Bridgestone and Bandag Look Forward to Positive Retreading Future
Bridgestone belief in the commercial retread sector and continued investment in its range of products is beginning to reap rewards, with the market showing signs of an upturn in fortunes.
After the European Union applied duties to all Chinese imported tyres in May, the UK retread industry is now experiencing a strong uplift in demand, largely due to the legislation and partly due to the value for money that retread products represent.
Bridgestone’s North Region Truck & Bus Product Manager Terry Salter said that Bridgestone’s strategic decision to continue investing in retreading technology during a particularly lean period could now be fully vindicated, with a significant investment in equipment being brought into the company’s UK franchised Bandag network and factories.
He said: “Throughout the very difficult climate, Bridgestone has stayed fully committed to its retread proposition and franchised Bandag network of retread factories. Our retread products underline our commitment to the ‘Total Tyre Care’ range of services. Each truck tyre features retreading technology built-into the original tyre design, with the life of every tyre maximised through audits, reports and tyre care husbandry.”
Terry said that the response to the EU’s decision to apply duties to commercial Chinese imports had been immediate. On the subject he said, “There has been a direct and positive reaction amongst our network of Bandag dealers.”
He expanded by stating, “Four franchisees have already started recruiting additional staff to support an increase in production. Meanwhile, production at our Bulldog factory in Bourne is also being scaled up by 25 per cent to meet demand.”
The UK operation has benefited from a sustained aforementioned investment programme that has resulted in it becoming one of the most efficient in the industry, with new buffing, building and inspection equipment being ordered for installation in the last six weeks alone.
At Bridgestone’s Bulldog factory in Lincolnshire, a new tyre pressure chamber, shearography machine, 10 bar pressure tester and envelope spreader have all been purchased.
Meanwhile, the Bandag network has also been investing in its machinery, courtesy of extruder builder, pressure tester, buffer upgrade and nail hole detection machines. This is another example of Bridgestone investment has been seen in the introduction of the BASys casing and production control system.
The BASys system is the result of a global project with Bridgestone’s European, American and Japanese strategic business units collaborating jointly to upgrade a critical aspect of Total Tyre Care. It provides the ability to track a tyre from the point it is removed from service at the fleet, through the return of the tyre to the production facility, and then through each stage of the production process and finally the return of the transformed product back to service. BASys was installed at Bulldog in February 2017 and replaces a paper-based system and works off cloud-based technology and offers additional reporting benefits for commercial fleets.