and ‘makers’ of advanced products and as product design and commercialisation cycles become shorter. Companies are launching products faster than before, partly because markets are less predictable now and partly because industrial systems are more softwaredependent, with customers expecting regular updates as a matter of course.

VMI Pixxel

We can see the most compelling example of such changes in China, which has now become the world leader in new patents. This trend marks the historic evolution of the Chinese economy from being a lowcost manufacturing centre for products originating in traditionally developed countries to being a home for technology innovation in its own right.

The rise of patent ‘nationalism’ Some industries, such as 5G and AI, are seen as national priorities by the Chinese government, and companies in these sectors are encouraged to patent thousands of new concepts each year. However, the consequence of promoting innovation in these strategic sectors is a more generalised move towards patenting as much as possible in as many industries as possible. What’s more, this approach leads to some undesirable behaviour, such as poor-quality patents and related opportunistic litigations. Companies from Japan, Europe, and North America are now being targeted by some Chinese companies, registering patents and designs similar to those owned by foreign companies and then suing for ‘infringement’. We at VMI have been engaged in litigation over the past five years to stop other companies from hijacking our own IP while, like other foreign companies, we have also faced unfounded accusations of infringing upon another company’s patents. This is frustrating and emotionally draining, but our experience suggests that you need to stay strong, be organised and work systematically to win your cases. In fact, we have continued to trade very successfully in China, despite the ongoing litigation. We have learned a great deal about the Chinese legal system, which is proving to be quite a positive experience. We hope that Chinese decision-makers will realise that a knowledge economy, which they are now building, requires fair and even-handed IP protection for all.

VMI Milexx

Making IP more consistent We should acknowledge that the term IP can itself become confusing, as it includes not just patents but also trade secrets, designs, trademarks and copyrights. Together, these cover not just the hardware and software components used to build a product but also the processes, methods, monitoring, maintenance, management and everything else that turns a machine into a successful commercial product. This complexity can lead to occasional concerns and frustrations. For example, one company may define a particular piece of IP as a trade secret and safeguard it as part of the production system it builds and takes to market. However, a different company may take the same piece of IP and register it as a patent – their own patent. In most jurisdictions, whoever registers the patent first is normally seen as the originator of that IP. This can lead to the bizarre situation where Company A, which has invented a technology and used it as a trade secret in their own products for many years, can be sued by Company B, because Company B has registered Company A’s trade secret as its own patent! Confused? You should be! The outcome is, at best, a lot of stress, cost and wasted time as you try to assert your right to your own IP in court while, at worst, you may lose your trade secret and see your business blocked by your own technology! Unfortunately, we suspect some companies have used this approach as a business model, a way of profiting from someone else’s work. Trade secrets generally include technologies that are difficult to protect via patents, so you must take responsible steps to ensure that trade secrets are not readily accessible by outsiders. In most industrialised countries, responsible courts will normally refuse to allow patent rights to a company that has clearly copied their patent directly from your own trade secret, as long as you can prove it – which is not always easy!

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VMI Revolute

Trade secret protection needs to become more consistent worldwide to cut out misunderstandings and enable better global mechanisms for international companies. This is why significant jurisdictions, notably the EU, are now working hard to rationalise their patent regimes, aiming to combine different forms of technology protection into a single strategic approach to patent law, to cope with technology hijacking in trade secret misappropriations. We are especially pleased to see the development of a proposed ‘IP Key’ for harmonising IP rules across major jurisdictions. For us, the agreement that will govern the interaction between the EU and China is particularly important and will be very welcome.

What about the future? IP protection is becoming more difficult because manufacturing systems now typically include a more complex mix of rapidly converging technologies. At VMI, 50 percent of the time and effort we dedicate to R&D is now focused on software. We build production platforms that incorporate camera systems; IT control and safety management; sensordriven automated materials handling; data collection, analysis and storage; and technologies enabling secure monitoring from remote locations.

As data and services become a more important part of our solutions, other areas of IP are also involved. Managing ownership and ensuring that every contributor to the overall solution is credited and protected becomes both more important and challenging. Governments around the world are updating their regulatory frameworks to manage in a fully digitised, data-driven, cloud-enabled world, yet the basic principles of IP protection have not changed. For innovation to thrive, innovations must be safeguarded and respected wherever you create, produce or sell your products and services. The worldwide consensus is that without IP protection, there can be no innovation. The legal system for registering your rights, protecting your interests and ensuring that IP protection is implemented evolves constantly and becomes more complicated. This is a fact of life, and we need to deal with it. Our recommendations, based on recent experience, are: • Take IP challenges seriously. Don’t assume that a long track record and strong reputation will protect your interests on their own. • Make it clear that you will defend yourself and will not hesitate to assert your IP rights. • Defend your partners’ and clients’ rights as if they were your own. They have trade secrets related to the materials they use on our machines, and we respect their rights at all times. • Be as sincere and respectful as you are determined and courageous. Different jurisdictions have different traditions but, in our experience, most are willing to implement their laws fairly, as long as you are patient. Above all, we need to understand that we are in this together. Upholding IP is a common interest for every innovator, everywhere in the world. n

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EV Trend Dominates Tyre Development T

he global electric vehicle (EV) market has taken a tremendous leap forward, with new registrations reaching record market shares in nearly all countries. For the tyre development landscape, the accelerating growth of the EV market means a pervasive transformation.

Boosting circular economy At Black Donuts, the impact of the EV trend can be seen everywhere,

from the tyre designers’ desks to the new practices of tyre testing. Beyond meeting new demands of the EV sector, the procedures and practices are tuned to serve the company’s strategic goal: to spearhead the industry’s shift towards a circular economy. Black Donuts launched the first EV tyre development projects with its tyre manufacturer customers in 2018. The internal research on EV tyres was initiated even before, at the time of the first EVs entering the market. “The first research project addressed the primary technological challenges: rolling resistance and noise,” says lkka Lehtoranta, Head of Tire and Material Development at Black Donuts.

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In tyre design, it is essential to focus on specific aspects to ensure optimal performance for electric cars. Compared to combustion cars, tyres for EVs must carry a heavier load and withstand high instant torque – and be efficient and quiet. Lately, the focus in tyre technology has shifted towards more comprehensive sustainability. Biobased materials and compounds are opening new possibilities, and the rapid growth of the EV market accelerates the pace of development. ”The EV trend has highlighted the sustainability of tyres. The demand for bio-based materials and tyre recyclability has significantly increased,” says Jarkko Mällinen, Technology Development Manager of Black Donuts. In cooperation with its partners, Black Donuts is investigating new possibilities to replace fossil-fuelbased raw materials with biobased or renewable materials in all products, including studded tyres. The company is currently testing the use of bio-based plastics in stud bodies.

Also, end-of-life tyres are a hot topic in the industry, and Black Donuts is researching how the waste tyres can be recirculated and recycled back into the process. Even the tyre development process is undergoing a renaissance. New design tools for faster tyre development are being introduced, emphasising the key features of sustainable, future proof tyres.

From standing out to the new standard Tyre sizes have grown for decades, and electric cars have accelerated the trend, as the bigger tyre size compensates for the impact of high torque. Henri Kossi, Tire Design Manager at Black Donuts, says, “EV tyres are approximately an inch bigger than those of a corresponding combustion car model.” The EV tyre development has already undergone an evolution in terms of size. The first tyres were high and narrow, nearly resembling the shape of bicycle tyres. “In the early days, both the vehicle and its tyres looked exceptional, as the manufacturers wanted to stand out from the mainstream,” says Mikko Väänänen, Tire Development Manager of the company. Now, we are already witnessing the transformation of EVs from the exceptional to the new normal. Regardless of the change, one thing remains: it is difficult for consumers to evaluate the tyres’ properties.

Lower rolling resistance – longer range Improving fuel efficiency by reducing rolling resistance has long been a prevailing trend in tyre development. The EV

Ilkka Lehtoranta

Henri Kossi

Head of T&M Development

Tire Design Manager

Ilkka Lehtoranta Head of T&M Development

JarkkoJarkko Mällinen Mällinen Development Technology Development Manager Manager

Henri Kossi Tire Design Manager

Mikko Sironen Mikko Sironen Development Tire Tire Development Manager Manager

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Mikko Väänänen Mikko Väänänen Development Tire Tire Development Manager Manager

COV E R S TO R Y enthusiasm has given it an extra boost due to the significantly higher impact of rolling resistance on the total energy economy of the vehicle.

Black Donuts is conducting a convoy test with EV and combustion variants of the same car brand to evaluate the difference in tyre wear. The test will provide valuable data of the impact of EVs on the wear of Nordic winter tyres in their natural driving conditions.

Lower rolling resistance means higher efficiency while also contributing to the EV’s overall sustainability. Moreover, rolling resistance is one of the few tyre properties that create clear value to the driver: the range.

“New research on tyre wear becomes more important if the EU tyre labelling will be widened to include a classification for tyre wear, as has been planned, says Kossi.

Whereas the EV discussion is strongly focused on increasing the range, the debate on tyres emphasises decreasing rolling resistance – even at the cost of other attributes. “The emphasis on rolling resistance has been elevated, and it has a clear impact on all development,” says Mikko Sironen, Tire Development Manager at Black Donuts. Different techniques have been adapted to achieve low rolling resistance. At Black Donuts, the entire tyre development and testing of new materials and compounds play a crucial role in EV tyre development. The target is to avoid compromising on key properties. “ Decreasing rolling resistance equals reducing the tread material by lower groove depths, which can affect the tyre’s durability. In principle, rolling resistance and tyre wear are opposite qualities and quite challenging to improve at the same time,” reveals Lehtoranta. The research results are promising: the latest polymer types and advanced silica-silane technology, additives and mixing technologies help improve both contrary qualities – and increase the range.

More weight, more wear? One consequence of the EV development is an increase in vehicle weight due to the heavy internal batteries. As the battery technology advances, the weight disparity will probably diminish, but today, an EV is generally 10-20 percent heavier than an equivalentsized combustion car. While extra weight places additional strain on the tyres, the high instant torque leads to higher tyre wear.

The risk of faster wear can be addressed, for instance, by considering carcass stiffness that copes with additional weight and higher slip tendency. Tear-resistant compounds are needed to take the high torque into account.

Silence, please In the absence of engine sound, tyre as a source of noise is highlighted when driving an EV. Sounds that would be almost unnoticeable in a combustion car become significant in an EV. Therefore, an EV tyre should contribute to a silent driving experience by reducing as much road noise as possible. Noise level can be minimised by versatile techniques, such as specialised tread patterns, optimised pitch arrangement and sound-absorbing rubber compounds. “Naturally, vehicle design also plays a role here, addressing the issue of cabin noise with different methods and material choices,” adds Kossi.

