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BKT’s Commitment to Research & Development Puts Industrial Product Range at Cutting-Edge of Industry

BKT Industrial Product

We have now made our way to Part 6 of the Commercial Tyre Business Industrial Tyres feature with the protagonist this time being the Indian off-highway tyre manufacturer, BKT Tires. Lucia Salmaso, CEO of BKT Europe dived into the company’s strategy for industrial tyres, whilst detailing the manufacturer’s plentiful range for the sector covering well-known products such as the SKIDMAX SR-SKIDDER and the LIFTMAX LM 63 to name but two.

Lucia Salmaso, CEO of BKT Europe Talks to Commercial Tyre Business

As with the other interviewees during this feature, one of the key topics that we wanted to discuss was that of the latest trends for the industrial tyre segment. Digitalisation, sustainability and electrisation of vehicles are mega trends that tyre manufacturers have to deal with on a daily basis, so is the story any different from the perspective of BKT Tires?

Salmaso said, “The biggest revolution of recent times is certainly the awareness that a tyre is not just an accessory. In fact, it is the very opposite.

“The type of operation and application, the equipment itself and a thousand other factors influence the choice of the model, the compounds, the sides, the pressure and the size of a tyre.”

According to Salmaso, the key challenge facing the manufacturer in the future from the point of view of designing their products will be guaranteeing improved performance “to the highest possible level” across all of the performance criteria that customers use when making their purchase decision. From stability to load to traction to safety and duration and comfort, all these criteria will provide challenging questions to the product development team at BKT as they continue to seek higher performance.


Additionally, Salmaso underlined that with operators spending an increased amount of time driving these vehicles, BKT will need to increasingly ensure that their products are using heat-resistant compounds. Salmaso expanded, “For this reason the BKT R&D centre is developing new compounds that are highly resistant to cutting and tearing, as well as ultra-heat compounds, that can transport heavy loads and at the same time maintain an excellent TKPH: i.e. the average ratio between the weight transported by the machine and the km/h.”

BKT’s Product Development in Line with Operator Requirements and Behaviours

Salmaso went on to discuss how operator activities and behaviours were shaping the development of BKT’s tyres, emphasising how operators are generally demanding durable, reliable and resistant products that can face any adverse condition and or challenging environment. Salmaso continued, “They (the operators) focus closely on the return from the investment, because a tyre really does make the difference in terms of the operations and performance of a company working in the industrial sector.

“It is the tyre which “translates” the power of the machinery to the ground, to draw out its qualities, to provide traction. It is no longer an isolated component, but part of the vehicle system.

“It is above all a question of duration: replacing a tyre due to damage or another problem requires not only new investment, but any vehicle downtime significantly impacts productivity. In any case, besides the needs of users in terms of productivity, there are other major issues that need to be considered such as safety and comfort.”


“This sector is constantly moving and evolving, and for a tyre manufacturer like BKT it is not just a challenge, but also a stimulus for continuous improvement,” Salmaso stated.

BKT’s Industrial Products in the Marketplace

Where has this focus for continuous improvement taken BKT Tires? What are the fruits of this strategy so far? Well, recently it has helped BKT Tires launch numerous products for the industrial sector in the shape of the SKID MAX SR-SKIDDER, the LIFTMAX LM 63 and LIFTMAX LM 81, the MAGLIFT ECO and MAGLIFT PREMIUM and finally the CONTAINER KING.

The first of these tyres that we will take a look at is the new all steel radial tyre the SKID MAX SR-SKIDDER which is available worldwide and is designed for use in heavy work environments and on hard surfaces. These qualities mean that the SKID MAX SR-SKIDDER is ideally suited for loaders and telehandlers operating in road maintenance work or in waste material deposits.

According to BKT, the robust casing of the product is equipped with an all streel structure with steel belts that deliver greater resistance on the casing as well as protecting it against punctures by foreign objects. The strength of the sidewall helps to minimise even further the risk of punctures and accidental damage, which will consequently reduce vehicle downtime. The SKID MAX SR-SKIDDER from BKT also comes with a guard that yet further shields the tyre from punctures that could damage the area around the rim.

Salmaso explained that the product offers a robust and wide tread that has a continuous central block that, when combined with the tread’s compound, which is anti-static and extremely resistant to abrasion, guarantees great comfort and stability. The SKID MAX SR-SKIDDER is currently available in the 260/70 R 16.5 (10 R 16.5) size.


Products recently rolled out by BKT include the LIFTMAX LM 63 and LIFTMAX LM 81. Starting with the 63 series, it was launched for tractors and logistics applications such as those encountered at ports and airports. In the words of Salmaso, “This new product is the perfect combination of some outstanding features: low rolling resistance, reduced vibrations, excellent stability and also a more comfortable drive. All this is possible thanks to the All-Steel casing equipped with multilayer steel belts.”

In addition, the tyre features good resistance to punctures and wear and tear whilst boasting a high level of productivity, which is due to the improvement in mileage and reduced fuel consumption that is offered by the tyre. Currently, the product is available in two different sizes: 6.00 R 9 and 8.25 R 15, however Salmaso confirmed to Commercial Tyre Business that work is well underway to develop new sizes and to expand the new range.

