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.
Sailun Tyre Talks Technology
The tyre industry never stands still and CTB talks to one of the fastest growing players - Sailun Tyres
Sailun Tyre Talks Technology with CTB
However, those in the business, whether trade journalists or tyre fitters, all know that tyres are critical equipment and are under constant development, with manufacturers always seeking to gain a performance advantage over their competitors.
Sailun Tyre is an expanding Chinese tyre manufacturer prepared to take on the major manufacturers in terms of technology to grow its market share worldwide.
Commercial Tyre Business asked Sailun’s Stephan Cimbal, director of marketing Europe, what he saw as the biggest trend in truck tyre development at the moment.
“The current trend is to drive efficiently,” said Cimbal. “Many tyre manufacturers are producing more and more profiles that are fuel-efficient. The aspect of environmental friendliness also plays a major role here. Vehicle manufacturers are trying more and more to bring e-vehicles onto the market. The German federal states are also following this example and will probably only use electric buses in regular service in Germany in 2025, for example in the cities. Our technology EcoPoint3 delivers to this demand.”
One question about development is, is this market-driven or manufacturer driven? Who is pushing for development? Is there a variation in demand between bus and truck fleets?
Cimbal responds; “The needs and wishes of customers are always different. Therefore, we try to find a good mix between all requirements and consistently deliver a tailor-made solution.
“Of course, our greatest ambition is to satisfy our customers. Nevertheless, we have to meet the requirements of the vehicle manufacturers. This is a big difference between trucks and buses as the load capacity, speed indexes and applications are very different. Our customers want not only the tyre but also the service behind it. With the right tools, we want to provide our customers with the best possible support and efficient solutions. Overall efficiency is also here one of the main assets.”
As Cimbal had already referred to the market move towards electric buses, Commercial Tyre Business asked if there was a differential between the truck and bus sectors in terms of demand and tyre specifications.
“Yes, there are differences in the design and manufacture of these tyres,” said Cimbal. “These include the weight per axle that weighs on the tyre, the wear of the tyre in operation, etc. And again, for e-trucks, efficiency is even more important than for ICE trucks.”
So, there is a reality that whilst there are specification differences, the really critical goal is efficiency, making that battery charge last longer through efficient running.
Information technology is now everywhere, from the bar code on the tin of beans you buy to every aspect of control of the technology we all use. The data available to everyone can be harnessed to give commerce and industry a better understanding of the product’s lifespan, and how it is used. In tyre terms, where is Sailun in relation to tyre connectivity and the digitalisation of its products? How does this help Sailun’s clients?
“We are currently working on a B2B platform for our customers,” informs Cimbal. “In the digital age, we want to provide our customers with as much information as possible and always be connected. Currently, we have provided a tool for the operations of our truck fleets, which should help our customers to operate their fleets even more efficiently if they want.”
Everything has a cost, and one presumes that there is a cost-benefit to Sailun in developing the latest state-of-the-art technology. Yet, all other things being equal, there still surely has to be a price differential between Sailun and its competitors.
Cimbal concludes; “It is simply mandatory to deliver the latest technologies and solutions to meet the demands of customers and stay relevant. Sailun's EcoPoint3 technology is the perfect example. It creates a product differential that influences the brand and our competitive advantage.”