The sale of Pirelli’s tyre steelcord activities at three sites was finalised on 18 December. Bekaert is now the official owner of the Figline facility in Italy, the Slatina plant in Romania and the operation in Sumaré, Brazil, however it still awaits local regulatory approvals for the transfer of Pirelli’s steelcord facilities in Izmit, Turkey and Yanzhou, China. It is expected that these approvals could be obtained in the first quarter of 2015, however the companies can give no assurance that this timeframe will be met.
At the end of October 2014, Robin Shaw took over as the managing director of Bridgestone’s North Europe region, which includes the UK as well as the Nordic markets. Shaw replaced John McNaught who had been with the company for 12 years. He joined at a time when reorganisation is taking place within the wider European business and when a number of key UK and North region managers have either retired or gone off to pastures new. Tyres & Accessories caught up with Robin Shaw as he was en route to Brussels for one of many meetings he has had with European executives during the beginning of his tenure.
A dozen tyre manufacturers in India have agreed to acquire domestically-sourced natural rubber at a price 25 per cent above that set in Bangkok. This arrangement was decided upon at a meeting on 18 December in the city of Thiruvananthapuram with Oommen Chandy, chief minister of India’s Kerala state. It was agreed that India’s Rubber Board will calculate the going price for rubber each day; this will be based on the international, Bangkok price, with an additional 20 per cent customs duty and five per cent purchase tax added to the international price. The chief minister’s office reports that the new pricing takes effect today and is valid until the end of March 2015.
Marangoni Retreading Systems Deutschland GmbH is congratulating Reifen Müller from Hammelburg for making its millionth tyre, a Ringtread Blackline retread. In peak season, Reifen Müller’s Hammelburg factory turns out around 350 tyres a day. With Ringtread technology, the plant can produce 200 retreads in each 8 hour shift. The high level of automation offers high productivity, savings in labour and faster processing times. The RB 3000 is a completely automatic machine, in which the cushion gum is applied directly onto the casing.
2015 represents the first full year of both mandatory TPMS on new vehicles and system functionality tests as part of MOT tests at the aftermarket end of the spectrum. And according to those in the TPMS sector, this new legislation has brought new confidence to the TPMS market. Tyresure reports that most multisite UK operations now boast some knowledge of this new technology. Many tyre bays are turning their attention to the sales opportunities that servicing TPMS sensors brings.
At its 2014 international conference and annual meeting in Manila in late November, the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB) elected Dr. James Jacob, director of research at the Rubber Research Institute of India (the research department operated by India’s Rubber Board), its chairman for a two-year period. Dr. Jacob has been IRRDB vice-chairman for the past five years, and previously served as liaison officer of the IRRDB’s Physiology Specialist Group.
Tire Industry Association has promised to fight a proposal by the US Rubber Manufacturers Association to reinstate a mandatory tyre registration programme, US journal Tire Review reports. During a panel on tyre registration and recalls at the Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety Symposium held by the National Transportation Safety Board, the RMA cited low registration rates of tyres sold by independent retailers as the reason behind the proposal. RMA reported that overall fewer than 20 per cent of all tyres are registered.