What about winter tyres? Regarding winter tyres, the main challenges are the same, with a higher degree of difficulty. “While good grip is the key feature of a safe winter tyre, it contradicts the top EV tyre properties. This means a challenge for developing a winter tyre with the lowest rolling resistance and noise level and excellent grip,“ says Lehtoranta. If anyone, the Black Donuts team holds the right recipe for success with their extensive experience in winter tyre development. Recently, the company developed a silent and sustainable solution for studded tyres, a so-called city stud, that is harsh to the icy conditions yet gentle to the road. Until now, the discussion on EV winter tyres has focused on the issue of more effective traction control and its consequences. Yet more grip tests with more EVs are needed before making universal conclusions. “The incoherence of the EV market sets a challenge for solid research. Having no universal EV model but a variety of brands with different technology leads to variation in traction control results,” says Kossi.

The driver effect Although modern tyre technology can address all key features of EVs, the single most important factor affecting vehicle safety and performance is not under but in the car. “Regarding tyre wear and performance, the driver is still the primary source of variation. Behind-the-wheel behaviour and aggressive acceleration can cause extra wear with all cars and tyres,” says Kossi. Driving a vehicle with high torque and instant acceleration easily inspires us to test its limits. Still, it is possible to slow down and keep a calm and relaxed frame of mind in an EV, too. n

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Changing Dynamics In Vehicles And Technovation From The Tyre Industry

8 June 2 0 2 2 , C H E N N A I , I N D I A





Contact Conference Chairman:

Tom Thomas

VDC 2022

Antony Powath President, PIN 365 Mobile: +91-9833 901 586 Email: hello@pin-365.com


Apollo Tyres Introduces Vredestein Brand In India Apollo Tyres has introduced the Vredestein brand for luxury car and super bike segments in India. With the Vredestein brand, the company aims at strengthening its position in the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler segments in the country. Initially, Apollo Tyres targets to sell 10,000 Vredestein tyres per month in the PV segment and capture a 20 percent market share in the super biking segment, said Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Apollo Tyres Ltd. By Gaurav Nandi

Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Apollo Tyres Ltd.

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o cement its position in India’s luxury car and super bike segment, Apollo Tyres recently introduced its premium brand – Vredestein. The Indian major acquired the Netherlands-based tyre manufacturer in 2009. The Vredestein tyres will be manufactured at the company’s state-of-theart facility in India Elaborating the company’s strategy to introduce the Vredestein brand for the two segments, Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Apollo Tyres Ltd, said, “The introduction of Vredestein brand has definitely strengthened our offering in the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler segments in India. The import restrictions on tyres imposed by the Indian government recently made a strong business case for us to bring this brand of tyres into India for high-end cars and

motorcycles. Our research and development teams have customised these tyres to provide the best safety and driving experience for the Indian conditions.”

BMW, Audi, Land Rover and Volvo, whereas Vredestein Ultrac will cater to premium hatchbacks and sedans such as the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Baleno. Vredestein’s Centauro NS and ST two-wheeler tyres will fit BMW, Ducati, Aprilia, Triumph, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha’s whole sport touring super sports line of motorcycles.

In the passenger car segment, the company, which is recognised for its designer and high-quality tyres, entered India with tyre sizes ranging from 15 to 20 inches. Vredestein UltracVorti will cater to premium luxury sedans such as Mercedes-Benz,

“We are looking at selling 10,000 Vredestein tyres per month in the PV segment, while in the super biking segment, which is growing at a CAGR of 7-8 percent, we would be targeting at a 20 percent market share,” said the senior executive. When asked if the new inductee will create competition for the existing range of Apollo Tyres, Sharma explained, “We are positioning Apollo and Vredestein as two separate brands having their unique identities. For Vredestein, the target audience would be owners of high-end cars and premium

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COV E R S TO R Y hatchbacks who like to go for the European/ International brands. Similarly, in the two-wheeler segment, Apollo does not have a presence in the super biking segment where Vredestein would be operating in.” Apollo has been one of the leading tyre manufacturers in the country for years. However, building the image for its Vredestein brand may be a challenging task. The Vredestein brand is 110 years old and successfully competes with the global majors in Europe and US. Independent tests by automotive/motoring magazines have placed Vredestein tyres in podium positions. “We are looking at leveraging that lineage of the brand, along with its customisation for Indian road conditions, to gain traction with the Indian consumers in the premium luxury segment. We also have the advantage of signature touch of Giugiaro Design and Frascoli Design on Vredestein’s passenger car tyres and two-wheeler tyres, respectively,” said Sharma. The tyres have been customised to suit the Indian road conditions, and in addition to European tracks, they have also been tested on the Indian tracks and for real-world conditions before the launch. Apollo Tyres will sell the new tyres through its existing network of business partners, particularly premium tier I counters. In the future, the corporation may contemplate establishing Vredestein-specific counters. The company has a significant advantage as a newcomer to India in that it has access to Apollo Tyres’ trained and powerful sales and service network throughout the country.

Car fitted with Vredestein tyres, at the launch event

Bikes fitted with Vredestein two-wheeler tyres, at the launch event

“Our state-of-the-art facilities have been producing tyres for all the advanced automotive markets across the world. We have even been producing Vredestein brand of tyres in India since 2019 and have been exporting them to different markets. So, our facilities are highly equipped to produce these tyres for the Indian market,” said Sharma while explaining the company’s capacity to produce these premium tyres. The Vredestein tyres which will be sold in the Indian market have been customised to suit the Indian road conditions and driving habits. “We are producing these tyres in India and definitely have the pricing advantage. Our prices would be far more competitive than other players in the premium luxury segment,” added Sharma Vredestein has predominantly served the replacement market in Europe and US. The tyres were recently introduced to European OEMs such as Audi, VW, SEAT and Ford. Similarly, Apollo Tyres will first sell such tyres in the replacement market, and the business will use its relationships with global OEMs to have the extremely highperformance tyres as OE fitment. “We are using the premium tier I counters in each major city from the existing sales and distribution network of Apollo Tyres to sell Vredestein tyres. Existing business partners will benefit from this, as we are now offering a full range of UHP tyres as well. Later, we might look at reaching out to new business partners in the UHP segment, which might open new channels for Apollo as well,” concluded Sharma. n

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Innovation To Collect Tyre-Wear Particles The Tyre Collective has invented a device that effectively captures tyre-wear particles to contribute to the zero-emission target. In an interview with Tyre Trends, Hugo Richardson, one of the founding members of the start-up, says the device collects 60 percent of all airborne particles on its test rig, and his team is working to improve the efficiency of the device. He also added that the team is looking to run potential pilots with early adopters or interested customers. By Sharad Matade


s the global auto industry is moving towards achieving ‘zero emission’, The Tyre Collective, which has invented a device that collects tyre-wear particles, sees more significant opportunities in future. The British clean-tech company, founded by Hugo Richardson, Siobhan Anderson, Deepak Mallya and Hanson Cheng, won the prestigious James Dyson Award in 2020 for inventing a device that captures tyre-wear particles with the help of electrostatics and airflow around the wheel. The Tyre Collective is a clean-tech company spearheading the capture and monitoring of tyre wear, accelerating the shift towards zeroemission mobility. “We started this project as part of our Master’s course at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. Microplastic pollution due to tyre-wear particles is a known issue, and we needed to find a solution. That’s why we, with different skill sets, decided to work together to invent a device which will collect tyre-wear particles,” said Richardson. According to a finding of Science for Environment Policy, published by Directorate-General Environment,

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European Commission, tyre-wear particles may account for a large proportion of microplastic pollution. However, the report added that inhalation risk from tyrewear particles is probably low, but these particles get mixed with soil and water. As per the report, about 1.3 million tonnes of tyre-wear particles are generated on Europe’s roads each year. “Approximately half of this is natural and synthetic rubber, making these particles a potential key source of synthetic polymer material released into the environment; the contribution of tyre-wear to total microplastic emissions is reported to be 50 percent in Denmark and Norway and about 30 percent in Germany, for instance. When ingested by organisms, synthetic particles can have harmful effects, reducing food intake ability or causing toxic impacts. Data on the effects of tyre-wear leachates on aquatic

species show toxic effects connected with metals, including zinc and organic compounds such as benzothiazoles. While differences in tyre composition, test design and species sensitivity may give rise to a wide range of toxicity data, studies report acute toxic-effect concentrations ranging from 25 to 100,000 milligrams (mg) of tyre-wear particles per litre of water,” said the Science for Environment Policy report. “Tyre wear is the second-largest microplastic pollutant in our ocean after single-use plastic and contributes about 28 percent of microplastic pollution in our oceans. Air pollution wise, there are still many studies being done. So, I don’t have the exact figures at the moment,” added Richardson.

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COV E R S TO R Y Higher acceleration and sudden braking and cornering generate more tyre-wear particles. The device is fitted close to where the tyre meets the road. Taking advantage of the airflow behind the tyres, the device receives maximum airflow, and the electrostatic plates attract tyre-wear particles. With the initial tests and the sample collections, the company noticed that along with tyre-wear particles, the patent-pending technologyalso collects potentially fine particles of metal, road debris, road dust and other tyres’ wear particles that have been left on the ground. The Tyre Collective team claims that its device currently captures 60 percent of all airborne particles on its test rig. Richardson said that the team is improving the electrostatics by enhancing the device configuration. “We are also working on getting better on an indepth understanding of the airflow behind the tyre to bring in more particles through the device and hence, increase the efficiency,” added Richardson. The company plans to upcycle these particles into new tyres and different applications, including bespoke rubber products, soundproofing, and inks and dyes. “If you discard the collected particles in landfills, it will defeat the purpose. There are varieties of applications in which you can use tyre-wear, and we are looking at the kind of applications which are most suitable, such as new tyre tread and soles of shoes,” explained Richardson. However, the larger challenge for The Tyre Collective is to make a device that will fit all types of vehicles, which come with different tyre sizes, wheel arch or mud flap.

The team experimented with different methods to capture tyre particles until they encountered electrostatics. “We sanded a tyre with sandpapers and rubbed the balloon against the sweater, and we saw these tyre-wear particles jumped up and down. We realised that there is a potential to attract tyre-wear particles using electrostatics,” recollected Richardson. Later on, to apply the concept to the experiment, the team built a rig, spinning a bike wheel against a sprung road to mimic a tyre skidding. The team did tests on car tyres and truck tyres. Now the device is being tested on the vehicles on the road. The friction between tyres and the road emits tyre-wear particles.

