Continental relaunched the Bandvulc retreading plant it acquired in 2016 as the ContiLifeCycle plant in March. Based on what Conti EMEA’s head of commercial consumer solutions Ralf Benack described as the existing “deep knowledge” of Bandvulc, the facility in Ivybridge, Devon has become a technical innovation hub for the company’s tyre retreading programme in the region. When Tyres & Accessories visited the plant later in the year, the manufacturer revealed the results of strong annual investments and its innovative implementation of automated processes for increased efficiency, and the key role that reatreading plays in Conti’s overall sustainability strategy.
Continental Tyres and its retread brand Bandvulc are partnering with EcoDriven to support the environmental product promoter’s UK-wide Sustainability Showcase tour in 2024. The year-long programme championing sustainable solutions aims to the public to consider their environmental impact. The message will be delivered from a classic double-decker bus retrofitted with sustainable materials to demonstrate their effectiveness throughout its journey. Continental will supply its Bandvulc Citymaster 5 bus tyres and ContiPressureCheck TPMS system, both products that demonstrate its focus on sustainability. The tyre manufacturer and technology supplier wants to be ‘the most environmentally progressive tyre company’ with retreads, tyre maintenance and waste recycling all part of its strategy.
Bandvulc has launched a new tyre for bus and coach operators. Introducing Citymaster 5, the Continental-owned retreader states that the tyre “majors on delivering exceptional reliability, durability and safety for operators of passenger carrying vehicles.”
Bandvulc’s Ivybridge retreading plant is now a Continental LifeCycle facility. While continuing to design, engineer and manufacture Bandvulc-branded retread tyres, the site will align more closely with Continental’s existing LifeCycle plant in Stöcken, Germany. Bandvulc stresses that the plant’s new LifeCycle status won’t impact upon job security for its workforce, confirming that there are “no redundancies taking place as a result of the Continental rebranding.”
Bandvulc has invested in the installation of an Automated Build Cell (ABC) Robot at the Ivybridge plant. Head of Hot Retread Production at Bandvulc, Tony Mailling, explained how the upgrade has increased efficiency:
With more than 50 years of experience of retreading in the UK, Devon-based Bandvulc is well-known in the truck tyre and retread sectors. Over the years the company has established a reputation for producing top-quality retreads. Now, the Bandvulc says it is aiming to set the standard for retreading.
From the initial design and development work to casing recycling and tread application on the factory floor, Bandvulc implements measures designed to ensure its tyres perform across a range of applications. This is supported by the ongoing knowledge and expertise sharing partnership between Bandvulc and its parent company, Continental Tyres. Tony Mailling, Bandvulc Operations Director, explained the steps taken by the team at the Ivybridge factory to deliver the quality it does, beginning how they benchmark tyre quality:
The importance of retreading as part of the circular economy is well-known in 2021. But when Devon-based Bandvulc started reusing rubber to make retread tyres back in 1971, sustainability was neither part of our everyday vocabulary, nor a standard manufacturing practice. 50 years on from its humble beginnings retreading just 30 tyres a week purely for local use, Bandvulc has grown to become the UK’s foremost tyre retreader, producing one premium quality retread tyre every three minutes to serve commercial vehicle customers across the country. To mark its half-century in operation, and five years on from Bandvulc’s acquisition by Continental Tyres in 2016, Tyres & Accessories looks back on the company’s history of pioneering retread technology, prolonging the lifespan of tyres, reducing waste ending up in landfill, and contributing to lower carbon emissions in tyre production, driving sustainability as it moves into its 51st year.
The latest tyre in the Bandvulc Wastemaster range is ready for launch following extensive testing and field trials. Bandvulc developed, tested and produced this fifth-generation product at its Ivybridge factory. The Wastemaster 5 will replace the Wastemaster III, a proven product in the waste sector that has been around for more than 20 years.
Bandvulc has unveiled a new website, which has been created as a mobile-first tyre information portal, providing technicians with easy to view detailed, technical information about each Bandvulc retread tyre whilst giving customers an overview of tyres by application type, to aid tyre choice.
Bandvulc has launched a new 295/80R22.5 High Load version of its Wastemaster II tyre in order to the needs of its waste management sector customers. Sporting the same features and bespoke compound advantages as the existing Wastemaster II product, the new tyre comes to the market in a 154/149 J load/speed rating.
Fowler Welch has extended its long-running tyre fitment and management contract with Continental Tyres subsidiary and retread specialist Bandvulc. Continental and Bandvulc tyres will be specified across the entire Fowler Welch fleet of 450 Euro 6 trucks and 750 temperature-controlled trailer units for a further three years, continuing the relationship between the companies, who have worked together since 2011.
Bandvulc, a Continental Tyres subsidiary is the preferred choice for leading contract hire and fleet management company, Specialist Fleet Services (SFS). Indeed, SFS, a leading contract hire and fleet management supplier to local authorities across the UK, is seeing its relationship with Teignbridge District Council move into an 18th year, something the companies credit in part to the tyre supply and management contract with Bandvulc.
Waste management group, CSG, has committed to a further two years with Bandvulc, the retread subsidiary of Continental. The decision takes the tyre management contract between the two companies into its seventh year, at a time when fleet numbers across CSG and sister company J&G have risen to close to 150 vehicles.
Following the purchase of Bandvulc in the summer of 2016, then managing director David Smith was promoted into the wider international role of Head of Channel Management Distribution and Region, North Europe for Continental. His 2018 promotion followed a 12-year tenure as UK MD that saw turnover at the UK business more than double. The latest news is that he has returned to the UK, so with all this in mind, Tyres & Accessories recently caught up with David Smith in order to talk about his return as well as both Continental and Bandvulc in the UK.