Wacky World of Rubber: Industry truly is a small world

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Now I don’t get across the pond for work travel as often as I’d like, but when I do I am amazed at how the rubber industry, while global in nature, truly is a small-knit community in many respects. But there are still some differences between the U.S. and Europe, as I found out on my recent trip to the Tire Technology Expo in Hanover, Germany.

So here are some of my observations from the journey, my first to Europe in about a half-dozen years.

First of all, where you are going from and to factors largely in how smooth—and long—your trip may be.

I was flying out of Cleveland and to Hanover, neither of which are major airport hubs. That meant it would take three legs to get there, with stops at JFK Airport in New York and Heathrow in London on each end of the trip.

I knew, though, the trip would be a good one overall when at the Heathrow Airport waiting for the flight to Hanover, I heard a person from behind ask, “Are you Bruce?” For a second, it kind of threw me for a loop, but the voice was a most recognizable one. It was Patrick Raleigh, editor of sister publication European Rubber Journal.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

New technologies improve efficiencies in tire manufacturing: New Smithers Rapra report details key trends

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The need for more automation and faster size changes in tires over the last couple of decades has led to an industry manufacturing transformation. This transformation has changed factory design and driven changes in tire building machines, process equipment and tires themselves. Some changes are the result of regulations, heightened OEM and consumer performance requirements, and new tire materials. These improvements in tire manufacturing and others are detailed in the new Smithers Rapra market report The Future of Tire Manufacturing to 2024.

Improvements in manufacturing processes have been ongoing since the first tire factories and have accelerated over the last decade – spurred by the increased focus on environmental issues. The construction of new factories will help meet growing demand and handle new equipment more easily. Advances in automation have also helped significantly, although there are still significant savings to be realized, as well as increasing environmental regulations with which to comply. These together mean that improvements in manufacturing efficiencies will continue to be a focus for tire companies.

Developments affecting tire plants and manufacturing processes are as diverse as the penetration of new vehicle powertrains, logistical burdens, emergence of new markets, mergers and acquisitions, and the increased value and scarcity of real estate.

Regional developments

Tire demand and industry growth are driving manufacturing expansion at both the regional and global level. Distribution of tire manufacturing capacity and production across the major regions of the world is shaped by local tire demand from OEM and replacement market customers and favorable costs of the production factors.

Tire manufacturers tend to establish local factories in their most important sales areas, most recently focusing on Asia, according to The Future of Tire Manufacturing to 2024. The reverse is also happening with Asian producers setting up production close to customers they consider important, such as US-based OEMs. For this reason North American tire manufacturing is showing growth while the mature European market with lose share over the coming five years. Raw material prices are very similar all over the world, but labor and energy costs vary by region or country.

Tire demand drives manufacturing

Global tire demand is the ultimate driver of tire manufacturing, with both vehicles in use generating ongoing tire wear and replacement needs, and new vehicle sales requiring OEM tires to be fitted. Overall global tire demand is expected to grow 4% per year in unit terms in 2019-24.

The global tire industry as measured by tonnage of production is estimated to be 19.25 million tons in 2019, and is anticipated to grow at a 3.4% compound annual growth rate through 2024, to 22.75 million tons.

 

This growth is being driven and shaped by a variety of economic, technology and regulatory, demographic and consumer trends at the global, regional and national level, including alternative powertrains and autonomous vehicles, improvement in materials including sustainable substitutes and changing customer requirements like greater fuel efficiency with reduced emissions. There is a continuing high-performance trend towards larger OEM tire sizes/rim diameters, as well as ongoing pressure on automakers to meet emissions and fuel economy standards for individual vehicles as well as fleets, while tire companies adapt to consumer labelling schemes in Europe and increasingly, elsewhere.

Influence of vehicle mix and design

Trends in both conventional and emerging segments of motor vehicles have a critical influence on tires requirements and manufacturing, requiring a lot of planning and flexibility. For instance, a continuing shift towards light trucks away from passenger cars in developed markets coexists with growth in developing markets in entry level vehicle segments. The shifts at the OEM level have been underway for years, as seen by the continuing high growth of higher performance vehicles as well as eco-friendly vehicles and fleets.

Changes in tire types and design

A tire’s key required or desirable characteristics include safety, reliability, wet and dry traction, snow performance/wet performance, handling, high rolling efficiency, noise and life (miles)/longevity. New tire developments are constantly occurring, and there are substantial changes every year. Tire attributes in flux include tread/shape, material types and material chemistry, among others, and that does not even include the many concept tires.

Tire makers have made their primary commitment to produce ever more technically advanced tires (e.g. with sensors to measure tread depth, temperature and provide real-time alerts to drivers), run-flat tires including self-sealing tires, self-inflating tires, air-free tire  technologies, and reduced noise or noise-dampening tire technology (important for quiet electric vehicles).

Technology impact on tire manufacturing to produce these technically advance tires includes new molds, laser carving tools, new test equipment (especially for noise), as well as material changes such as different resins, silicas, and aramid fiber.

EV tire requirements

Use of electric vehicles (EVs) is on the rise and one obvious effect of the uptake of electric powertrains is the increased complexity of tire varieties. This includes the further SKU (stocking unit) proliferation from increased variation in OE tire types and sizes. Tire wear concerns with EVs make higher wear resistance critical, since traditional tires wear 30% faster on EVs than on conventional vehicles.