“The device location has always been a slight challenge. We need to fit the device as close as possible where the tyre touches the road for better efficiency. But obviously, there are different clearances that we have to look at. The core technology stays the same; we may have to make the attachment arm of the device a bit more bespoke for each vehicle,” said Richardson. Initially, the group will focus on vans, including maintenance vans and last-mile delivery vans, followed by commercial vehicles which produce more tyre-wear particles. The company has been in talks with various car vehicle manufacturers to get its device integrated. However, Richardson did not indulge further in the OE partnership. The Tyre Collective aims to supply its device in the aftermarket as a retro fitment product. However, the company sees larger opportunities in the electric vehicle space. “We are probably in a fascinating time in mobility development where tyre wear and brake wear are considered as serious issues as CO2 emission. We look into how we can integrate our technology in the vehicles to have zero emission.” The company now aims to scale up its testing this year. “We finished an on-vehicle test last year, and we’re looking to continue development at the next iteration of the device, run some and continue testing it on a vehicle here in London. We’re looking to run potential pilots with early adopters or interested customers, which can happen in the second half of this year. We’re also potentially starting our second fundraising round later this year.” n

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JK Tyre’s Innovative Services For Fleet Operators JK Tyre was the first tyre company that introduced radial technology in India, and it has been a leading tyre manufacturer in the truck and bus radial segment. For the truck and bus fleet operators, the company is running two successful programmes – Mobility Solution and Fleet Management – to offer lower cost per kilometre (CPKM) and better turnaround time with enhanced fuel efficiency and safety. In an interview, Srinivasu Allaphan, Director – Sales & Marketing at JK Tyre, said that for its mobility solution and fleet management services, the company targets INR two billion and INR 20 billion, respectively, in the next three years. He also added that the JK Tyre mobility solution business will gain further traction on growing GCCs in India.

By Sharad Matade


K Tyre intends to maintain its leading position in the commercial tyre space with its fleet operator-oriented services – mobility solution and fleet management. Today, the commercial vehicle segment is under severe pressure owing to rising fuel costs and slackening overall business. After fuel, tyres are one of fleet operators’ main cost occurring components. With its mobility solution and fleet management services, JK takes all the responsibility for taking care of tyres with guaranteed savings. The company started its mobility solution, wherein fleet operators have to pay per kilometre, in 2015, aiming to lower the cost per kilometre (CPKM) and offer better turnaround time, enhanced fuel efficiency and safety, and hassle-free trucking in the market. “Being a market leader in the CV space, we wanted to offer to differentiate to the trucking and bus operators. We started this initiative around seven years ago, even before anybody could think of it in India. Today, we have reached a point where we have taken the mobility solution business to new levels, with IoT supporting us in the digital space with the cloud. It has been good learning that we have carried forward. With confidence, I can say that JK Tyre is now high tech and comparable to any tyre service provider in the world,” said Srinivasu Allaphan, Director – Sales & Marketing at JK Tyre. Today, the company provides its mobility solution services to 25 large fleet operators in India. In the last fiscal, JK Tyre’s mobility solution generated a revenue of INR 500 million, and for FY22, it expects to have a 50 percent surge in the revenue, taking it to INR 750 million. “As per our strategic plan, we Srinivasu Allaphan, Director-Sales & Marketing, JK Tyre & Industries Limited

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are looking at a revenue of INR two billion by 2025 for our mobility solution business. I wouldn’t be surprised if we even surpassed this number,” added Allaphan. JK Tyre charges per kilometre, whereby the fleet operators pay only for the distance the tyre has been used. Explaining his optimism for the mobility solution business, Allaphan explained, “The business concept of pay per kilometre is getting popular. For instance, the cost of tyres for a fleet of 400 trucks and buses could be between INR 25 million to 30 million. With our solution, we can offer about 10 percent saving on the total tyre costs, around INR 2.5 million to INR 3 million, which is a substantial amount. Our sensors help maintain tyre inflation in real-time, thereby improving fuel efficiency. So we also assure three percent saving on fuel costs. If you calculate, with our mobility solution services, the total saving is up to 10-15 percent.” Under the programme, JK Tyre offers total tyre solutions – from purchasing new tyres to tyre disposal – to ensure the optimum

cost per kilometre (CPKM) to the fleets. The services include implementing the best tyre care and maintenance practices like fit-to-application, proper fitment procedures, correct inflation pressure, timely rotation and corrective actions for abnormal wear. As part of the programme, the company also trains drivers in their role in tyre care and maintenance and installs state-of-the-art machines at the clients’ locations with dedicated workforce at own costs. The company also maintains a centralised record book for fleets to provide data management software for tyre data entry and analysis. Tyre data records of fleets are synchronised with the fleets’ database for vehicle fitness, and the vehicle fitness report is shared with the owner and maintenance staff regularly. Under its fleet management programme, JK Tyre serves around 500 fleet operators with 110,000 vehicles. To avoid conflicts with its channel partners, the company manages only large fleets with over 100 trucks and buses in their fleets. The company’s channel partners serve the smaller fleet operators. “The fundamental difference between the mobility solution and fleet management services is the level of services. In the mobility solution case, we invest from machines to manpower at our own expense to provide a huge amount of backup services, whereas in the fleet management programmes, only one person would be there to manage three-four vehicles. He would visit twice or thrice a week and create a report to improve the performance,” said Allaphan. Under its mobility solution services, the company may explore the possibilities to maintain the tyres of other brands in the future.

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Truck Wheels Centre

For its fleet management business, JK Tyre expects INR five billion for FY22 and targets to take the revenue to INR 20 billion in the next three years. According to Allaphan, in the future, the company’s mobility solution business will pick up strongly on growing gross cost contracts ( GCCs) in India. Explaining it further, Allaphan said, “Today, most state governments are getting into GCCs with OEs, wherein the former has to pay per kilometre to the latter for procuring, operating and maintaining city buses as part of the contract. Since OEs are paid on a pay-per-km basis, they also expect the same solution from tyre companies. This will gain momentum further.” For instance, the company recently joined hands with JBM Auto to supply radial tyres fitted with its smart tyres device. The association involves end-to-end ownership of ‘Total Tyre Management’ with a dedicated team of JK Tyre professionals to assist 24x7 across its 11 workshops established in Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

The company is also exploring possibilities to avail the mobility solution services in the mining sector. “We are in talks with a couple of fleet operators in the mining sector,” added the JK Tyre executive. To strengthen its position in both the programmes, JK Tyre is ramping up in-house capabilities. The company recently acquired Pune-based company Treel Mobility Solutions, which makes sensors to monitor various performance parameters, such as speed, air pressure and temperature, in real-time. The company outsources RFIDs and integrates them in-house, and it has also heavily invested in developing software in-house. In Europe and US, services like mobility solution and fleet management have already gained space in the commercial vehicle market. However, according to Allaphan, such programmes are managed by channel partners, not by tyre companies. However, JK Tyre offers these services on its own and through channel partners, depending on the size of the fleet. It has 65 truck wheels and over 100 pit shops located across India. Apart from these, the company has set up its own workshops at clients’ locations. “We also offer en route and backup services on a cashless basis,” added Allaphan. Other tyre companies too are entering the fleet management and pay-per-km businesses in India. According to Allaphan, such competitions will help JK Tyre to learn, and vice-versa. “We are a pioneer in these businesses in India, and the strong experience in these spaces will give us an edge. We have the entire ecosystem on our own; we are not dependent on outside vendors to manage our services or IoT. As we advance, we will be more aggressive for these businesses,” said Allaphan. n

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Push For The Brand Boost TVS Eurogrip is in full swing to make itself the bike tyre specialist in the local and international markets. The brand is now associated as ‘Principal Sponsor’ with Chennai Super Kings, one of the strongest teams in the Indian Premier League. The company is also exploring motorsports, digital channels, social media and television to reach out to its larger customer base effectively. In an interview, P Madhavan, Executive Vice President – Sales & Marketing, TVS Srichakra, spoke on the company’s efforts to enhance the brand image among its targeted audiences.


oday, Gen-Y is largely influencing India’s twowheeler market, resulting in the bikes and scooters getting faster, funkier and safer, and these trends are driving TVS Eurogrip’s products and marketing strategies. To cater to the changing market trends, TVS Srichakra took the first leap in 2019 by introducing the brand ‘TVS Eurogrip’, which targets millennial customers’ needs.

“Building a brand and nurturing it to market leadership has been at the core of our efforts. The introduction of TVS Eurogrip in 2019 was an important milestone. Our core positioning for TVS Eurogrip is that we understand bikes and bike tyres the best given our experience in the category and our global expertise,” said P Madhavan, Executive Vice President – Sales & Marketing, TVS Srichakra. Headquartered in Madurai, TVS Srichakra has manufacturing facilities in Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Rudrapur (Uttarakhand) with a production capacity of over three million tyres a month. The company has a design centre in Milan, Italy supporting the R&D centre in Madurai. The tyres are tested in Indian, European and Japanese road conditions.

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The launch of TVS Eurogrip is also in line with the company’s strategy to expand its presence and build Eurogrip as a solid global brand in the international market. “The introduction of TVS Eurogrip in 2019 was an important milestone in an internationalisation process which already sees us exporting our tyres to over 85 countries. Our entries into Europe, soon followed by more countries in APAC and MEA, testify our commitment and copious investments in product quality and performance, furthermore, enforced by our R&D and design centre established a few years ago in Milan, Italy. Establishing our direct presence in developed and growing markets is an important step for us towards building Eurogrip as a strong global brand. It goes hand in hand with the research studies we have been conducting on new technologies, which will benefit all markets, including India. With our expertise as a manufacturer of two-wheeler tyres for over three decades, we are confident of making a mark in developed markets and look forward to the future growth potential,” explained P Madhavan. The company established itself as a leading global brand in the two-wheeler tyre category in the last three decades. Apart from twowheeler tyres, the company produces three-wheeler and off-highway tyres for the domestic and international markets. Understanding customers’ needs, aspirations and dreams and providing them the products that enrich their riding experience has always been the focus of TVS Eurogrip. “Brand TVS Eurogrip has all the elements the new-age rider is looking for – design, superior quality, high performance,” said P Madhavan.

