Nokian Tyres seeks to gain traction in North America with new factory – Reuters

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HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish tire maker Nokian Tyres expects its new U.S. factory in Tennessee to help it double its sales in North America, especially by expanding its all-season tire sales in the region, the company said on Thursday. The company, which has previously concentrated mostly on winter tire sales in Russia and Europe, said the new facility would allow it to seek growth in the significantly larger all-season tire market in North America.

Read the source article at reuters.com

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

USTMA Urges Drivers to #KNOWYOURROLL This National Tire Safety Week: May 20-27

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WASHINGTON—May 20, 2019—The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) today announced the kick-off of National Tire Safety Week, an industry-led initiative to raise awareness and educate consumers about proper tire care and safety. This year’s theme and hashtag, #KnowYourRoll, will run through Memorial Day. …

This year’s National Tire Safety Week coincides with the announcement of the formation of the bipartisan Congressional Tire Caucus, co-chaired by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). The caucus was created to facilitate an exchange of ideas and information important to the U.S. tire manufacturing industry in the name of economic impact, sustainability, safety and future mobility.

“U.S. tire manufacturers continue to invest tremendous resources innovating tires so they are safer and more sustainable than just a decade ago,” said Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of USTMA. “National Tire Safety Week is a chance to highlight the importance of the drivers’ role in the safety equation through regular maintenance and simple tire pressure and wear checks. Just like fastening your seatbelt – an action that’s become synonymous with safety–proper tire care and maintenance also need to be top of mind when it comes to ensuring the safety of all motorists on the road.”

Read the source article at U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association

Pirelli consolidating operations in Brazil

MILAN — Pirelli C. & S.p.A. is planning to consolidate its operations in Brazil, with one possible plant closure in the offing and the commitment of $136 million in investments over the coming two years.

The “reorganization of production structure” would involve the transfer of motorcycle tire production to Pirelli’s plant in in Campinas, Sao Paulo — which currently manufactures car tires only — from its plant in Gravataí, Rio Grande do Sul, thus creating an industrial hub for car, moto and motorsport tires to serve the Latin American markets.

The move likely would result in the closing of the 43-year-old …

Read the source article at Tire Business

ARPM addresses health care insurance costs

INDIANAPOLIS—Health care insurance costs were at the top of the list of the most pressing issues for rubber products executives in 2019, according to the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers’ State of the Industry Report.

“This issue is not going to go away and is even a larger part of the issues related to workforce recruitment and retention for our industry,” ARPM Managing Director Letha Keslar, managing director for ARPM said in a news release.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Continental Increases Production at Pre-Cured Tread Plant

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Continental recently announced that it has increased production at its pre-cured tread manufacturing plant in Mount Vernon to meet high retread demand.

Due to its high-tech manufacturing process and retread sales growth, the plant has equipped itself to meet an expected 300 percent increase in production this year. To support the additional volume requirements, Continental hired a second shift of production employees in March.

Read the source article at Autosphere.ca

Michelin opens major warehouse in South Carolina

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Woodruff, South Carolina – Michelin North America Inc. has put into operation a 3 million-sq.-ft. distribution centre in Woodruff that the tire maker claims is capable of processing over 200,000 tires a day.

The $270 million, five-building complex, under construction since November 2016, is capable of warehousing up to 4 million tires, Michelin said.

Read the source article at European Rubber Journal

Yokohama revises expectations at US tire plant

Tokyo — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has scaled back production expectations for its US truck tire factory in West Point, Mississippi, due to a combination of facility- and personnel-related issues.

The $300 million (€270 million) plant, which opened in 2015 with a nameplate capacity of 1 million medium truck tires a year, was on track to produce only about half of that in 2018, Yokohama said in a stock exchange filing in late 2018.

Read the source article at European Rubber Journal

Continental expanding South Carolina tire plant again

SUMTER, S.C.—Continental Tire the Americas broke ground on a new expansion at its growing Sumter facility to bring new technology to its North American tire production.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Manufacturing 4.0 brings opportunities, challenges for automotive suppliers

OVI, Mich.—As manufacturers move toward a more automated future, there are plenty of questions to work through, and a plethora of opportunities for those that can.

Automation, machine learning and what to do with all the data produced were some of the issues addressed by a panel of industry experts at the Plastics and Rubber in Automotive conference, held recently in Novi. The end goal for many companies is to create smart equipment, machines that can self-diagnose, self-correct and communicate.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News