When we spoke to Lehigh Technologies’ Kedar Murthy in 2016, he commented that smart tyre makers were well aware that they wouldn’t enjoy bargain basement raw material prices forever. What none of us realised at the time was that we didn’t have long to wait before prices went through the roof. Although the cost of natural and synthetic rubber has now come back from the peaks we saw in the first few months of the year, they’re still sitting comfortably above 2016 levels. This is good news for micronised rubber powder (MRP) specialist Lehigh Technologies.
As Europe’s retreaders are currently learning to their cost, commitment to sustainable products often takes a back seat to lower prices; despite offering proven environmental plusses, retreaded truck tyres continue to lose market share to cheap and often non-retreadable imported new tyres. To truly thrive, an environmentally-friendly product must also deliver a price benefit. With its micronised rubber powder (MRP) products, Lehigh Technologies offers this double advantage. Tyres & Accessories recently met with Lehigh Technologies’ vice-president and general manager Kedar Murthy and Josep Freixas, the company’s MRP business development manager for the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, to find out how the market is taking to the concept of new tyres containing materials made from end of life tyres.