Rösler Group to be a “Total EM Tyre Management System Provider”
The path of development follows a natural course and is absolutely logical: First the Rösler group covered all facets of earthmover tyre retreading, then entered the original equipment market with the “Winstone” brand of new tyres – and now the company has taken the final step in regard to its range of products and services for mine and opencast pit end users. The company is already on target on its “way to being a Total EM Tyre Management System Provider,” says Klaus Mühlbäck, international business Vice President for ‘Rösler Tyre Innovators’; a company title that made its debut several months ago at the Essen tyre show.
Approximately 200 people currently work for the group and it enjoys a turnover in excess of 40 million Euros. The sole shareholder is the Rösler family; the twins Paul and Martin Rösler serve as the company’s Managing Directors. The group possesses three active subsidiaries, Rodos, Schelkmann and Zeus. In the future Rösler 360°, a total earthmover tyre service, will be added to this list. Also in operation at the company’s headquarters in Dortmund, Germany are pre-cured and hot process retreading facilities, and Rösler has established a wealth of very specialised engineering knowledge. With this knowledge it can offer licensors extensive technical assistance for its SPR system (Schelkmann Precured Retreads) pre-cured retreading, right up to the handover stage of a turnkey facility.
Rodos is the group’s foundation stone, established and built up by entrepreneur Paul Rösler senior and still responsible for the hot vulcanised retreading business unit. Schelkmann – named after the man who developed the pre-cured retreading procedure and whose company was overtaken by Rösler some twenty years ago – is more than “just” an important retreader of earthmover tyres, as the company also markets the SPR process worldwide and sets up license partners not only with the materials for retreading, but also with the equipment for the total manufacturing process. Finally, Zeus covers the area of tyre filling and flat proofing technologies for heavy tyres.
That the Schelkmann business unit is of special importance to Mühlbäck can be clearly discerned when he reports on this undoubtedly most dynamic part of the group. Six SPR facilities are already in operation, to the customer’s complete satisfaction. There is, of course, the company’s model plant at its headquarters, one plant in Indonesia (“With which the cooperation is very intensive”, reports Mühlbäck) as well as one each in Uzbekistan, Australia, the Czech Republic and with OTR Tyres Ltd in the UK. Construction of a seventh facility, at “Kazakhmjs” in Kazakhstan, is underway; the hall already is built and the equipment will arrive this year for installation in a second phase, in the first quarter of 2009. In the second quarter of 2009 at the latest, “Kazakmjs” will produce its first SPR tyres; the programme covers 25 to 57 inch sizes. Another licence agreement is already undersigned, but the whole project is at such an early stage that no details can be mentioned.
As 63 inch tyres are at present a frequently discussed topic (in addition to Michelin and Bridgestone, Titan Tire also produces this size), the Rösler Group is also considering the production of these giant tyres. In spite of some definite handling difficulties this technology could be realised by the Röslers, but for a “return on investment” the time is not yet ripe. The worldwide coverage of machines using this kind of tyres has not yet reached a critical mass. However, Mühlbäck concedes frankly that there is a tendency towards ever bigger wheels on ever larger vehicles, such as those that can be seen on the Canadian oil sands. As long as the largest existing water autoclaves on the market have an inner diameter of only 4,000 millimetres, there will be no retreading of 63 inch tyres. It must also be added that the refitting of an existing retreading plant to accommodate these huge tyre dimensions appears virtually impossible, as totally new construction would be necessary.
In becoming an EM tyre system provider that covers total tyre management, understands vehicle usage intimately and is able to recommend the right tread pattern as well as can guarantee the correct air pressure, a second superordinate company objective also comes under the spotlight: In former times the Rösler group repeatedly made clear that it wants to import actively product from low cost tyre suppliers, particularly those in China, but also more recently from India. Thus the company has introduced a new tyre of a quality intended to establish it in the premium segment.
For this new “Winstone” tyre brand, the Rösler group buys carcasses from a European new tyre company and fits these new carcasses with tread compounds produced by two leading European brands. Winstone radial tyres are available in 25 inch sizes with tread patterns for all imaginable uses, and the brand has already received original equipment acceptance from one vehicle manufacturer. Thus a Winstone tyre differs from a Rodos tyre by its carcass, which for a hot retreaded Rodos has already been used and might have repaired, and by the specification of the tread rubber compound.
It has become well known in recent years that – especially in the larger dimensions – earthmover tyres are a rare commodity worldwide. Reports that vehicle producers sometimes sell their huge earthmovers without tyres and customers have to search for their own tyre souces are not just idle rumours. And Mühlbäck is deeply convinced that a pre-cured Schelkmann tyre has, in comparison to a new tyre, the same performance. But when asking him about the supply of retreaded tyres for original equipment, he moans: “A lot of convincing is still required.”
And this convincing would be best done through practical testing. If the vehicle manufacturer cannot be convinced directly, potentially an end user can achieve this. At present Rösler has two projects: In Indonesia SPR tyres in the sizes 27.00 R49 and 33.00 R51 have already had 2,500 to 3,000 hours in use (at the time of writing this article in mid-August), and from the original tread depth of 50 millimetres, 35 millimetres still remain. Even more impressive, we learn, are the results of a second test in an Canadian smelter under extreme operating conditions, which – in the words of Mühlbäck – has the potential to become a new world record: After 2,200 hours in use there are, from the original depth of 88 millimetres, still 75 millimetres remaining! Whoever can produce such results need not struggle to convince end users that they offer the right product for the right application. This is all-round tyre management. Rösler presented this range at the “Heavy Duty Equipment Tyre Conference” in Brisbane, Australia, some months ago. Conference delegates – experts in mining and also in tyres – know what “Rösler 360°” is.