Today, the Gen-Y rider is brand conscious and engages with products and brands that impress his peers. As specialists in the bike tyre domain, the company is geared up to lead its customers into the future of riding with TVS Eurogrip tyres. “Communication pegs and codes in the category have been changing quite swiftly to reflect the new-age rider’s preferences, with the advent of high-speed bikes, and the focus is now also on the emotional aspects behind buying a two-wheeler and a two-wheeler tyre. Our continuous enhancements in product quality and best in class services, high concentration on radials and consistent improvement in product design has always been in line with our brand image,” said P Madhavan. TVS Eurogrip focuses on innovation, superior quality standards and high performance to reach out to its potential customers for enhancing the overall riding experience. Though the high CC bike segment is growing fast, the commute purpose bikes segment still dominates the Indian two-wheeler market. “We constantly observe market trends and dynamics; this helps us plan new products, focus on potential geographies and align with market requirements. Our product range caters to the needs of all two-wheeler tyre consumers, from daily commute usage to world-class steel-belted radial tyres. Our media campaigns and onground activation programmes are designed to engage the commuter class audience. Today, the commuter class audience too consumes significant digital communication; we have been engaging with such audience on a regular basis,” said P Madhavan. Digital media consumption is at an all-time high, primarily through the pandemic and post-pandemic eras. The company’s recent integrated marketing campaign ‘Tyres for a Country full of Turns’ has also shown good traction on digital channels and social media. However, for mass reach, television remains the lead medium. “For our category, it is critical to activate marketing campaigns with an integrated 360-degree approach, and hence BTL consumer and trade activations become important. We see this trend continuing, and so we place more and more impetus on the digital front,” said P Madhavan. TVS Eurogrip has also introduced racing tyres, which help test new technologies under severe conditions. As part of its branding, the company powered the MMSC Motorcycle Endurance Race 2021. At the event, TVS Eurogrip showcased worldclass products with cutting-edge technology for today’s new-age bikers. Sports have been an excellent platform for companies to reach out to targeted audiences in India, and no sport can beat cricket. Recently, TVS Eurogrip joined hands with Chennai Super Kings as ‘Principal Sponsor’ for the next three years. TVS Eurogrip logo will be seen on the front of the official yellow jersey of the team for the 2022-2024 seasons. “We strongly believe the jersey branding and sponsorship will increase awareness and recognition for our Eurogrip brand name and visual identity. We look forward to co-creating exciting experiences for trade and our customers with this association. We are confident that this partnership will benefit brand TVS Eurogrip in the busy IPL environment,” said the TVS Eurogrip executive. n

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RUBBER Jom Jacob, Analyst in Global Natural Rubber Industr y




he year 2022 expects a considerable expansion of the global area occupied by mature rubber trees. This is because natural rubber producing countries across the world witnessed abnormally high rate of planting 6-7 years ago. Global mature area can expand by around 250,000 hectares in 2022 according to an estimation based on historical planting trends and therates of replating and discarding expected in each country. However, mature area is expected to stagnate in 2023 and contract in the subsequent years by reflecting the poor rate of planting witnessed world over from 2016 onwards. The two charts given below show the projected trends in the global mature area up to 2028 and the corresponding annual changes. Largely driven by the expansion of mature area, the world production of natural rubber is expected to increase by 45.3 percent in 2022, to 14.55 million tonnes. In absolute terms, the global production will increase by 730,000 tonnes in 2022. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), on 25 January, trimmed its world economic growth outlook for 2022 by 0.5 percentage point to 4.4 percent. IMF has scaled down the

Jom Jacob

2022 growth outlook of major NR consuming countries and regions with the notable exception of India and Japan. The revised economic outlook implies that the demand for NR from China, US, Euro area, UK and ASEAN-5 would be lower than the figures anticipated three months ago. The world consumption during 2022 is expected to be around 14.6 million tonnes by reflecting a 3.2 percent growth from a

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year ago. The anticipated figures of production and consumption suggest that the world supply-demand position would remain almost balanced during 2022 (Table 1). The outlook on world production during 2022 is subject to downside risk as climate change can impact on the supply through loss of tapping days as well as decline in tree yield. The consumption outlook has also downside risk as the global economic recovery momentum can be hindered by several factors. The escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict and potential economic sanctions by US and its allies can dampen the global recovery momentum. Global economic recovery is also subject to potential further development of Covid infections and the progress in the vaccination drive. Coming to the factors beyond supply and demand, the natural rubber prices can expect downside pressure from at least three sources: i. Central banks across countries are expected to hike policy interest rates in the first half of 2022 in their efforts to tame the heated inflation. The resultant higher borrowing cost can make speculative investments in commodities economically less attractive. The Peoples Bank of China could be an exception among other central banks as China is currently focussing on economic growth by adding liquidity rather than taming the inflation.




2021 (Preliminary)



330 (Deficit)

2022 (Anticipated)



50 (Deficit)

2020 (Actual)



637 (Surplus)

Table 1: World production and consumption of NR (‘000 tonnes)

ii. The dollar is likely to gain in the first half of 2022 as the US Federal Reserve is expected to end its massive bond-purchasing programme and start hiking the policy rates. Through a statement made on 26 January, following the meeting of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), the chairman of the Federal Reserve has signalled the likelihood of a rate hike in March 2022 besides stepping up the policy tightening measures. A stronger dollar deters speculative investments in commodities, and natural rubber is no exception. iii. Geopolitical factors, particularly the Ukraine-Russia conflict, can make speculative investments riskier and thereby act as another deterrent in rubber futures market. To summarise, global natural rubber market in the year 2022 would be determined largely by a nearly balanced supply-demand situation. Based on the emerging supply-demand scenario, there is no reason to expect a major rally or a slump in the prices. High borrowing cost, strong dollar and geopolitical factors are expected to deter speculative activities in rubber futures markets and weigh on NR prices globally during the first half of 2022. On the positive side, NR can gain if the rally in crude oil market sustains. NR prices are expected to perform better in the second half of 2022 compared to the first half of the year. This is because the market sentiment during first half would be impacted by the policy tightening by central banks, high borrowing costs and stronger dollar. The observation of a better second half assumes further lifting of Covid-restrictions and economies returning to normalcy. Looking beyond 2022, world supply is expected to slow down starting from 2023 on account of the anticipated contraction of mature area worldwide. The poor rate of planting from 2016 onwards is expected to reflect on the global mature area starting from 2023. n

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Innovative Technologies Lead To Sustainable Manufacturing, Higher Performance And Protect Environment Sustainability must be a holistic approach Creating sustainability throughout the entire manufacturing process is the current challenge. To meet this challenge, it is necessary to implement the most modern techniques in the buildings, factories, in the production, in the machines and new technologies. The new technologies accurately monitor the manufacturing process, analyse it to operate effective maintenance that saves costs, conserve materials and ensure that production never stops and moreover deliver high performance. HF has spent a lot of budgets in recent years to upgrade its factories to save CO2, generate its own energy and to produce CO2 neutral in a few years. In addition, HF’s heating presses are specially insulated to minimise energy loss during heating. Furthermore, in the foreseeable future, we will be able to digitally monitor and analyse the complete heating process to have exact indications for an increase in performance.

CO2-saving during the tyre curing process by optimised heating systems With CO2 emissions and costs linked to it, energy-saving initiatives become of higher relevance day by day, and this is why HF’s customers are getting more eager to reduce the overall energy demand per tyre cured. To support its customers with the necessary expertise, HF researched the field of process optimisation and product benchmarking to identify the most promising solutions when it comes to equipping your curing press. Using state-of-theart technology such as CAE-tools laboratory testbeds to compare single part performance and on-site trials to prove the overall potential of different solutions, HF is constantly expanding its market and technology overview. Based on this knowledge and experience, the company can find the best solution together with its customers.

HF’s digital monitoring of the tyre curing process HF has just started a fascinating development of a digital solution approach for condition monitoring of tyre curing presses. With this solution approach, HF primarily wants to keep the cycle times of curing presses stably low to increase the curing output. Additionally, HF also wants to avoid unplanned downtimes through targeted early warnings, support repair and maintenance measures and intends to reduce the need for spare parts. Bringing these developments together is giving its customers the edge over the competition. All these efforts are undertaken to answer the most frequently asked questions by the tyre producers: t Do

I run my equipment on optimal energy consumption?

t How


can I minimise my operational


want to increase production output. How can we speed up the cycle time and gain an advantage over the competition?

t How

can I reduce:

• my CO2 footprint • unplanned downtimes due to early warning of incidents such as leakages, wear and tear • repair times by indicating root causes for errors and thus support focused countermeasures

insulation system energy efficiency

• planned maintenance times by directing the focus of action to issues that need to be taken care of HF is ready to provide more information on digital monitoring of the tyre curing process if these questions sound familiar. n Get in touch with us: cp@hf-group.com

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HF MIXING GROUP Delivers The Key To Success: Sustainability & End-of-Life Tyre Solutions


F MIXING GROUP´s latest developments significantly improve the sustainability of the tyre manufacturing industry. The company has already launched several new solutions and is working on many projects to be launched soon. With a long history and strengths in the design to built-tolast of machines, engineering of mixing room controls and automation, as well as complete solutions for the rubber processing industries, the HF MIXING GROUP is able to develop, deliver and optimise the customised mixing room to ensure productivity, quality, sustainability and safety goals. The intelligent mixing process controllers – iXSeal and iRam – are software-based and both are included within the HF MIXING GROUP´s ADVISE automation system solution. Several customers already benefit from HF´s software with minimised wear, less cleaning effort, improved mixing quality, lower oil consumption and, therefore, less recycling effort and costs. The latest machine developments, namely the newest surface treatment technologies and the maintenance box (mBox), deliver a more sustainable approach and safety concept with financial benefits by reduced maintenance effort and a longer machine lifetime. HF MIXING GROUP

shows that sustainability and safety can be achieved simultaneously with better quality and increased productivity. The partnership between HF MIXING GROUP and WF Recycle-Tech enables a revolutionary new pyrolysis solution, improving the recycling of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) to the tyre manufacturing and recycling industry. The patented, proven and tested system is designed to process the rubber into its base components: TDO (tyre derived oil), syngas and raw recovered carbon black (rCB). A great advantage of the continuously operating 2-stage pyrolysis process is the uniform output with constant quality. Moreover, the compact design also allows the integration into existing buildings. All in all, the unique patented 2-stage process recovers carbon black and tyrederived oil with excellent material properties. HF MIXING GROUP is excited to announce further solutions within 2022 and is looking forward to fruitful conversations during the upcoming events in Germany, US and Asia. Reduce the energy consumption and optimise the footprint. Learn more about reusage and recycling of materials, waste reduction and get in touch with THE endof-life tyre solution by visiting the HF MIXING GROUP at the upcoming events. n

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Nokian Tyres Develops Green Step Concept Tyre


okian Tyres has introduced its Green Step concept tyre – a sustainable tyre that consists of 93 percent recycled or renewable materials. With this ambitious design, the company is one more step closer to its target of using 50 percent of recycled or renewable raw material in its tyres by 2030. The latest achievement by Nokian Tyres proves the dedication of the R&D team of the company towards creating a truly sustainable industry. Jouko Ilomäki, Development Manager, Nokian Tyres, said, “Drivers are more and more interested in the sustainability of their tyres and this creates demand for us to create tyres for these standards. It also puts pressure on the industry to develop more eco-friendly materials, as well as for tyre manufacturing technology to adapt to these materials. With a concept tyre like the Green Step, we can push the limits. It’s a win-win for all, but especially for the environment.” The Green Step tyre, which is a winter tyre, is made with natural rubber and renewable oils, such as canola oil. The plasticiser, resin and processing aids are sourced from renewable resources, and the natural rice husk ash silica works as a main filler for the tread and sidewall. A renewable cord fibre is also used to make the tyre tougher. In addition, the carbon black used in the rubber compounds is derived from end-of-life tyres while the butyl used in the inner surface, as well as the steel in the steel belts and bead wires in the structure, are mainly recycled.

