Ewan has been editor of Retreading Business since 2006 and of Tyre & Rubber Recycling since the magazine was founded. During this period he has become an expert on the global tyre recycling sector. He has many years' experience as an automotive journalist including a period at Tyres & Accessories.
Prometeon Tyre Group Takes a Wide View of Sustainability
In 2017 Aeolus Tyres and Pirelli Industrial joined forces and created an important new player in the tyre market: Prometeon Tyre Group Co., Ltd. As the distributor of Pirelli and Aeolus tyres in Europe, Prometeon has its role to play in developing products and tools to meet the demands of sustainability and the circular economy.
Prometeon Talk Sustainability in the TBR Sector
Asked about the group’s sustainable offer to fleets, Gary Lane, Fleet Development Engineer at Prometeon told Commercial Tyre Business explained; “We are producing the H02 Profuel, a low–rolling resistance tyre, which should be available from 2023.
“It is designed to provide maximum efficiency in terms of fuel consumption on long hauls, while also providing excellent road holding performance and short braking distances on both dry and wet surfaces, even in winter conditions.
“Based on calculations made with VECTO, an articulated truck equipped with 385/55 R 22.5 H02 PROFUEL Steer and 315/70 R 22.5 H02 PROFUEL Drive on the tractor, and 385/55 R 22.5 on the semi-trailer consumes 1.4 litres less fuel per 100km than a vehicle equipped with the previous product line. For a fleet of 150 trucks each travelling 130,000km a year, this means 702 fewer tonnes of CO2 are emitted and fuel savings of €465,000 per year achieved (based on the average diesel price of € 1.7/l).”
From this, it can be seen that Prometeon is basing its sustainability drive on ever increased performance from its tyres.
“In addition to the materials and technological components common to all 02 Series products, H02 PROFUEL 70 series is equipped with LEDB (Low Energy Dissipation Belts), the innovative configuration of the belt pack designed to optimise the weight of the tyre and contain energy loss (and heat generation), promoting low rolling resistance and, consequently, the reduction of fuel consumption,” added Lane.
“The H02 PROFUEL Steer features an SSRP (Step Shoulder Rib Profile): a new shoulder profile of the tread that allows the correct distribution of footprint contact pressure, therefore promoting even wear and mileage.”
As with all leading tyre manufacturers, retreading is part of the strategy to ensure lower cpkm. Lane told Commercial Tyre Business that retreading is an integral part of the strategy and an element in the company’s efforts to minimise waste.
“Retreading is very important; it saves money, and we’re helping the planet by not disposing of tyres in landfill and by recycling as much of the tyre as possible. The carcass of our tyres gets reused,” highlights Lane.
“Vaculug is our retread partner; they have the licence to produce our Prometec retread tyre. End-of-life tyres are collected from the customer’s or service partner’s location and then inspected for retreading suitability. Tyres that are unfit for retreading, and any rubber waste generated by the retreading process, are then collected for granulating. The granulation process reclaims all of the steel from the worn casing, and the granulated rubber is formed into crumbs.
“In 2019, Vaculug recycled 5,200 tonnes of tyres and produced 4,264 tonnes of rubber crumb to be used in sports surfaces and children’s playgrounds, as well as 926 tonnes of recycled steel.
“Retreading is also important because you can use retread tyres on different applications, such as on a skip wagon or construction vehicle, which are more likely to experience wear and tear. So, for example, if a standard tyre was £400 and a haulier chose instead to put a remould on which is half the price, it is less of a risk, and less of a cost, if the tyres get trashed doing their day job,” summarises Lane.
Prometeon then considers retreading not just as part of its cost savings offer for the fleet operator but also as an element in its approach to recycling. However, retreading, whilst it certainly contributes to circularity and sustainability, is ultimately delaying the entry of the casing into the waste stream.
Recycled materials are one route ahead for sustainability in the tyre industry. Lane told Commercial Tyre Business that; “Prometeon continues to work on extending its approach to sustainability to all corporate processes, from governance to financial, environmental, and social areas.
“A programme of second party audits along the supply chain via third party partner companies has been put in place. The audit inspections on raw material supplies (natural rubber, carbon black, chemicals etc.) are carried out on an annual basis and ensure compliance with the company’s established standards, mitigating risks linked to outsourced activities.
“Using this tool, Prometeon checks the conformity of its products and services by monitoring and assessing the performance of its suppliers. The goal is to assess their level of sustainability and compliance along the entire supply chain by evaluating the policies and procedures which enable these suppliers to undertake responsible and sustainable procurement.
“Prometeon shares international concern regarding the conflict in DR Congo and neighbouring countries and, in 2021, reinforced its procedures and applied a Conflict Minerals and Cobalt Sourcing Policy. Prometeon is committed to protecting and respecting human rights and ensuring no minerals or cobalt sourced from conflict zones are used in its products.
“In order to extend its due diligence in this area, Prometeon is carrying out rigorous audits on its cobalt and mineral suppliers, the results of which will be published in the 2022 Sustainability Report.”
Prometeon has also entered into a partnership with Sustainalytics, an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ratings agency. Sustainalytics has been appointed to evaluate the Prometeon Tyre Group to understand and improve its actions with regard to sustainability principles throughout the entire value chain.
Roberto Righi, General Manager of Prometeon Tyre Group, explained; “Over the coming years, we will be focusing on balancing technological development and sustainability, underlining our respect for both the environment and for all the communities and people with whom the company works on a day-to-day basis. With the initiatives set in motion since 2021, PTG is ready to continue its sustainable growth journey.”
Prometeon Tyre Group's 2021 Sustainability Report is available at Prometeon.com. The Prometeon Sustainability Report is wide-ranging and, at this point in time, reflects on the Group’s more comprehensive view of sustainability than simply using recycled materials. Everything the company does is framed by sustainability criteria, from energy use to staff welfare. The future will hold greater inclusion of recycled materials as the technologies and the materials available become increasingly acceptable for use in tyre manufacturing.