Konstrukta Celebrates 15 Years in Tyre Machinery Manufacturing
The Konstrukta Group has recently restructured organisationally from being one entity into five separate divisions in fields as diverse as explosives, mechanisation and automation, rubber and tyre manufacturing machinery and economics. Based in Trencin, Slovak Republic, the company has invested 1.6 million US dollars in the upgrading and development of its R&D centre for rubber technology. “The current pattern of consistent growth within rubber related industries demanded that we give ourselves every opportunity to make sure we were in a position to increase our market share,” said Jan Dugacek, managing director of the tyre machinery division.
The tyre division provides research, development, production and supplies of technological equipment for the tyre industry – extrusion lines for inner liner production, steel cord and textile cord cutting lines, auxiliary equipment and spare parts. The extrusion lines are designed for production of tyre components including treads and sidewalls for the manufacture of car, light truck, truck, bus agricultural and OTR tyres.
The main focus for the R&D centre is the development and examination of new functional components for extrusion devices and lines by means of simulation. A major project has seen the introduction of a 120mm diameter, fully computerised and automatic extrusion testing machine, equipped with special, additional sensors which allow detailed monitoring throughout the extrusion process. There is also a mounted feeding conveyor, temperature control units, a shrinkage conveyor and several other unique accessories. Engineers are able to divide the extrusion process into separate procedures in order to understand how the influences of individual parameters affect the process as a whole. In so doing, the quality of the output can be fully evaluated. The resultant knowledge gained allows the engineers to make changes in the construction of functional components, technological modes and complete machines. Consequently, the information gained has enabled the company to become highly effective at machine construction in the important areas of drive aggregate dimensioning, as well as resistance construction.
“Although our customer base is international, we need to increase our sales awareness within the expanding markets in China, India, Russia, Eastern Europe and South America,” continued Dugacek. “We are certainly very competitive in terms of quality of product, price and after sales service and the ongoing investment programmes will give us the opportunity to pioneer new innovations in tyre and rubber manufacturing.” The new R&D centre has a dual role; not only is it used to test original commodities and to improve existing products, but also to demonstrate to clients how to use equipment. Customers can visit the centre to consult with the engineers on new technology concepts and to solve any individual problems they may have with existing machinery. “While we tend to focus mainly on extrusion in order to develop and test extruders for the ever-increasing range of compound mixtures, including synthetic rubber, that are required by the manufacturer, we also plan to continue to develop new products such as cooling machines, shrinking conveyors and cutters. The refurbishment of our R&D centre will undoubtedly give us the technological advantage to enable us to accelerate our marketing and sales strategy.”
The centre was officially opened at a special ceremony in September and was attended by customers and invited guests from all over the world. In his welcoming address, board member Jozef Santa made reference to the fact that Konstrukta Industry was this year celebrating its 55th anniversary. He went on to say, “The development and production of tyre machinery has greatly assisted the growth in the modern history of the company and helped to gain a substantial number of international customers. Tyre production technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, hence the important role that our new R&D centre will play in supporting our innovations and research activities, which will ultimately benefit all our customers.”
The main strategy of the company leading up to 2009 has been focused on marketing development, improving human resources and enhancing customer service. Vladimir Ulicky, commercial director of the tyre machinery division, told T&A, “in recent years customers have, quite naturally, become more demanding, insisting on exceptional quality and technologically superior products as well as reasonable pricing structures. We now have a strategy in place to meet those demands, which augurs well for our long-term future. This is supported by Konstrukta’s achievements in foreign markets, showing that the company is heading in the right direction.
“Cooperation with our Slovakian neighbour, Continental Matador has manifested itself in the development of a number of new products. As we are not direct competitors there is plenty of scope for technology advancement in many areas of tyre production. The company also has an agreement with MESNAC in China relating to the production of Konstrukta tyre manufacturing machinery specifically for the Chinese market.”
Following the opening various company representatives and significant customers from around the world spoke of the considerable advantages to be gained by doing business with Konstrukta. An example of this was Mr Jozef Rucek, managing director of Ukranian company Dneprosina, who highlighted some remarkable prototype technical modifications undertaken by Konstrukta in extrusion and cutting machinery, enabling production of a wide array of sidewalls and treads for a whole range of radial tyre production. Mr Jan Jelcic, production director and executive manager at Continental Matador, spoke of how co-operation with Konstrukta had resulted in the development and introduction of ‘apex’ automation overcoming the problems of labour intensive, low production and health and safety risks that had previously existed in the factory. The high level of machinery quality and reliability had maximised production time and concentrated the workload of operators into a defined area. “A recent concept has seen the introduction of a new ‘apex’ cooling system,” continued Jelcic. “This has reduced production time by an average of 15 per cent over traditional cooling methods. So far Konstrukta Industry has installed nine of these new cooling machines with a further five to be in place by the end of this year.”
Konstrukta’s ambitions are not restricted solely to technical enhancement, as commercial success is absolutely paramount. Jan Dugacek aspires to compete on a level with the biggest names in tyre and rubber machinery manufacturing, using the advancement in R&D to gain the initiative over the competition. The company has targeted a turnover of around 50 million US dollars for 2008, which represents an increase of more than 20 per cent over the previous year.