Ilomäki adds, “We believe that using recycled rubber and especially recycled carbon black will be a future trend in tyre manufacturing; by the year 2030, we will have multiple new suppliers and more advanced technology. Also, the demand for raw materials with either recycled or renewed components will increase. We are very happy to be able to corporate so many recycled elements in the Green Step already.” Much before the industry’s awakening about sustainability, Nokian Tyres had stopped using high-aromatic oils as the first tyre manufacturer in the world in 2005. Now the company is also researching an alternative source for natural rubber in plants, such as the Guayule plant. Teemu Soini, Senior Manager, Materials Development, Nokian Tyres, said, “Even though the process of designing the Nokian Tyres Green Step started about a year ago, it is a result of decades of innovation and accumulated expertise on sustainable tyre design. Many of the sustainable innovations found in the Green Step are already used in our tyres, and regular drivers have been able to benefit from them for years. We made innovations during the process of designing the Green Step and they will be incorporated in the future tyres offered to consumers all around the globe. We wanted to explore the limits of our sustainable innovation capabilities and the result was the Green Step. It is a testament to our ambition and know-how.” n

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L&T Rubber Processing Machinery

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AFRICA By Bobby Odhiambo

Tall Claims, Short Tales: The Long And Short Of It Telling it as it is (Part 2)


n the second part of a two-part series that highlights the importance of claim analysis and the role that this activity plays in the tyre sales continuum, the writer will be tackling and reliving issues to bring to the fore hurdles that are sometimes faced in the African tyre Industry. To the rescue and emerging technology trends in this field, there are thankfully speedy resolutions of the sticky claims processes. Noteworthy, however, is that even though we may not be close to European counterparts owing to various factors such as technical expertise and supporting institutions, African tyre end-users are increasingly becoming aware of their rights in demanding higher safety standards and better quality products. This article does not deal with the forensic analysis of tyre damages and must not be construed as an attack on any brand of tyres.

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FMECA, engineers can focus on the critical sources of the problems and recommend counter measures for process improvement.

Types of tyre claimants l

The ‘cool and collected’ customer

Frankly, these are the type of customers that any tyre inspector (Me included) would like to meet. They are the ones who make the most pleasant encounter. They also form the manner and norm in which a claim tyre has to be presented. They are free-flowing with the facts that led to the premature failure of the tyre. Often such customers care so much about the tyres that they can present the tyres for inspection long before their actual failures. Vigilant and persuasive, these customers often get compensated not for any fault of the tyre but in terms of commercial adjustments. They are our partners in the world of tyre investigative reporting. l

Parts per million If you are somewhat familiar with Six Sigma, you would have heard of terms such as Defects per Unit ( DPU), Defects per Opportunity (DPO)and Defects per Million Opportunities (DPMO). Another important term to learn if you want to understand the concept of quality in the Six Sigma approach is Parts per Million Defectives (PPM). It refers to the expected number of parts out of one million that you can expect to be defective. The marketing environment in the motor engineering industry considers PPM as one of the most critical indicators of evaluating their processes and products. Mainly a dimensionless value, PPM is mostly the customer’s value from the supplier. Often, misunderstanding arises incorrectly interpreting and using the PPM indicator concerning the customer/supplier. The biggest problem comes when the customer expects a zero PPM, and the process can only give a PPM of CpK > / =1.33. In the automotive industry, a PPM of CpK to be> / = 1.67 is acceptable and that too only in the short term horizon. However small they may be, it is essential to analyse production process failures to carry out the appropriate improvement. Using proven processes such as the

’Blow your top off’ customer

When a customer tells you that you will pay for his time while presenting the claim while yelling obscenities, you know that you are in for a long day. I have often wondered which other product is presented for claim with clamour and uproar. I have once had a customer who has yelled expletives and swear words, then proceeded to go and pick a tyre from the display and finally drove off with the tyre. It is such customers who, if not controlled, will eventually result in claim tyres being received in bomb shelters or under tight security with bulletproof jackets. I have never envisaged any product that is returned under so much animosity and road rage as a tyre. I hope experts and readers of this article will be able to present to me a product that is presented in such circumstances. Such customers (and I dare say there are a few) come with already formed notions of what has caused the tyre’s failure. Their premonition is that the tyre inspector is there to guard the company’s interest and therefore cannot fairly present the facts and fault of the tyre. I found these customers in all regions and countries that I dealt with claims, but the percentage rose in some countries. Such customers will not stop at the claim settlement stage; armed with vitriol and verbatim (in the imprecise literal sense), they will launch their attack on the media, internet, company’s website and bloggers. In few cases, these customers also get compensated, which often sends a wrong signal to the market, but most importantly, wanes the confidence and credibility of the inspector. l

‘I don’t know what to expect’ customer

On the PH spectrum, the first type of customers would be 14 (Alkaline) and the second type 1 (Acidic). At number 7 (neutral), there are customers who would just like to try their pot-luck on a tyre inspector who they deem to have favourable disposition. Armed with worn-out tyres or already knowing what caused the actual damage of their tyres, they still want to have a go at the system even when they have already replaced the tyres on their vehicles. It’s more of a test of the customer relationship. Urged on by their respective tyre sales account managers, the inspector is often told that the person presenting the claim is highly important (maybe a minister, a close relative or a friend of the company directors, a loyal customer for many years etc.). All this lobbying is an attempt to influence the outcome of

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the claim inspection. In this sense, tyre inspectors are not unique; this is what doctors may hear on their way to operating theatres or judges who are about to deliver verdicts. Closer to home, it may be similar to a pathologist who is about to conduct and report on a postmortem. Yet ethos dictate that it is the ethical, professional, fact-based report that must see the light of day. This is why I have applied the blindfold (like Lady Justice) and earbuds over the years. I have never wanted to know who has presented the claim tyre for analysis to eliminate any type of bias. Like a pathologist, my initial inspection of the tyre (dead body) is never done in the presence of the customer (relatives). This also leaves me room to consult wherever needed. All results can thereafter be presented in writing.

Common mistakes made by service managers and tyre claim managers Presentation of verbal reports Nothing agitates a customer more than a verbal report. Though there is no legislation to ensure that customers get a written report, most of the professionally run tyre institutions have formatted reports presented to customers in such events. In a future article, I will be covering the procedure of claim tyre analysis.


Poor inspection procedure Training is key to ensuring that every inch of the tyre is covered when analysing tyre claims. The most common mistake is rushing to the area of damage while beginning your analysis. Like foreplay, tyre analysis cannot be rushed and must be done systematically. The five senses must be put to use, but most importantly, the sixth sense must be present when reporting.


Secondly and equally important is that a tyre must be stripped from the wheel (rim) before a proper analysis can begin.


Allow me to recall an event. There was a time when an agitated customer reported at Madam Enam’s (our


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administrator in Doha) office that he had a tyre on the vehicle that he wanted nothing less than compensation. Madam Enam asked me to examine the tyre as soon as possible as the customer was short of time. By this time, my technicians in Qatar knew that a tyre had to be dismounted from the vehicle and thereafter stripped from the rim before I began my examination. At this point, I too had become agitated. Confronted by an angry customer and a frightened administrator, I asked them, “IF THEY WENT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE DOCTORS AND WERE ASKED TO REMOVE THEIR VESTMENTS, WOULD THEY OBLIGE OR NOT? WHY IS IT THAT WHEN I, AS THE TYRE EXAMINER, ASKED THE CUSTOMER TO STRIP THE TYRE FROM THE RIM IT WAS CAUSING SO MUCH FURORE?” After a good laugh, I got the naked tyre presented to me. Lack of tools to inspect A probe, camera, torch, spreader pliers, chalk, tread depth gauge, cutter, gloves and goggles are some of the tools used during a tyre analysis. It is best to do an analysis in the confines of a well lit, repair or retread inspection setting, but in the absence of this, even a roadside analysis would suffice if carried out with the right tools and procedure.


Consult when not sure Unlike the time when I started off as a rookie examiner 20 years ago, help, advice and consultation are increasingly available to tyre examiners currently. Technology has made it increasingly possible for examiners to share tyre damage details with experts all over the world with a click of a button. Once the examination criterion has been set, the customers can be informed of the examination outcome through the same media. Claim settlement is no longer a dangerous contact sport.


The best way to train for tyre claim analysis is by conducting regular scrap analysis in fleets and retail discarded tyres. Even among such tyres, one is likely to find common occurrences of premature


tyre failures. But mostly importantly, tally the tyres that complete their journeys without a blemish.

A technical report does not have to agree with a commercial adjustment As factual as the claim report may be, there may be concessions made to retain the customer for many reasons. Even pro-rata payments are made on the residual tread depth of the tyre. Any decision that is purely made in the form of a commercial adjustment that has nothing to do with the technical report would have to stand on its own two legs. We have an African proverb for this kind of setup. It says, “NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE FISH AND BIRD MAY LOVE EACH OTHER, THEY CAN NEVER LIVE TOGETHER.” The technical and commercial arm of the business must act together in customer satisfaction even when it means convincing the customer to swallow the bitter pill of existing facts.

New trends in settling tyre claims Tyre insurance I find this as the aspirin and Panadol of tyre claim resolution. A customer is asked to pay a minimal premium when buying tyres, which covers all accidental risks of tyre damages. This has reduced incidences of confrontation, and a study shows that 40 percent of the clients prefer it. Tyre distributors have also offered it in addition to the manufacturing defect tyre warranty to bolster the sales.


Remote inspection and tracking 5G network will hit the African continent soon, and this will only enhance the remote inspections and training that tyre inspectors will receive from the tyre manufacturers. Already in place experimentally, customers now even receive SMS on the stages and status of their claims.


