BKT celebrates silver jubilee, introduces Bhuj site
Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Düsseldorf’s Schloss Eller, BKT celebrated its Silver Anniversary in style on the evening of 5 June. The Indian OTR tyre manufacturer, distributed in the UK by Kirkby Tyres and RH Claydon, numbers Europe “one of its strongest markets”; the company’s representatives say that nearly 50 per cent of its sales go into the continent. The company was publicising its new production plant in Bhuj, Gujarat in Western India, having invested $365 million in the new plant, partially self-financed. The company exemplified its green credentials introducing the plant by showing that part of its investment is devoted to a large green area and clean energy and water treatment plants are anticipated as additions to the current production plant and research and development centre.
BKT says it has brought the best available machinery to the site, made in the USA, Europe and Japan, making Bhuj a modern 300 acre site. In addition to the production plant of about 80 acres, the new industrial site has been made to anticipate a large warehouse and dedicated research & development area of about 15 acres. BKT describes this as “the pulsating core” of its commitment to develop innovative and cutting-edge products.
The Bhuj site will have a production capacity of 120,000 tons yearly at full operation in the first year, adding to the 180,000 planned on the three present sites. Bhuj’s production output will be 25 per cent of the installed capacity during the first 12 months; 75 per cent within 24 months, and reaching full capacity by March 2015. In a second stage, a further expansion of 80 thousand tons yearly is currently planned.
Dilip Vaidya, BKT president and director (technical) revealed that the facility includes indoor testing machinery such as a five metre test wheel and shearography equipment, while the outdoor tyre testing area includes a test track for the complete testing of both agricultural and industrial tyres. The site will help the company’s continuous planning efforts, and the study of polymers and new mixes. Once fully operational, more than four thousand people will work in the new Bhuj plant, including 3,500 workers, either specialized or under training, and 550 members of staff and management.
Bhuj represents the company’s conception of a “social factory”: within its boundaries, 20 acres have been used for constructing a housing colony for employees. The project includes a hospital for first aid, a fire brigade to serve the site and the surrounding community, a large recreation centre with free sports facilities dedicated to the employees and their families. In agreement with the local and the state’s educational institutions, the staff’s children living within the housing colony of Bhuj shall have access to a specially constructed school. Within the complex there BKT plans to have a guest house with modern amenities.
At BKT’s Reifen 2012 stand the company displayed the following tyres: Maglift (7.00-12), Agrimax Force (IF900/60 R42), Earthmax (29.5 R25 SR30), Ridemax (850/50 R30.5 FL693M), and Multimax (445/95 R25 MP543 and 495/70 R24 MP513). The company says it develops about 150 new sizes every year. The Maglift solid tyre, a new entry to the BKT product range, is the first tyre from the new production site. Agrimax Force is designed to carry heavy loads at low pressure. Earthmax, the show-piece for earthmoving applications, is designed for articulated dumpers and wheel loaders. Ridemax is designed for on-the-road usage. Finally, the MultiMax is an all-round tyre designed for manoeuvrability under any working conditions.
BKT saw its 25 year celebration as a rite of passage rather than a celebration of itself; its representatives said they wished to cultivate a festive atmosphere spirit and awareness of the strides to follow further. The company said that its global tyre market for off-the-road applications share was currently five per cent, but that it was forecasting, with steady annual growth rate, reaching 10 per cent by 2014. Its first goal is to reach turnover of $1.36 billion US$ by 2014; in the long term the expected sales figure will be $2 billion in 2020. BKT aims to achieve this through product, with products specially designed for the needs of each market; for instance the giant radial tyres (49” to 51”) for earthmovers, more specialist tyres for port handling and materials with all steel technology and for military usage. It also showed its recently modernised corporate identity to increase “the perception of a dynamic and stable company”.