Tyre management and the looming shortage of mining tyres

first_imgAhead of the March issue’s major article on tyre and haul road management comes news that Duratread has joined forces with UK company Translogik, to launch the state-of-the art OTR iTrackAsset Management System in Latin America. Translogik says Duratread will provide “rapid, high quality technical and after-sales support to end-users.” Many Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are covered in the magazine article.The OTR iTrack TPMS monitors and transmits live, uninterrupted real time data about individual tyre pressures and temperatures as well as vital vehicle information such as speed, acceleration, braking and route travelled. Tests conducted since the Spring of 2010 on 400 t trucks have already proven the durability of the system in large mining operations.The OTR iTrack TPMS is fitted on site by trained engineers who install transmitters, antennae, and an in cab display linked to the GPS/GSM network. This technology uses GPS instead of fixed perimeter transmitters and continual live data is transmitted at the dispatch, in the cab, on the internet, in a dedicated client area and even to data enabled mobile phones.The benefit to fleet owners is that they get immediate, uninterrupted information in real time on their computer or mobile phone which means they can act quickly and efficiently to maximise tyre performance, reduce vehicle downtime and increase safety for the vehicle and driver.Laurence Turnbull, Managing Director of Duratread commented. “We had been looking for a system to monitor tyre performance that would give added value to our clients regardless of whether or not they were using Duratread tyres on their fleet.For our regular contracted clients, we ensure Duratread tyres are fully pre-enabled with sensor and RFID technology when they arrive from the factory, so it really is a ‘plug and play’ system as far as the Duratread tyre operator is concerned. But as we are increasingly becoming consultants on tyre performance optimisation, because our system is not linked to the purchase of tyres, we are able to assist fleets or their tyre service companies install the OTR iTrack and get the same benefits. We believe that our methodology makes the product more financially viable, technically more robust and is applicable for smaller and independent operators as well as larger companies”.Graham Storey, CEO of Translogik commented. “We are delighted to be working with Duratread in bringing the iTrack OTR TPMS system to Latin America. As an independent tyre specialist, Duratread are able to take their pick of the systems currently available and select best-of-breed solutions. Having Duratread align themselves to iTrack reinforces our belief that Translogik offer the most compelling OTR asset management solution on the market today.”In a market where tyre prices are rapidly increasing and demand is already exceeding supply, the OTR iTrack Asset Management system will allow companies to make tyres last longer and get a better return on their tyre investment.Gary Nash, Vice President of Yokohama’s OTR department reported in early December 2010 that the market is booming again. He says “the off-road market historically has seen five years of growth and then three to four years decline. In the past, it has been impossible for major manufacturers to increase their production because of the instability of the market. It doesn’t allow them to build new factories, for example, because the recovery for OTR products has never been great and the investment is quite heavy.“Starting in 2006 and into 2008, tyre manufacturers started investing again in new OTR manufacturing facilities. Bridgestone spent a fortune, as did Michelin and Goodyear. Yokohama spent a lot of money on a new radial factory that produces X-Large Bias tyres, and then on another one as part of a joint venture with a major corporation involved in gold mining.“During this strong period, manufacturers finally went out and increased their production. Unfortunately in 2009, the economy just stopped. The OTR market went down 38%. A lot of people were caught with heavy inventories of merchandise they couldn’t move. There weren’t a lot of tyres bought in 2009. People even went so far as to cannibalise their equipment, taking tyres off machines that were parked and putting them on machines that were operating.“Manufacturers and dealers were caught with big inventories, but they worked out from under it. They moved the tyres and placed them on machines. Warehouses started to thin out, and in 2010, the market suddenly turned around to a boom period again. The OTR business has gone up as much as 28% in 2010.“Guess what? Now the industry is once again faced with a short supply. Now we’re seeing the demand is greater than ever.”He explains that Brazil, India, Russia and China are “driving the economy today for the mining industry.” All OTR manufacturers are exporting tyres in great number to these countries.“Some markets are strong, like gold. Another market that’s been fair has been underground mining, such as coal.”“2011 is going to be quite good because we’re introducing some new products, including more radial tyres. That’s definitely going to help us because the market demand is 70% radial and 30% bias. Yokohama, on the other hand, is about 30% radial and 70% bias. We can actually take some radial market share by introducing new products. We’re going to maintain the bias business, but we’re also going to grow the radial segment.“Everyone will still have to be cautious when they forecast for 2011 because the supply’s still critical. If you can’t get the merchandise, you can’t set a heavy forecast. We’re budgeting with caution and anticipating the cost of raw materials is going to go up due to the problems in Indonesia and other countries furnishing raw rubber. The prices will escalate based on the cost of raw materials going up. I can’t see much of an improvement as far as recovery coming from the ability to sell the product higher. I see the pricing increase only taking care of raw material costs.”Besides the BRIC countries, he noted other countries are buying OTR tyres now. “The US market is very strong in the large, extra-large and all OTR tyre types right now. The market in Mexico is very strong too, Canada is starting to grow.”last_img

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