Most interesting cases One of the most exciting claim cases I have ever faced is of manipulation. A customer, who had been previously unsuccessful in his claim, went ahead and studied the report meticulously. He then presented three more similar tyres with the same defects, having slashed and manipulated the signs. It did not stop there; he stated that our tyres caused a near-crash that endangered his life and that of his family. Although it is impossible to construct the scene where the tyres are damaged, telltale signs of abuse can be picked by any seasoned examiner. In the above case, glue gun was used to cover for a pinch-shock damage. Sticking to your guns and reports can lead you to unlikely company. In the second case, a customer’s tyres were examined and noting that the customer had accidentally damaged the tyres, I declined to pay for the tyres. Using his influence, the customer ordered that I should be detained at the police station until I resolved his issue. I felt like Martin Luther King explaining to the policemen why I was right and the client had only to look at the facts. It was finally resolved. In conclusion, tyre and scrap analysis are key in determining how a tyre is mounted, dismounted and run, and how the tyre patterns affect and reflect the general conditions of the vehicle or driving habits. Stopping at the analysis means a lot of mistakes may be repeated initially in very small quantities per million. Scrap and claim analysis must be formulated, regulated and reported as a means of RAISING CUSTOMERS’ CONCERNS NO MATTER HOW TRIVIAL OR STUPID THEY SEEM. Let us make poor quality tyres as predictable as a bad film. n

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he Tire Cologne 2022 is all set to take place in Cologne from 24 to 26 May 2022. The event is organised by Koelnmesse and German Tyre Retail and Vulcanisation Trade Association (BRV), the event’s conceptual sponsor. After its debut in 2018, this year’s trade fair is expected to welcome around 300 companies and brands from more than 30 countries to present their products and services. “In addition to Michelin, numerous other tyre manufacturers, including Continental, Falken, Hankook and Pirelli, have registered,” confirms Ingo Riedeberger, Director of The Tire Cologne. “Trade fairs are incredibly important right now for getting the various industries back up and running – as a catalyst and driving force,” explains Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse. “We are fully prepared, and our safety and hygiene concepts have already proven successful in autumn 2021, for example at Anuga, which welcomed 4,500 exhibitors and 70,000 visitors. We are looking forward to May and to finally hosting The Tire Cologne once again after its premiere in 2018.” Stephan Helm, Chairman of the BRV, also believes that The Tire Cologne is highly influential and plays a crucial role in the industry: “We are confident that The Tire Cologne can jolt the industry out of its ‘digital fatigue’ and that renewed in-person exchange between trade fair visitors on the TTC industry platform will provide the industry with new, positive momentum in what continues to be a challenging market environment.” This year’s event will feature a special programme titled ‘Boulevard of Sustainability’, which will put due focus on the tyre’s sustainable lifecycle with conferences and special events to provide the necessary inspiration.

Anish Taneja, President and CEO of Michelin Europe North, said, “The Tire Cologne is the most important networking trade fair for our B2B business in the Europe North region and beyond. We value being able to meet with all the key partners and dealers here to discuss important topics such as the future of the tyre and mobility industry and to exchange ideas and visions. We are particularly looking forward to fruitful talks with our fleet customers and to the possibility of establishing contacts face to face again – of course, following the applicable hygiene regulations, which we take very seriously.” The Tire Cologne trade fair is aimed at tyre manufacturers, specialist tyre dealers, vehicle service providers, workshop fitters, recycling specialists, retreaders and all businesses associated with the tyre and vehicle industry. It aims to bring the industry together to showcase new products, developments and innovations. n

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INNOVATION IN DNA O ver the years, with its ever-growing thrust for upgrading technologies, Singaporebased tyre maker Giti Tire has positioned itself as a leading tyre manufacturer across the globe. The expanded German Engineering on many of its newest products, the introduction of 6-factor AdvanZtech development, utilising motorsports racing technology from top races in Asia and Europe, and even new tyres specifically designed for electric vehicles are a few achievements worth highlighting.

AdvanZtech: Globally integrated R&D system to deliver an unparalleled driving experience:

This technology eliminates annoying tyre vibrations by combining testing, modal, transmissibility and structural analysis, improving the overall ride comfort.

Precise control:

The contact area between the tyre and road forces a vehicle’s drive to impact control performance. Through simulation and test technology, Giti Tire improves its tyre structure, stiffness, grip and handling response. With its compound and pattern design optimisation, the company improves the dry/wet grip performance.

Green and energy-efficient:

Today, Giti Tire owns advanced R&D centres equipped with state-of-the-art equipment in China, Indonesia, Germany and US, and a UK tyre testing centre. With around 1,000 R&D brains, the company focuses on bringing forward-thinking and innovative ideas to meet the current and future demands for mobility.

The centres operate as one globally integrated R&D system with a shared technical knowledge management platform – AdvanZtech. A range of components makes up AdvanZtech, creating an allencompassing platform that considers driver needs from six essential perspectives. Giti Tire, irrespective of what tyres it produces, focuses on improving performance parameters – comfort, control, energy efficiency, longevity and noise reduction – without compromising on safety.

Quiet and comfort: Noise is inevitable while driving. However, Giti Tire uses its pattern noise simulation system to optimise the design of its tyre to reduce the noise generated from friction between tyres and the road.

Giti’s low rolling resistance green and eco-friendly technologies reduce energy consumption, thus saving fuel and protecting the environment. The low rolling resistance compound reduces friction between rubber molecules, lowering energy consumption. Computational contour deformation analysis and rolling resistance prediction technologies result in structural designs with optimised deformations, which ensures less heat generation, less fuel consumption and better protection for the environment.

Quality and endurance: Tyre endurance and wear performance determine mileage and application life. A specially formulated compound from Giti improves rubber strength and enhances the tyre’s wear resistance. Giti also optimises tyre structure and pattern design to evenly distribute tyre footprint friction energy, extending tyre wear mileage.

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Safety without worry: Giti Tire participates in leading global motorsports events and applies its technology and experience to everyday tyres. Safety performance is the core value of Giti Tire. Giti develops and uses safety-focused technologies that ensure strong grip and stability in all road conditions and applications through in-depth research on tyre compound, pattern, and structure.

Smart and innovative: Giti is actively engaged in next-generation innovative tyre technologies. Its latest smart tyre technology helps reveal hidden safety hazards, thereby opening new frontiers for improved safety and performance.

Embracing electric vehicle trends: As electric vehicles are gaining traction, Giti Tire has developed tyres catering to specific demands of electric vehicles. The company has already entered into OEM partnerships for electric vehicles in various countries, both in Asia and Europe – adding to the company’s wide range of partnerships with leading automotive manufacturers worldwide.

action will occur in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this year due to travel restrictions. The credibility of the series is through the elevation of 2021 series champion Guanyu Zhou to Formula 1 action. Zhou – a 22-year-old racing success story from Shanghai, China – will join the Alfa Romeo team. He follows recent F3 Asia successes, including Pietro Fittipaldi and Nikita Mazepin, who have moved on to participate in F1 action during the past three seasons, as well as numerous competitors that have joined the F2 field. This is a strong validation of the series quality and the strength of Giti tyres, which all drivers utilise on their vehicles for all the races.

Electric vehicles are generally heavier and generate more torque with lesser noise than internal combustion engine-driven vehicles. These vehicles put tyres under severe pressure, and Giti develops EV tyres considering these specific requirements. The company’s GitiComfort 225v1 uses a highly durable construction material, new tread technology and unique compounds to support the increased vehicle weight and safety during starting, accelerating, and braking. The tyres also have sufficient grip and sensitive steering for wet and dry environments. Durability and battery range are also sources of concern. To maximise battery range, the rolling resistance of tyres is a crucial factor. With the new low RR technology used in Giti tyres, the thickness of its thread rubber is optimised, and tyre heat generation is reduced. Ultimately, this reduces the car’s energy consumption and tyre wear.

Using motorsports proven technology for everyday tyres: Advanced motorsports competitions allow Giti Tire to test its tyres under highly demanding conditions. The company participates in a wide range of races worldwide, including the VLN Endurance Series and 24 Hours Nurburgring race in Germany. In 2021, the 24 Hours race included four Giti-sponsored cars – an Audi R8 LMS GT4, BMW 328i, a BMW 330i and a Volkswagen Golf VII GTI TCR – run by the highly competitive all-female team, with Audi claiming the first position in its class. In Asia, Giti takes pride as the tyre sponsor for the Formula 3 Asian Championship Series certified by FIA in which all the tyres run on GitiCompete GTR1 tyres. Following recent successful races in Malaysia, China, Thailand, Japan and other countries, the

With its motorsports on the global stage, Giti is growing its share in the premium market segment by providing customers with the confidence that their everyday tyres are developed from motorsports proven technology. This trust is further reinforced because a comprehensive range of competition tyres for tarmac and forest rallies, ice rallies, racing slicks/semi-slicks and 4x4 off-road challenges are already widely recognised by the racing community around the world. Motorsports often push tyres to limits that normal tyres would never be subjected to in daily driving. It, therefore, provides design engineers with very valuable and comprehensive information for the development of new tread patterns, construction designs and manufacturing processes. In the end, these help to make better and safer tyres for all of Giti Tire’s customers. n

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Indian Rubber Manufacturers Research Association Autonomous Body under DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India Since 1958

A Trusted name since 1958 for Testing, R&D, Product Development, Failure Investigation, Inspection, Training & Consultancy Services on Rubber & Allied Products

Wet Grip Testing Facility soon to be available at IRMRA Tyre labeling program as per Automotive Industry Standard AIS-142 which covers rolling resistance of tyres, tyre noise and wet grip is being implemented in India by BIS, New Delhi, Automotive Industry Standard Committee (AISC), and , PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) along with BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency).

State of the art Skid Trailer and its towing vehicle procured from Dufournier Industries, France, allows us to introduce Wet Grip Testing Facilities as per Stage II of AIS 142:2019. It will soon be available at IRMRA, South Centre, Chennai after getting NABL Accreditation in Jan 2022. For Information / Enquiries Contact : Mobile: +918291404906 or email : rr@irmra.org; info@irmra.org .




