With these products undergoing a lot of research and development, Khan highlighted Michelin’s approach to launching new retread products in the UK. Khan explained that the market will always have a natural gap when they bring out a new tyre, as that tyre is being used. Once that tyre has a worn tread, Michelin can then retread the tyre, although not always with the same casing. As the retread market is used heavily for drive axle and trailers, Michelin can produce a Remix X D or T from the casing, steer tyre or an off-road tyre in the same size. This will be undertaken via the certification process Michelin has in place, which includes x-ray imaging and shearography.
Following the mention of the topic of casings and considering Khan’s point that Michelin’s retreads are not always retreaded with the same casing, the focus turned to the age-old question of how manufacturer’s manage their casing supplies. Khan explained that Michelin works closely with end-user fleets and dealers, although with larger fleets, they have more control of the casings that are brought to Michelin’s site. For smaller, more independent fleets, the relationship helps dictate how Michelin deals with the fleet itself or the supplying dealer. “If demand for retreads exceeds the natural input of casings, we have developed trading relationships with key casing agents which we utilise to 'top up' our requirements,” Khan added, explaining how they can handle retreading on a huge scale.
More and More Fleets See the Benefits of a Sustainable Approach to Business, Argues Khan
With sustainability at the forefront of the issues facing the transport sector, the value of tyre retreading has only increased with leading manufacturers such as Michelin having to offer a robust retreading option to fleets such as Boughey Distribution, Abellio Bus and Rotala Bus to name but a few. Khan underlined this by noting that fleets are moving towards a more sustainable outfit, both in terms of environmental benefits and cost savings. As the focus on the circular economy grows in importance, “Fleets which previously ran on a new-only policy are talking to us about the benefits of retreads,” adding that “pretty much every customer is looking to us for advice on casing management, with retreads an intrinsic part of the conversation.”
To respond to the increasing trend towards sustainability, Michelin has invested UKP 25 million investment over the past decade in its Stoke-on-Trent factory to help the manufacturer become a major player in terms of technological innovation for its tyres.