EV tires require optimized footprint shape and contact pressure distribution to avoid irregular wear. Maximizing battery range requires continued reduction of rolling resistance, and the additional weight of EVs may require even lighter weight tires. Quiet electric vehicles require emphasis on noise reduction on top of existing pressure from labeling schemes.

AV tire evolution

Many EV tire changes also apply to autonomous vehicles (likely to be all or mostly electric), but the introduction and spread of autonomous driving means that further changes are emerging and will have to be scaled up alongside more traditional manufacturing.

Tire sensing and communication capabilities are emerging at OE and aftermarket levels. Various types of tire condition and wear sensors and intelligent tires are in development, with some approaching market readiness in advance of the big future shift to autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous self-steering cars will mean that tire-vehicle communication becomes more important meaning tire sensors will be needed. Connected tires will contribute to road sensing, vehicle operation, and predictive maintenance (wear/damage sensing).

Emphasis on low noise and high ride quality will increase. Reliability requirements may be higher, increasing potential market for run-flat tires and eventual non-pneumatics. As AVs become the norm, the light vehicle tire may characterized by their tall and skinny shape (for aerodynamics and other attributes), sensor technology, no speed rating (driving speeds will be programmed and limited), better ride and less NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), ultra low rolling resistance (improving fuel economy), possible run-flat technology (if it can be lightweight enough) and labeling for compatibility.

For more information about the Smithers Rapra market report “The Future of Tire Manufacturing”, visit: https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/the-future-of-tire-manufacturing-to-2024

Janine Young is a career b2b communications professional with a background in trade journalism, corporate communications and public relations. She is a member of the Smithers Rapra reports and consultancy team that publishes market reports for members of the tire and rubber industries. She is editor of the Smithers Report, a subscription news service that focuses on tire and rubber industry trends and technology.

Read the source article at smithersrapra.com

Continental lays corner stone of new HQ in Hanover

Hanover, Germany — Continental Corp. has officially marked the construction of its new global headquarters in Hanover with the ceremonial laying of a foundation stone.

Placed inside the stone was a copper time capsule that contained a piece of rubber from the tire production facilities, a copy of the most recent employee magazine and a core component of electric vehicle power electronics developed by Continental.

Read the source article at European Rubber Journal

Goodyear develops tall and narrow EV concept tire

Marking its 100th anniversary, Citroën developed a special concept car, the 19_19 Concept – an autonomous, connected, electric vehicle. Goodyear was selected to create a bespoke tire for the application, which would deliver the performance required for this unique vehicle.

“Goodyear’s C100 concept tire was specifically designed for the Citroën 19_19 Concept vehicle. It features technology to deliver maximum comfort and efficiency for electric mobility and the intelligent capabilities needed to support an autonomous vehicle,” said Mike Rytokoski, chief marketing officer, consumer Europe at Goodyear.

Read the source article at Tire Technology International

Kumho Tire names new boss for Germany

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Effective 1 May, Woongchul Shin has taken on the role of general manager at Kumho Tire Europe, and as such is responsible for Kumho’s business in the German market. He succeeds Namwook Jung, who has relocated to Milan to head the Kumho Tyre Italia operation.

Read the source article at Tyrepress

Apollo sales, operating profit rise in 2019

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KERALA, India—Indian tire maker Apollo Tyres Ltd. posted double-digit increases in sales and operating profits for the fiscal year ended March 31.

Operating profits and sales both rose 18 percent, to $299.2 million and $2.47 billion, respectively, gains Apollo attributed to a “strong performance” in the commercial vehicle segment, especially truck radials in India, and passenger car tires in Europe.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

German auto suppliers downbeat as trade dispute simmers – Reuters

BERLIN/HAMBURG (Reuters) – German automotive suppliers Continental and Bosch do not expect a speedy recovery of the global auto market, as an escalating trade conflict between the United States and China threatens to compound already weak car demand. Automakers and their suppliers are grappling with a downturn in vehicle demand, particularly in China, the world’s largest car market, which saw sales slow down for the ninth month in a row in April.

Read the source article at reuters.com

Pyrolyx eyes second tire pyrolysis plant in US

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Munich, Germany – Recovered carbon black (rCB) manufacturer Pyrolyx AG has progressed the engineering and tendering process of its second plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, the company has announced.

Construction on the unit, which will be build adjacent to the company’s existing facility, is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

Pyrolyx expects the new plant to be “substantially similar” to its first tire pyrolysis unit, which is near completion, added its 30 April statement.

Read the source article at European Rubber Journal

Triangle Tire Creates Spanish Website, Shows Construction Progress of New Plant

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Triangle Tire USA has introduced a Spanish language version of its website.

In addition to product pages for each of the company’s OTR, TBR, PCR/LT and ST product offerings, the website features a timeline with photos and videos showing progress being made at the construction site for the company’s planned commercial and consumer tire plant in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

Read the source article at Tire Review

Partnership to aid rollout of Black Bear carbon black recovery technology

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MMEC Mannesmann GmbH (MMEC), a global leader in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and Black Bear, the Dutch tyre to carbon black upcycling company, today announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the rollout of Black Bear’s technology to produce recovered Carbon Black (rCB) from end-of-life tyres.

Read the source article at Tyrepress