ianjin Saixiang Technology Co Ltd (TST) has recently been conferred with the ‘National Single-Product Manufacturing & Sale Champion’award for its AllSteel Radial Tyre Building Machine by MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) of China. As one of the most popular products of TST to the Chinese Market, there have been 100+ all-steel tyre building machines sold globally for the past two years. With the continuous improvement of independent research and development, the series Booster 330S, the newest type of Uni-stage TBR tyre building machine, has achieved the productivity of MAX 150 secs per tyre and stable average shift output with over 150 tyres. This efficiency has made a new production record among all of the peer products in China, claims the company. TST is a hi-tech shareholding company, which researches and develops radial tyre building equipment for the global tyre companies. Founded in 1989, TST was restructured as Tianjin Saixiang Technology Co Ltd in 2000. TST is famous for its leading technology in the rubber machinery and tyre industry at home and abroad. The

company supplies its machines throughout the country and exports to the top tyre companies in France, US, Germany, Japan, UK, Italy, India and many more. TST was listed on Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2010. n



okian Tyres has announced a revision of its midterm strategy. As a mid-term level target, the company hopes to reach EUR 2 billion in net sales. The company aims for organic growth and increasing market share in all key markets. The company is targeting segments operating profit and segments return on capital employed to be at the level of 20 percent, while for dividends, the target is set to payment of above 50 percent of net earnings. Jukka Moisio, President and CEO of Nokian Tyres, explains that the completion of the large investment phase will be the foundation for the company’s upcoming strong organic growth. “Many of the programmes and investments that we’ve undertaken in the past years are ready, and now we need to make sure we fully benefit from these investments. It’s time to deliver. We have the spirit to achieve beyond expectations, and we are very strong in delivering those results. Our team is ready to make us grow faster than the market,” he adds. Apart from this, the company had also launched several new products in 2020-2021, which will also drive growth for the company. Reinforcing Nokian Tyres’ brand in the regions will also be a key element the company will look

into. Profitability improvement will be driven by increasing volumes and operational efficiency. “Using rolling 12 months as a starting point, our net sales were roughly 1.52 billion at the end of June this year. Our mid-term ambition is to grow at about seven percent level while the global replacement tyre market is growing annually at a rate of five percent during 2020-2024,” says Moisio. The company hopes to strengthen the regions of Nordics and Vianor and Russia to the number one positions, while Central Europe will aim to increase sales by 50 percent, from roughly six million tyres to nine million tyres. North America will aim to increase sales by 100 percent, from roughly two million tyres to four million tyres, while the heavy tyres segment will be expected to grow sales by 50 percent, from EU 200 million to EU 300 million. “All the investment programmes mean that we are now able to deliver the volumes this growth requires. Heavy Tyres’ expansion will be completed by the end of 2023. We have added shifts in Dayton, US and in Nokia, Finland so that we are boosting production as we speak,” Moisio adds. n

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O N T H E B E AT B y A n t o n y Po w a t h

Travelling across continents is not only a passion but also an opportunity for Antony Powath to meet people from diverse backgrounds. It lets him understand more about the global tyre and rubber industry.


not look at the individual feeling compared to his predecessor MS Dhoni whose nickname was Captain Cool. As the nickname suggested, Dhoni was very calm and composed, tactical and better at communicating with his teammates. Both of them quit as captains; however, the manner was different. Dhoni groomed Kohli, discussed with him various tactics, so it was natural and easier for Kohli to become the captain. However, now in the current scenario, the BCCI is unsure who should lead the team. Should they pick up Rohit Sharma as a captain, or should they blood someone young? The silver lining is that whoever comes in can always rely on Kohli for some tips and advice as he is still there in all the three formats of the game.


e have recently seen Indian cricket’s top prolific player and arguably one of the best batsmen India has produced call it quits as a captain. He first called it quits from the captaincy of his IPL franchise team Bangalore Royal Challengers, then after the T20 World Cup left captaincy for the Indian T20 squad. The BCCI did not want to have two captains for the white ball team, so he also lost the captaincy for other formats. After the series loss to South Africa, India should have won as this was not the formidable team South Africa once was. Unfortunately, it did not pan out that way, and India lost the test series 2-1. Virat Kohli has built a very different attitude as a leader, who showed himself as a fitness freak. Kohli made changes to win at all costs and did

Unlike sports, owners of companies do not have the luxury of saying ‘I QUIT’. They have built their company and products/services with a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. The reality and market situation is different compared to the sports team. Be it a tyre company, retreader, raw material or machinery supplier, it is crucial to forming the second line of defence, and this is something Covid has taught us. We have lost many of our dear friends in the automotive, rubber and tyre industries due to Covid. If the second line is not given the proper guidance, structure and support, it will be difficult for the next person to take up the baton. n

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The company, which also introduced the Tiger DI 65 4WD, claimed that the tractor would deliver 65 HP power and economy of 55 HP tractor.


onalika Tractors has launched its new tractor Tiger DI 75 4WD with Common Rail Diesel System (CRDs) in India at an introductory price range of INR 1.1-1.12 million. The new tractor complies with Trem IV emission norms and provides power of 75 HP, Sonalika said in a statement.

Both models are available in 4W and 2W drive versions and have 12+12 shuttle tech transmission and a 5G hydraulic control system. Both tractors are equipped with ‘Sky Smart’ telematics, providing features such as engine immobiliser, real-time support for reduced breakdown time, vehicle geo-fencing and tracking. Equipped with 4,712 cc CRDs engine each, the Tiger DI 75 delivers 290 Nm torque and Tiger DI 65 delivers 258 Nm torque, the company said. Tiger DI 75 delivers a top speed of 40 kmph while Tiger DI 65 provides a top speed of 35.65 kmph, the release added. n



TM, one of India’s leading premium motorcycle manufacturers, has announced the launch of the 2022 KTM 250 Adventure model. It is priced at INR 235,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The motorcycle is powered by a 248 cc, DOHC, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine producing 30 PS (29.5 bhp) of power and 24 Nm of torque. The engine is fuel injected and comes with a Dell’Orto 38 mm throttle body. It features a power assist slipper clutch (PASC) and a WP Apex suspension setup with 43 mm upside-down (USD) fork upfront with 170 mm of travel and a rear mono-shock setup with 177 mm of travel and 10-step preload adjustment, giving the motorcycle a ground clearance of 200 mm. The 250 Adventure features a 14.5-litre tank, which the company claims gives the bike a range of 400 km. It also comes with an LCD with a switchable, dual-channel ABS from Bosch. The BYBRE (BY Brembo) brake setup consists of a 320 mm unit up front and a 230 mm unit in the rear. Booking for the motorcycle has commenced and can be done at any KTM showroom across the country. The motorcycle can be financed with EMIs starting from INR 6,300. The new model comes in two new colours: KTM Electronic Orange and KTM Factory Racing Blue. n 90 T Y R E T R E N D S | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 2



eading luxury car manufacturer Cadillac has announced the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-series, a performance-oriented version of its fullsize luxury SUV. The SUV shares the shape and details of the current version, save for a few bodywork differences. More information about the car, including the powertrain, will be announced later. However, experts speculate the vehicle could be powered by a differently tuned version of Cadillac’s CT5-V Blackwing’s 6.2-litre V8 engine, which produces 668 bhp of power and 894 Nm of torque in the sedan. Major manufacturers have been offering performance versions of their vehicles to increase profit margins. The current version of the SUV is available at a starting price of INR 5.7 million. n



R Owen, one of Britain’s leading luxury motor dealers, will deliver three Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ models to its customers in January. The three vehicles account for 10 percent of the limited production of the hypercar, which can reach recordbreaking speeds of up to 490 kmph. The Super Sport 300+ underwent a major engineering overhaul to achieve these speeds, including a longtail, new vertical exhaust pipes, a 32 percent larger diffuser, reinforced pistons, larger turbochargers and a stronger oil pump.

The hyper car is powered by an 8.0-litre W16 engine that produces 1,600 PS (1578.112 bhp), 100 PS (98.632 bhp), more than the regular version of the car. It also has a unique black carbon fibre paintwork with Jet Orange racing stripes running through the centre. The vehicle further features a Bugatti ‘Macaron’ logo made of genuine silver and black enamel, along with magnesium alloy wheels finished in a bespoke colour named ‘Nocturne’. The sold-out Chiron Super Sport 300+ vehicles are being built at Bugatti’s headquarters in Molsheim, France, each starting at a net price of INR 296 million. n

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ichelin has announced that it is developing an airless tyre in collaboration with Northrop Grumman to equip the future lunar vehicle, the LTV (Lunar Terrain Vehicle). A model of the future lunar vehicle was revealed to the general public for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The Michelin R&D team said the tyre can resist the extreme conditions at the lunar pole to make it easier to explore the lunar surface and allow a sustainable presence on the moon in 2025 and ultimately on Mars. The prototype airless lunar tyre model, fitted to the lunar vehicle, will be on show at the Northrop Grumman head office (Falls Church, Virginia, USA). n

EAT Kelani Holdings, CEAT’s IndiaSri Lanka joint venture, will provide Lanka Ashok Leyland (LAL), a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India, tyres for its commercial vehicles as original equipment. The company will equip nine sizes of tyres on almost 1,800 vehicles rolling off of the LAL manufacturing facility in Panagoda, Homagama. CEAT will provide tyres for heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light-commercial vehicles assembled in the country. It will equip LAL’s Ecomet 1212 mini trucks, Ecomet 1012 tippers, Taurus 2518 10-wheeler trucks, Taurus 1618 six-wheeler trucks, all types of flat-beds and container bodies, and the Dost range of light commercial vehicles with CEAT tyres such as the 8.25-20 XL Super, 8.25-20 HCL Super, Winmile AW 10.00 R20, 10.00-20 XL Super, 10.0020 Brawo Orion, 8.25-16 FM, 8.25-16 Stamina, 185 R14 Rhino Plus and the 195 R15 Rhino Plus. The tyres will feature high-mileage tread compound, high Denier fabric construction, energy-saving and dual-layer tread compound with heatdissipating lug geometry, robust tread designs with wider footprint and block strong kerbs design, natural equilibrium carcass designs, cooler tread compounds, balanced combination of ribs, high bonding belt compound and bead consolidated with rubber and steel, zig-zag circumferential grooves and ribs with lateral notches. n

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ontinental Tires has been selected as the OE tyre supplier for the new Kia EV6. The tyremaker will supply the PremiumContact 6 and the CrossContact RX for Kia plants. Additionally, Kia EV6 owners may also select Continental’s replacement tyres for summer, winter and all-season use. The PremiumContact 6 tyre is designed to offer low rolling resistance, maximum cornering stability and lateral force transmission. The special tread compound optimises safety and wet-road braking performance while the asymmetric circumferential grooves provide highly responsive handling and excellent steering precision on both dry and wet roads. Additionally, the PremiumContact 6 used on the Kia EV6 has earned the top rating for wet grip (Label A) classified under the EU’s tyre labelling system. The CrossContact RX specialises in its braking and handling properties due to the special tread pattern, which protects against rock and stone damage. At the same time, its sidewalls are designed for highly responsive and precise steering. The PremiumContact 6 and CrossContact RX are equipped with ContiSilent technology. n

okian Tyres has announced the launch of Hakkapeliitta R5 Nordic non-studded winter tyres.

