Challenges in Developing OTR Tyres
The MasterCore range has faced various challenges during its development, with size and cost being at the forefront of these difficulties, according to Butcher.
“The size is the main challenge, for obvious reasons. Based on the costs during the development phase and then the various moulds, the sheer scale of the testing process alone is a challenge.”
On top of this, Butcher explained how advances in the machine park has put pressure on tyre manufacturers in the OTR business. He said, “Machine manufacturers put pressure on tyre manufacturers too, because they want bigger payloads and want to travel faster for longer. This is a challenge, and Bridgestone’s task is to create a product that transfers the load that they want.”
During our agricultural feature, we saw similar comments across the board from the tyre manufacturers in reference to developments in the machine park, with the sector constantly moving towards faster and heavier machines in efforts to continue to improve efficiency. This had resulted in tyre manufacturers generally shifting in the same direction with regards to their tyre developments. Improved loading capacities and vehicles that can travel for faster and longer in the mining sector will place tough demands on manufacturers such as Bridgestone as they look to deliver product ranges that match what the machine park is creating.
This was backed up by Butcher, “This is a challenge (larger payloads and faster vehicles), and Bridgestone’s task is to create a product that transfers the load that they want.”
With Bridgestone’s history in the tyre sector, as well as being one the companies at the cutting-edge of the industry along with their presence across all global markets, the Japanese manufacturer is well placed to face these demands.
Demands placed on the manufacturers follow the trends coming from the industry. Rob Cole, Key Account Manager, Off Road for Bridgestone touched once again on the machine park. He explained, “Again, a lot of the trends come from machine manufacturers. They will communicate what they want to achieve and we have the task of trying to satisfy their demands.
“We always have to factor in whether developing a certain tyre is going to be cost effective for us, by understanding how many we think we’ll sell around the world.”