Solvay is investing 75 million euros in building an 85,000 ton a year Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) plant in Włocławek, Poland. Combined with further capacity expansion at its site in Qingdao (China), these two investments are designed to increase Solvay’s global highly dispersible silica production capacity by 30 per cent.
Dunlop has completed its first test of its new MSA British Touring Car Championship soft compound tyre at Rockingham. In 2013 drivers of NGTC specification cars must use one set of soft compound tyres for one of the three races following a regulation change. Drivers must nominate the race in which they will use the tyres without the knowledge of other drivers’ strategies before Saturday’s qualifying session.
During this Tire Technology Expo in Cologne, Germany, ETRMA secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp shared some information on the subject of the European tyre label and its enforcement. “As the label uses a system of self regulation and self declaration, there is a need for regular ex-post controls at point of sales,” she commented. “For this reason, in June 2012 the European Union created a committee solely responsible for tyre labelling.”
Managing director of Motor Wheel Service Distribution, John Ellis has presented expert testimony to the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) during last week’s (22 January) public hearing into the Roadworthiness Package. Acting in his capacity as director of the Northwest Automotive Alliance (NAA), Ellis presented an introduction and background to the issue, then called for five measures, most prominently the light regulation of the supply chain to enforce existing standards and improved inspection procedures across all EU member states. Ellis, who has pursued the issues confronting the safety of commercial vehicle wheels in the UK over the last few years, said his proposed changes would make for a “far safer” commercial vehicle sector without burdening CV operators with additional costs.
Kraiburg Austria recently offered Turkish retreaders information on the introduction of the TSE-ECE 109 regulation in an event organised by Tatko Otomotive Istanbul. The distributor invited 40 customers who are affected by the implementation of the Turkish tyre labelling requirement. The Turkish retreaders have been given just six months to meet the requirements. Tatko has already been certified as conforming to TSE-ECE 109 for its own retreading business for three years.
After two consecutive years of modest growth in total tyre unit sales, European tyre makers are reporting double digits drops across the board in 2012. While previous market growth can be qualified by the fact that the increases came despite a decrease of ETRMA member market share, it is clear that the economic crisis is far from being over.
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has responded to a recent Motorist Forum report on customer experience of franchised and independent MoT stations and garages in the wake of the government’s statement on the matter. While Brian Spratt, IAAF chief executive, praised the Roads minister for taking a “balanced view”, he said a fundamental change of attitudes towards communication is the key to improving the garage customer service experience. The Motorists Forum report put forward 12 recommendations to the government on how to improve the garage customer experience, details of which can be found on the IAAF website.
Paul Kinkead, Head of Environment and Protection at Michelin’s truck tyre plant in Ballymena, has been awarded an OBE in The New Year’s Honours List for services to environmental protection in Northern Ireland.
A past pupil of Royal School Dungannon and a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Paul Kinkead is a Chartered Chemical Engineer and has worked at Michelin’s Ballymena site since 1986. In 2011, he was appointed to the senior management team with specific responsibility for managing the Environment and Protection Department for the site. He is also the Michelin UK Country Manager for Industrial Hygiene and Chemical Safety.
The results of a study involving questionnaires and face-to-face interviews with more than 70 experts from 32 tyre makers, including all top 20 suppliers, show 85 per cent of the companies questioned expect the new EU tyre labelling regulation will significantly impact their daily businesses. Most of those questioned also view the regulation as an opportunity rather than a burden.
The ETRMA has called for action against one its own members after Nokian Tyres took the initiative of producing its own ice and snow label. The association is specifically asking authorities in Finland, Norway and Sweden to put an immediate end to the initiative. Nokian tyres, which specialises in winter tyres, appears to have devised its own additional labelling system in response to the fact that the new EU tyre label that became mandatory on 1 November 2012 doesn’t include snow and ice performance information. Furthermore, due to the fact that the EU label requires tests to be conducted at relatively high ambient temperatures, winter tyres in general have shown a tendency to appear to perform poorly on the EU label.
Following the tabling of the European Commission’s CARS 2020 Action Plan to aid the European automobile manufacturing industry, there are a number of concrete proposals that are likely to affect the industry. According to the details, which we summarise here, the commission and member states must now implement the policies announced. In order to monitor this process, and continue the dialogue with the stakeholders a dedicated process will be established called "CARS 2020".
VOSA has announced that the MOT certificate must now record the mileage of a vehicle for the current test, as well as the mileage recorded on the last three certificates. This change comes into effect on 18 November 2012 and means a more accurate vehicle history can be relayed to the potential buyer of a used car.
Concirrus Ltd has announced that it will add PressurePro’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System technology to its Mobile Devices Telematics Market Place. The company is the developer of the open telematics OS and telematics hardware, and under the agreement, facilitated by Concirrus, Mobile Devices will integrate PressurePro’s tyre pressure information into the Morpheus embedded framework, allowing users easy access to the pressure data through a new set of standard APIs. The company says the agreement was prompted by the increasing need for reducing costs and risks related to under-inflated tyres, and to respond to legislation in Europe and the US promoting pressure checks and penalising those running on under-inflated tyres.
Standard & Poor’s has upgraded Indonesian tyre maker PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk’s debt rating from ‘B’ to ‘B+’. Explaining its decision to do so, the financial services company observes that Gajah Tunggal’s competitive cost position and leading share in the Indonesian tyre market temper any weaknesses that may arise from the company’s “aggressive” capital structure, limited financial flexibility and the cyclical and cost competitive nature of the tyre industry.