The company claims that the new tyres would provide unprecedented ice grip, silence and eco-friendly mobility for the Northern winter. Marko Saari, Head of Product Management, Nokian Tyres, said, “Hakkapeliitta winter tyres are known around the world as the champions of demanding winter weather. The new Hakkapeliitta R5 is a revolutionary winter tyre that everyone will want to experience for themselves.” The key markets for Hakkapeliitta products are the Nordic countries, Russia and North America. n



he Yokohama Rubber Company has announced that Toyota Motor Corporation will use Yokohama’s 235/60R18 103 H specification BluEarth-XT AE61 and BluEarth-XT AE61 Z P S tyres for Lexus’s new PHEV, the Lexus NX, as OE fitment tyres. The BluEarth-XT AE61 tyre, based on the ‘environmentally, human and socially friendly’ concept, has been designed to provide the driver with driving comfort and environmental performance. It features a new tread pattern that improves wet traction, wear resistance and overall stability. The BluEarth-XT AE61 Z P S run-flat tyres conform to the EMT standards (an ISO standard for tyres). It provides a softer ride than run-flat tyres that fit to the previous EMT standard while the new tyre’s reduced weight aids fuel efficiency. This tyre will only be sold with the Lexus NX overseas. The company claims that the move is in line with its current medium-term management plan, Yokohama Transformation 2023. n

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TREADMARKS By Rajiv Budhraja

Rajiv Budhraja is Director General of the New Delhi-based tyre industry association, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA). The views expressed here are personal.



ust concluded 2021 will stand out as a defining year for the tyre industry in India as it embarked upon an ambitious initiative – charting a path to greater raw material security by attaining self-reliance in natural rubber (NR) availability. The journey to become self-reliant is not new for the Indian tyre industry. The industry was amongst the first ones to become selfsufficient much before the slogan of being AtmaNirbhar was coined. For years, India has been producing practically all the tyres it requires, making it one of the few countries that are self-dependent in tyre manufacturing. Much before a vehicle is rolled out, the tyre Industry is ready with the fitments, having worked out specifications and standards to the minutest details. While India has developed globally competitive tyre manufacturing capabilities, realising the vision of being AtmaNirbhar necessitates achieving self-sufficiency of the entire value chain in view of strong backward and forward linkages.

In this context, the ATMA NR project, launched during the year, attains all the more importance. Natural rubber is a key raw material for the Indian tyre industry. Unlike the global scenario where the ratio is skewed in favour of synthetic rubber, Indian industry stands out for its unique preference for NR. However, NR demand has been outstripping domestic supply and the gap is widening. Going forward, the situation may become more challenging for the NR Consuming interests. Imports may not be sustainable considering the strategic importance of NR as raw material and also in view of large outflows of foreign exchange that the government has been trying to discourage. As one of its kind initiatives that could hold a template for several other raw material intensive sectors, the NR Project is designed to implement the scheme for developing a substantial 200,000 hectares of rubber plantations in the North Eastern states financially supported by major tyre companies, represented by ATMA with technical support and coordination by the Rubber Board. This collaborative project in PPP mode involving tyre majors, Rubber Board and financing institutions is a landmark initiative where the consuming industry would 95 T Y R E T R E N D S | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 2

be contributing directly to the development of plantation. The project took off early in the year with a visit to the North East (Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam) by top leadership from ATMA member companies along with Dr KN Raghavan, Executive Director of Rubber Board in February 2021 to get a first-hand understanding of ground level situation and connect with state leadership and policy makers. Minister for Commerce & Industry (CIM), Government of India, Piyush Goyal has been the prime motivating force, mentoring the project Continued on page 100

MY VISION By Sharad Matade

CONTINENTAL TIRES INDIA TO RAMP UP PLANTS, BRING NEW TECHNOLOGIES To tap the new trends, namely EV, sustainability and carbon neutrality, Continental Tires India will expand its presence by improving manufacturing facilities and bringing new technologies. “We, at Continental, are committed to offering the best mobility solutions that are in line with the government’s focus areas. We plan to invest and enhance our manufacturing facilities and lead the business transformation of Continental Tires in India towards further developing and manufacturing quality and innovative products that befits the Indian market requirements,” said Gupta.


amir Gupta has taken the new role of managing director of Continental Tires India when the tyre industry is going through a tough time, thanks to overall slackening demand in the auto industry, but the company is on expansion mode. On account of the growing emphasis on improving logistic efficiency, EV transformation, carbon neutrality and sustainability in India, Continental Tires India plans to invest and enhance its manufacturing facilities and bring new technologies in the country to become a part of the country’s growth story, said Sameer Gupta, newly appointed managing director of Continental Tires India.

Samir Gupta

Gupta, who has been with the company for over three decades, was recently appointed as Managing Director – India Operations. He will also

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continue as the head of the Central Asia Region (India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia) passenger and light truck tyres replacement business (PLT RE). Gupta’s current larger role is to expand the company’s presence in India. Continental, in a statement, said it is now focusing on expanding its footprint across the subcontinent, and Gupta’s appointment is crucial in bringing this plan to fruition. “His customercentric approach, which leverages Continental’s strengths of a superior manufacturing plant in India, country-specific focused product portfolio and digital solutions expertise, will be critical to the company’s expansion in the country,” said the company. “India is one of the fastestgrowing economies with a robust growth of 8-8.5 percent in 2022-23, as

projected by the Economic Survey. In the recent union budget announcement, a lot of focus was given to improving logistic efficiency, EV transformation, carbon neutrality and sustainability. We, at Continental, are committed to offering the best mobility solutions that are in line with the government’s focus areas. We plan to invest and enhance our manufacturing facilities and lead the business transformation of Continental Tires in India towards further developing and manufacturing quality and innovative products that befits the Indian market requirements,” said Gupta. Continental recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Through the years, Continental has come up with various innovations for safer and

more comfortable driving experiences worldwide. One of these includes the world’s first car tyre with a tread in 1904. One of their major stepping stones to the 20th century was the world’s first tyre made out of synthetic rubber rolling out of the Continental factory in 1936. “For the past 150 years, Continental has diversified within the automotive industry and committed itself to ‘The Future in Motion’, and has developed significant technologies across the globe. Continental Tires India has recently launched the Generation 6 Ultra Contact 6 and Cross Contact 6 in passenger car tyres and Hybrid series in truck tyres, which incorporate advanced engineering and technology. Continental has introduced its Conti SupRim Technology, which is incorporated into all radial

truck tyres manufactured at Continental Tires’ plant in Modipuram to bring even more safe, durable and robust tyres to Indian fleets,” said Gupta. Continental has a presence in India for over 50 years. In 2011, Continental took over Modi Tyres Company Limited (MTCL) in India, which was renamed as Continental Tires India Limited. The company focuses on producing and selling cross-ply and radial tyres for trucks, buses and cars, focusing mainly on the replacement business. India has always been an instrumental market for the company in the tyre business. Explaining the Indian entity’s role in the company’s global vision, Gupta said, “At Continental, we plan to further invest and enhance the manufacturing facilities and bring new technology

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to India to become a part of India’s growth story. Continental’s vision is in alignment with that of the Indian government’s vision of sustainability, digitalisation and better connectivity in the nation. Continental is committed to working in the direction of bringing sustainability in the business, providing digital solutions for better customer engagement and products, and, thus, providing the best mobility to customers.” One of Continental’s focuses in the Indian market is to be the leading digital solution provider in the automotive industry. It is working towards providing advanced solutions like Conti 360 digital solution and SupRim technology for radial truck tyres, which is recently launched in the Indian market. In line with the trends, the company

maturity of the market for this holistic approach,” said Gupta.

is also enhancing the capability to produce ultrahigh-performance tyres in India with help of its global expertise in this segment. On the retail front, Continental Tires India is continuously increasing its footprint across the nation and currently has over 200 Image Stores in India. Continental, with its ‘In the market, For the market’ approach, has been expanding its Indian footprint since 2014 in the passenger and truck tyres business. “Currently,

Continental has more than 200 Continental Image Stores and is committed to expanding its presence across India in the coming years. We are focussing on channel expansion and creating consumer touchpoints through digital engagements and solutions for a better consumer experience,” said Gupta. Its presence in India over five decades has helped Continental to understand the Indian market and its customers. Continental is a well-established player in

India and its understanding of the market and the customers is very high, which gives it leverage to provide customised solutions to the market. Pay per kilometre has been a successful concept in the European market for many years. “So, we have handson experience and expertise within our organisation. We see the Asian market, including India, catching up on this innovative concept. Hence, we are carefully looking into the needs of our customers and the

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To reinforce its strong position in the growing market of emission-free mobility, Continental has introduced the ‘Carbonneutral for emission-free vehicles’ programme. The company intends to become the most progressive manufacturer in the tyre industry by 2030 globally. In line with its vision, Continental targets making all its tyres from 100 percent sustainable materials by 2050. “At our plants, we are taking various steps to achieve carbon neutrality and make our processes more sustainable. Our global target is to reduce 20 percent of waste, water and energy by 2030 in comparison to the base year 2019. We, along with our value chain partners, are striving for 100 percent carbon neutrality, 100 percent emission-free mobility and industry, 100 percent circular economy and 100 percent responsible value chain by 2050 at the latest. Being global leaders in the automotive industry, safe mobility and digitalisation are built-in in all our processes. Continental combines tyre expertise with digitalisation and Industry 4.0 to make tyres more safe, durable and efficient,” said Gupta. Global raw material prices are witnessing a surge due to a mismatch between demand and supply, shortage of carbon black and natural rubber etc. This is further coupled with the increasing freight cost across the globe, leading to increasing input costs. “With the government’s initiative on the infrastructure, we hope to see a higher demand for high-performance and safe tyres,” said Gupta. n


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Continued from page 95

Towards Greater Security And Sustainability at every step right from the inception. A meeting convened by the Minister in the month of June 2021 discussed threadbare the launch of the project and the road ahead. The CIM proposed a meeting with the chief ministers of North-Eastern states to take them on board, seek their full support and fast track the project. The CIM even offered to speak to the CMs to inform them about the wider benefits of the NR Project for their respective states. Since availability of planting material locally in NorthEastern states was a challenge, plans were made to transport the saplings from Kerala to the North East by rail. Few thousand saplings were initially sent as a pilot which reached Guwahati in good condition. It was an emotional moment for all the stakeholders in natural rubber sector when the first full consignment was sent by a special train ‘Bharathappuzha - Brahmaputra Rubber Express’, to Azara, Guwahati, from Thiruvalla railway station on 10th July 2021. It carried 133,000 rubber saplings packed in specially designed cartons. These saplings were distributed in the NE states for planting in the identified areas.

Eventually, Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister of Tripura, formally launched the NR Project under Chief Minister’s Rubber Mission on 14th August 21 at Pathaliaghat in Sepahijala district of Tripura and the project is shaping up well ever since. India has emerged as a front runner as the world pursues alternatives to China in the field of manufacturing. Given the spirit of entrepreneurship backed by the policy reforms, the country is poised to play its due role in the global supply chains. At the same time, the need for raw material security cannot be overemphasised as India looks to become the manufacturing hub of the world. It goes to the credit of the government that it has shown keen interest in enabling policies to encourage domestic manufacturing, including tyre and allied sectors. The fact that the ATMA NR Project could see the light of the day under the shadow of ongoing pandemic says a lot about the commitment of all the stakeholders to fight against odds. That surely augurs well for raw material security and sustainability as we welcome the New Year. n

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