The 81 series of the LIFTMAX LM pair of products is a specific tyre that has been developed by BKT Tires for forklift trucks for the handling of empty containers. There are many of these making their way back and forth through our oceans, with CNBC reporting in January 2021 that 3 out of 4 containers were going back to China from the US empty. More recently Bloomberg reported that 360,000 containers were shipped from Los Angeles in May 2020, “almost double usual seasonal rates”. The LIFTMAX LM 81 may be the ideal product considering the issues being faced by the global shipping system. It is available in the latest sizes: 12.00 R 20, 12.00 R 24 and 14.00 R 24. “This range now includes 17 different tyres,” added Salmaso.

Meanwhile, the aptly named CONTAINER KING from BKT, a tyre specifically designed for reach stackers and use in intermodal transport and logistics applications and lifting heavy loads, has a new 18.00 – 33 size.

Returning to forklifts, the MAGLIFT ECO has been constructed with two layers of rubber compound and has a special shape along with very wide lugs to guarantee great stability and load distribution. The MAGLIFT ECO from BKT also features a rim guard, which has been designed to shield it from damage and dents. Its low rolling resistance and high resistance to overheating deliver maximum efficiency thanks to the added steel wires which were incorporated into the bead offering securing grip and preventing slippage.


The second of the MAGLIFT line is the MAGLIFT PREMIUM, a solid tyre which is another product that was launched recently for forklifts operating in tough port, mining or scrap yard applications. It is characterised by an extra deep tread that provides a longer life cycle, in addition to which the tread’s robust and aggressive nature enables operators to count on enhanced steering control and great forward and lateral traction. The central grooving of the tread also allows for low rolling resistance.

BKT Intending to Expand Presence Across all Markets

Salmaso explained that this plentiful and varied range has come about from BKT’s single and important strategy that is applied to all the markets where it is present: constantly and continuously expanding its portfolio. This strategy allows the manufacturer to be in a position to respond to all requirements in terms of compounds and sizes.

Salmaso detailed, “Each user has specific needs which are theirs alone, to which must be added the particular type of machinery, operating conditions, soil. The variables to supply the perfect tyre are numerous, and this is why the BKT range is very wide.”

This is supported by the fact that BKT’s range has over 2,700 tyres on the market in total, with more to come.

As for individual markets, BKT are not focusing on any particular territory or region at this moment in time, but according to Salmaso the company is looking to strengthen its presence everywhere. “BKT is already present in over 160 countries worldwide, and from this point of view the strategy is to enhance our presence everywhere, in parallel. Our focus is the whole world.”

Tyre Technology: Nanocompounds and Nanomaterials at the Front of BKT’s R&D Efforts

BKT’s reach is already global in terms of its commercial operations, but also in its marketing activities, which range from sponsoring 7 IPL Teams and the BBL in Australia in cricket to Serie BKTLa Liga and Ligue 2 BKT in football and to becoming a presenting partner in the World Men and Women’s Curling Championships. For the outsider looking in it would be tough to guess what the company’s goals would be given its enviable product range and marketing platform.


Lucia Salmaso though was clear and concise in stating that the Indian manufacturer’s focus is their commitment to “developing the tyre of tomorrow”. This can be identified by the group’s work into researching independent transport that is guided by sensors, on integration systems that have been enhanced for the tyres and for the equipment and the optimisation of data and analytical flows with the goal of increasing productivity. This according to Salmaso, “responds perfectly to the demand for management of fleets and work sites, sustainability, alternative mobility, electrification and safety.”

Besides the company’s commitment to “developing the tyre of tomorrow”, Salmaso commented on another BKT project that is taking up their focus, which is the creation of high performance “super compounds”. These “super compounds” are high performance compounds that make use of nanomaterials or nanocompounds, in which at least one of the dimensions is under 100 nanometers. This is with the goal of overcoming the limits of current performance.

Salmaso expanded on the key characteristic of nanocompounds, “As a typical characteristic, nanocompounds show significantly better properties than the original material, in particular better thermal and mechanical stability, which leads to improved performance.

“As for nanomaterials, the R&D center has undertaken a lot of research and experiments on graphene and its derivates. It has an incredibly long list of advantages and has amply demonstrated its capabilities in other fields.”


So, what happens when these materials and compounds are put to use in BKT’s manufacturing process? Salmaso painted the picture for us, “If applied to tyre manufacturing it confers incredible strength and great flexibility. Just think, that it is 200 times more resistant and 6 times more flexible than steel. It is considered the thinnest, strongest material in the world and with the greatest conductivity, both in terms of electricity and heat.

“It is proven that it significantly improves a series of mechanical properties, such as resistance to tearing and the toughness of the compound, making it a perfect material for industrial applications.”

With already a vast and diverse product range at BKT’s disposal with 2,700 products behind them, the development of further products making use of nanocompounds and nanomaterials to enhance their robustness will help BKT take confident strides into the future as their product range expands and improves further, especially in the industrial sector, which has always been a tough proving ground.

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