Triangle wins Caterpillar platinum supplier award
Triangle Group, one of the largest tyre makers in China and arguably the largest producer of radial OTR tyres in the country, is celebrating winning a SQEP platinum supplier award from well-known off-road vehicle manufacturer Caterpillar.
CAT, as Caterpillar is often known, started the SQEP (Supplier Quality Excellence Program) into 2007 in order to select, evaluate and certify partners. Levels of recognition vary from bronze to platinum. In its augural year Triangle one the bronze award, followed by silver and gold trophies in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Triangle has been supplying the Caterpillar Group since 2004.
Writing in a statement announcing the news, Triangle representatives said: “The SQEP is very valuable certification that Triangle performance in all the fields of design, manufacturing, logistics, sales and quality have reached the highest level of excellence. SQEP certification has been achieved after hard work of the Triangle team improving all the processes starting from the designing till the logistics. We are proud to have become one of Caterpillar’s strategic suppliers. We are aware that this is a stimulus to further improve our current high standards.” The recently received CAT medals are now said to be on display at the Triangle plant in Wei Hai headquarter.
The performance of Triangle’s products, as demonstrated by the Caterpillar awards, has grown steadily in line with the increased production capacity at the company. Having begun radial OTR production in 2002 with the manufacture of a 23.5 R25 product line, the company added 17.5 R25 and 20.5 R25 sizes in 2003. By 2004 the company was producing 80,000 OTR units a year. Output grew 25 per cent between then and 2005, growing to 100,000 OTR tyres a year. In 2006 production totalled 120,000 units and the size range added 14.00 R25, 26.5 R26 and 29.5 R25 sizes to the line up. 2007 saw the raw grow to include 33 and 35-inch diameter sizes, with output now reaching 150,000 units. 2008 saw production capacity reach 200,000 OTR tyre units, before 49, 51 and 57-inch sizes were added to the line-up in 2009. According to the company, Triangle currently produces 200,000 radial OTR plus another 10,000 “jumbo radial OTR” tyres each year.
Triangle’s tyres are built using modern equipment and the company is keen to highlight that they are manufacturers using patented production equipment known as “Multi-Stage, Multi-Drum Tire Building System” (patent number: N200510044564.6).
As of 2009, roughly half of Triangle’s radial OTR tyre sales were distributed to North America and Africa (these regions represented 27 and 26.7% of total OTR exports each). The next largest market was the EU (15%), followed by Oceania (9%), the Middle East (10%), South America (5.8%), South East Asia (4%) and Russia (2.5%).
New European service division
In order to further support the expansion of the company’s OTR tyre business, Triangle representatives report that the company has been establishing a new service division in Europe during 2011. This follows the establishment of similar operations in South East Asia, Russia, Australia, South America and North America between 2008 and 2010. Southern African and Middle Eastern equivalents are scheduled for 2012 and 2013 respectively.
As far as product offering is concerned, Triangle now has a new TB599 tread design. Moulds for 36.00 R51 variants arrived in January 2010, with 37.00 R57 and 40.00 R57 moulds arriving the following April. 46/90 R57 moulds were delivered in June 2010. Now the company is said to be installing new curing presses in order to produce its latest products. Designs for a 55/80 R63 are said to have been completed by currently Triangle reports that is has “no plan to purchase mould yet.”
New Triangle manufacturing plant ‘already under construction’
In addition to these large numbers of OTR tyres, the company also produces 25 million units of passenger car and truck tyre products each year. Latterly, on top of this, the Triangle has announced that it is constructing a new “Triangle Industry Park” located inside the Weihai Industry Zone.
Building for this project is reportedly already underway. The site covers an area of 430 acres, leaving plenty of room for annual production capacity upon completion to reach 20 million units of UHP passenger car tyres, 5 million units of truck and bus tyres and 750,000 tons of rubber mixing. Altogether this is expected to generate “10 billion yuan in sales annually”.