Bridgestone, Bandag and Bulldog Enhance Retread Production and Range
Bridgestone UK’s success in the retread market has seen some significant milestones reached in 2010, along with major investments in equipment and integration with both the Bandag and Bulldog product lines (for further details of how this is panning out across Europe see this month’s Retreading Special supplement). In the UK the integration has resulted in advancements into new sectors, one of which is waste management. SITA UK is one of its contract gains with Bridgestone providing tyres to support SITA’s core business of providing a range of recycling and resource management services to business and local authorities throughout the UK. They collect recycling and general waste from 12 million residents and 40,000 businesses across the country via 300 facilities.
Supporting the ongoing development of Bridgestone’s retread offering has involved the purchase of the Twin Head Alpha Builder in March of this year. As a result of the purchase tyre production output has increased beyond expectations providing a reported 50 per cent improvement in hourly output against the previous machine. The equipment allows for increased capacity and quality of output. The machine means that it is capable of processing more sophisticated and tougher tread compounds.
David Gray, managing director Bulldog Remoulds, commented: “Both operators and management are pleased with its performance and the machine is running very efficiently. As a result of an industrial engineering exercise we have been able to exactly match work content within cycle to extrusion processing times thus giving us a balanced output that exactly meets management expectations and operator capability.”
Furthermore, Bridgestone UK had achieved record sales in June, which was quickly surpassed by July’s figures, a fantastic start to the summer months and evidence that the investment is proving to be a success.
Key to Bridgestone’s activities this year was ensuring that the Bridgestone and Bandag amalgamation process was completed successfully. This has been developed and completed not only in terms of strengthening of Bandag as a business and brand with the support of Bridgestone, but also developing the Bridgestone retread range and integrating this with the Bandag product line.
Major changes to the product line are to be announced in the last quarter of 2010 including, for the first time ever, a Bridgestone branded range of retreads are to be launched. This will replace the current Qualitread brand. This change will complement the successful Bandag pre-cure range and hot retread range which will be finalised in the second half of 2010. Bridgestone announced at the TIP-ex show in May of this year the launch of the L355, M840 and M748, which the company says was the start of Bridgestone launching one of the most comprehensive retread ranges in the market.
Roadways Container Logistics (RCL) is one example of how the unified retread and new tyre product range can be used together. RCL has used Bridgestone tyres since 2002, committing to a full partnership in 2005. RCL operate nationally with 270 trucks and 610 trailers within their fleet. The firm reports that the Bridgestone M729 retread has achieved significant mileage figures, on average 270 – 300,000 km per tyre. The partnership is also said to have enabled RCL to reduce its overall truck tyre costs to under 1.1p per mile. The tyres operate under a variety of conditions including urban, regional and national trunking.
In summary Bridgestone’s retread production is said to be going “very well” due to the fact that the combination of a new Bridgestone tyre packaged with a matching retread is becoming “increasingly common.” As a result both the company’s output and sales are said to be “well ahead of plans” and Bridgestone Bulldog’s Lincolnshire retread output has been increasing each year in line with the company’s plans.