AKRON — Smithers Group is planning a one-hour webinar for Dec. 4 on the use of silica in tire compounding featuring Bruce Lambillotte, vice president of technical consulting for Smithers and an industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience.
LEATHERHEAD, England—Smithers Market Reports has released its “All-Season vs. Winter Tires to 2024: A State of the Art Report,” which looks at the expected evolution of the all-season and winter tire markets for both OE and replacement tires.
OTR tire market growth supported by increased activity in emerging markets
Growing mechanization and infrastructure development in emerging markets is increasing demand for agriculture, construction and mining equipment as well as off-the-road tires.
According to a report from Smithers, The Future of Off-the-Road Tires to 2024, the global market for off-the-road (OTR) tires is estimated to be more than 4 million metric tons in 2019, corresponding to a value of $27.5 billion. A five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% to 2024 in volume and 4.8% per year in value is expected.
Construction and industrial activity have been leading market supports and drivers in the recent past, but going forward, growth will be more balanced among end-use sectors. For example, improving commodity prices are supporting the mining industry, while economic and population growth are supporting the construction, agriculture, manufacturing and shipping sectors. From an equipment perspective, development of new machines for these industries is driving OTR tire innovation. Products that can handle increased load demands and communicate their condition are now the focus.
Volume from mining and construction sectors
The mining and construction segments will continue to represent more than half of the market by volume. Mining and construction growth over the last several years has been restrained by the effects of soft energy and metals prices, but the aggregate mining segment (aggregate used in construction) has helped the overall market grow. Meanwhile, construction, as well as agriculture and industrial, are performing in line with overall economic growth.
Increased demand for agriculture tractors, and construction and mining equipment is being seen in developing countries. The construction and industrial segments have continued their steady market-leading performances from the prior period, 2014-19. As before, only the growth of the smallest end-use segment, the industrial market, will outpace the market as a whole. The increase in manufacturing in developing economies is projected to drive the market for industrial equipment tires. Increased industrial automation is also projected to influence the OTR tires.
As global economies recover, stabilize and resume growth, all regional markets are expected to grow through 2024. As with many other tire markets, the relatively strong economic performance of developing economies greatly influences the distribution of growth opportunities. With large mining, construction, agricultural and industrial bases in place, the Asia Pacific market is already by far the largest; nearly as large as the more mature North American (including Mexican) and European (including Russian) markets combined. Further growth in Asia Pacific is supported by increasing population, higher levels of agricultural mechanization, recovery in mining, and ongoing construction activity.
Changing end-user requirements
Across end-use segments, load requirements are increasing, and tire product and services are a critical element in avoiding downtime. Equipment automation and the use of Big Data and predictive analytics are transforming the OTR tire business into a closer collaboration between OEMs, tire manufacturers and dealers.
Over the next five years, the industry will be more driven by data use, predictive analytics and automation — shifting from a transactional-focused model to a solutions-oriented approach. The mining and construction OTR segments will drive much of this change with OTR tires using integrated sensors for tire monitoring and management.
Regulation and standardization
Governments play a key role in shaping trade, driving demand and inspiring product evolution (e.g., sustainability, and potentially standardization). Government spending is also a critical supporter of OTR tire demand related to infrastructure projects and agricultural subsidies.
Unlike other segments of the tire industry, there are no regulations or standards for OTR tires in mining and construction — even in North America and Europe. This presents a problem for some customers and an opportunity for manufacturers.
Some OTR equipment manufacturers are interested in uniform OTR performance standards including wear, speed/load, traction and temperature; but so far in the European Union, there is no strong lobby pushing standardization or labelling requirements. It is possible that standardization could be most easily achieved if led by a tire or rim association. Down the road, there is potential for European Whole Body Vibration legislation to provide impetus in this area, because the tires are implicated, especially for skid loaders. Simple tire pressure measurement systems (TPMS) that have been a legal requirement in the US since 2008 could also be a possible standard for OTR tires.
For more information on this market report by Smithers, visit https://www.smithers.com/services/market-reports/transportation/the-future-of-off-the-road-tires-to-2024.
Smithers has announced the addition of Mark Shackelford as business development manager of tire and wheel for North America as part of the Smithers Materials Science and Engineering division.
Shackelford is responsible for business development efforts for the tire and wheel industry, connecting clients to tire, wheel and snow traction testing, the Smithers Tire Analysis Report and technical consulting. He will work closely with Smithers laboratory operations managers and subject matter experts.
AKRON — In a move designed to streamline services for its clients, Smithers Group Inc. is planning to consolidate all of its companies under a single brand identity and motto: “Innovate with Confidence.”
Global tire production in 2019 is estimated to reach 19.25 million tonnes and is anticipated to grow at 3.4% compound annual growth to 22.75 million tonnes by the end of 2024.
Smithers Rapra’s new report, The Future of Tyre Manufacturing to 2024, estimates the global tire industry’s capital spending to be over US$15bn in 2019. Further growth by value will reflect that of production and demand, with an average annual growth of 3.3% through to 2024.
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.
