The Greek island of Crete was the location for the recent tenth anniversary celebration of Earthmax, BKT’s OTR radial tyre range. Designed to favour enhanced load distribution on the ground for dumpers, wheel loaders, dozers, graders and other multi-purpose vehicles, Earthmax can claim to be a key achievement in BKT’s history.
The event, held from 5-7 June, and attended by BKT dealers and specialist press from around the world, was opened by BKT’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Arvind Poddar, who welcomed the audience and outlined the company’s core values, correlating them with the main features of the Earthmax tyres.
“Building and constructing the Palace of Knossos was a great achievement and advancement in ancient times,” he said. “Today we would call it a milestone. Similarly, engineering and building our first Earthmax tyre has been a great achievement and progress in modern times – a milestone in BKT’s history.”
Mr Poddar went on to compare some of the premium features of the Earthmax range with the company’s strategic choices made in the ten years since the range was launched and concluded by drawing reference to BKT’s status as a global player in the off-road market.
“Only big projects go hand in hand with big motives,” he said, “and big motives call for big strength. That is why the dimensions of our tyres are simply “big”. They remind us that nothing is given and easy, since every tyre is the result of tireless research, and a strong desire for improvement. It is also the result of a new challenge that has been taken up for the purpose of having the lead and keeping promises.”
Mr Poddar’s words were continued by BKT’s President and Director of Technology. Mr Dilip Vaidya, who outlined some of the significant investments made by BKT in recent years, and described some of the innovations and new technologies aimed at taking the company to the next level.
Of key importance in this is the company’s plans to enter the Giant OTR segment.
Says Vaidya: “After the development of the 27.00 R49 size in 3 different patterns, namely EARTHMAX SR 45 PLUS, SR 46 and SR 48, we had the opportunity to study the effects of tread design features on tyre performance taking into consideration heat development, heat dissipation, and wear characteristics. This knowledge will be applied for designing optimised tread patterns for 51” and 57” sizes, which are expected to be released in the second quarter 2019 and the second quarter 2020, respectively, thanks to significant investments into new tyre building machinery that is suitable for the sophisticated and complex processes of building Giants.
“The major challenge in Giant Tire Development compared to previous production is the high speed with extraordinarily heavy loads over long distances in addition to extreme lateral forces provoking mechanical stress on belt edges. Coping with these challenges we have reached a stage of advanced engineering, in which the analysis of the entire tyre structure and all features is essential.
For this purpose, tyre simulation by means of ABAQUS FEA - Finite Element Analysis - is applied to work on all tyre components including inner liner, belt, tread and beads, sidewall, carcass and bead fillers plus reinforcements.”
Vaidya went on to outline some of the investments in machinery carried out since OTR All Steel Radial production was moved from the company’s pilot plant in Chopanki to BKT’s state-of-the-art production plant in Bhuj enabling large-scale manufacturing.
For the purpose of improving compound uniformity, seven latest-generation 440 lt-HF mixers have been purchased, providing automated temperature control and enhanced rotation by means of synchronised technology. As a result, the entire compound mixing process is enhanced by optimal specific energy supply leading to ideal silanization.
Another essential purchase from a worldwide leading supplier in this field was a 4-roll calender for steel cord processing, which has enabled the company to calender higher-diameter cords for Giant tyres and which provides the possibility to control top and bottom calendering thickness for best adhesion and improved final quality.
Other significant investments include the purchase of a state-of the-art steel cord cutter and a new tyre building machine with three carcass drums.
BKT have also implemented a specific green tyre building process for Giant tyres to guarantee utmost material cohesion during the several deposition and turning up stages. The movement of packages is performed in such a way that perfect alignment is ensured by means of a transfer ring. Among other features, the machine also provides a specific lamination process for tread and cushion preparation resulting in high-precision tread profiles and improved uniformity.
In other areas Vaidya announced a Joint Research Agreement with KULTEVAT Inc., a leading US biotechnology company that is specialised in the cultivation and processing of TKS Dandelion as a renewable and sustainable alternative for natural rubber.
The agreement involves a first project stage with several sample deliveries for Lab Research by October 2018, whereas stage 2 of the project provides the supply of one metric ton of stabilised TKS Rubber by October 2019.
Last but not least, Vaidya also drew reference to some of the latest developments in terms of tools and support for the OTR sector. These include a tyre pressure monitoring system and SPOTECH, an innovative tool developed by BKT in-house to provide information about a dumper’s exact position as tracked by satellite. The system incorporates an “accelerometer” in the data logger, which is placed on a level part of the dump truck recording latitudinal, longitudinal and vertical motion and forces involved in addition to speed, cycle times, and other parameters.