Gomme Piave and SD Meccanica collaborate with a new development
Just recently Italian firm Gomme Piave, which specialises in the retreading of OTR tyres, celebrated its 50th anniversary. And despite the uncertainties the industry has faced during this time the company maintains its dedication towards innovation. “When retreading first emerged in the 1950s Italy developed into one of the leading countries in this sector, and this tradition remains strong to this day,“ shares Giomme Piave’s owner Augusto Favaro. “There is no other country in Europe that can boast having these specialised competencies to such an extent.”
The company was set up as a retreader of passenger car, truck, agricultural and earthmover tyres in 1960. In the early 1990s it decided to specialise within the niche OTR tyre market and based upon this decision invested in the necessary machinery and equipment. This gave Giomme Piave the ability to cover the entire range of sizes and profiles. Today the company is known throughout Europe as a specialist in this field and earns half its turnover in markets outside of Italy, the most important of which include the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Spain, Croatia and Slovakia. One of the company’s strengths is its wide product range; the portfolio even contains specialised items such as crane and harbour tyres and tyres for use in scrap yards and landfill applications.
Maintaining a competitive edge has involved ongoing further investments in technology. According to Favaro, the company today utilises technology that for many years was only available to only a minority of players, yet is now accessible to even smaller and medium-sized retreaders. “Machinery manufacturers increasingly align themselves to the requirements of new tyre manufacturers. However the retreading of OTR tyres depends upon the construction of equipment specifically designed for the realities of production,” Favaro adds. The owner of Gomme Piave – who comes from a family with a long tradition in building specialised machinery – continues by sharing that this necessity will continue to grow within the niche earthmover tyre market; utilising equipment intended for truck tyre retreading is not always appropriate for the retreading of OTR tyres.
To this end, Favaro himself had the idea of automating the sanding, abrading and repair of a tyre casing following its buffing in order to reduce labour costs and guarantee constant quality levels. To realise this idea Gomme Piave collaborated with specialists from Rovereto, Italy-based firm SD Mechannica. After producing initial prototypes, the company included this innovation in its product catalogue as an item suitable for the retreading of both truck and OTR tyres.
This new, highly-automated unit is called “Crater OTR” and is now – as would be expected – in operation at Gomme Piave in Treviso. This machine automatically recognises flaws and defects in the surface of a buffed tyre, grinds the offending area away and rebuilds it with new material. “The most difficult part of the development and construction of this machine was teaching it what kinds of damage it would encounter and how to deal with these, for example which tools and methods to employ,” Favaro shares.
SD Meccanica points out with pride that it has global patent rights for the “Crater OTR” and no other comparable machine exists on the market anywhere in the world. Companies lacking this new development must instead reckon with a labour intensive process; this of course leads to high labour costs associated with finding suitable workers for this job. “Product quality and the processes involved are today essential requirements for success,” Favaro continues. “These days quality means first and foremost to approach the business with the necessary determination and seriousness and never to lose sight of the customer.