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.
Brad Wurst, a technical consultant at Smithers Rapra, will deliver a webinar on radial tire components on Wednesday, May 8. The webinar, titled ‘Tire Components 101: A Comprehensive Overview of the Building Blocks of a Radial Tire’, will take place at 11:00am and will last roughly an hour.
HANOVER, Germany — As the electrification of vehicles continues to make strides during the next decade, there will be a significant impact on the design and production of tires.
That’s the conclusion researchers from Smithers Rapra came away with in doing a research on “The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to YR2028,” a paper presented by Bruce Lambillotte, vice president of technical consulting, during the recent Tire Technology Expo 2019 in Hanover.
The green tire industry, composed of low rolling resistance (LRR) tires as well as those emerging from ‘green’ (sustainable) materials, is a fast-growing part of the tire industry. The rapid growth of the sector is partly due to growth in the tire market itself, but mainly due to society’s increased interest in sustainability.
The global green tire market is estimated by Smithers Rapra to be $81.6 billion in 2018, which would put it at around 38% of the global tire industry as a whole. Smithers’ Future of Green Tires to 2023 market report forecasts growth of nearly 11% per year in value and volume through 2023, when value will reach $137 billion.
Green tire market high level forecast by value 2013-2023
Sustainable tire technologies
The main driver of the global tire market is the growing middle classes and the resulting increase in vehicle ownership in the emerging economies, particularly Asia. Growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the limited availability of natural resources to meet the demands of expanding numbers of consumers are forcing industry to meet government and market demands for more sustainable products like green tires.
As a result, tire makers are pressing forward with sustainable tire technologies, including use of renewable rubbers that perform equal or better than traditional rubber. Many tire makers have entered strategic partnerships with government, researchers and bio technologies companies to advance their efforts to develop renewable rubber on a commercial scale.
Government regulations and economic drivers
Drivers of adoption of green tires are regulatory with increasing pressure on vehicle makers to reduce vehicle emissions and meet rising fuel economy targets. This pressure is driving development of LLR tires and their growing OE market penetration. Growth of alternative vehicle powertrains (hybrid and electric), as well as the evolution to shared/fleet vehicle use, and autonomous vehicles are pushing green tire adoption with continued gains in rolling resistance reduction a requirement.
The replacement market for green tires has also grown through better consumer education and awareness provided by the European Union’s consumer tire labelling scheme that rates tire rolling resistance and other performance variables.
Key materials for green tires
Green tires are optimized to achieve the lowest possible rolling resistance by means of fillers such as highly dispersible silica (HD silica or HDS), improved carbon blacks or nanotechnology. HD silicas are playing an important role in green tire material consumption, but improvements in elastomers (e.g. functionalized) and fillers (carbon black) and other inputs such as oils and fabrics are also important.
Rising in tandem with green tire unit demand, raw materials consumption for green tires demand is estimated at over 17.8 million tons in 2018, growing to 29 million in 2023, according to Smithers Rapra’s “Future of Green Tires to 2023” market report. Elastomers, fillers and fabrics are the dominant categories by weight, and growth will be led by sustainable ones such as natural rubber and rayon fabric, with synthetic rubbers showing the least growth.
Green tire market materials consumption 2013-2023 by volume (‘000 tons)
Biobased rubber for greener tires
Biosourcing of synthetic rubbers and other ingredients, the expansion of natural rubber availability, and biological alternatives to natural rubber are key areas of attention too. In the area of biorubber, Cooper Tire and Rubber and its consortium partners, including Clemson University, Cornell University, PanAridus and the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, completed a five-year $6.9 million Biomass R&D Initiative (BRDI) grant called “Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule” in 2017.
The grant team studied the feasibility of using guayule in tires versus Hevea natural rubber and produced concept passenger car tires in which all natural and synthetic rubber was replaced by guayule-based natural rubber. Cooper says it could use guayule rubber in tire production tomorrow if enough material was available to meet its production needs at a competitive price.
The electric and autonomous vehicle market
Hybrid and electric vehicles are a natural market fit for green tires. Besides being naturally aligned, the requirements of these vehicles, such as high torque and acceleration, and the need for maximized energy efficiency to extend battery range, will increasingly place demands on tire makers. Drivers of these vehicles are also more likely to stay with LRR tires when replacing them, regardless of price.
Tire development for autonomous vehicles will be increasingly focused on reduced rolling resistance and high reliability. There will be closer attention paid to non-pneumatic and intelligent tire options that eliminate or manage tire pressure and reliability issues.
There are other aspects of the green tire market that make it attractive, as well as challenging. The availability and pricing of natural, synthetic and biosourced materials can be unpredictable, and it is not clear how quickly many of the greener technology options can progress from concepts and pilots to commercial scale.
All of the major tire companies are committed to green tires, although rates of market uptake vary depending on local regulations and preferences. The drive to reduce emissions, improve fuel efficiency and accommodate new transportation models is shared by governments and tire companies alike.
For more information from Smithers Rapra on the green tire market, visit https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/green-tires-to-2023.