To further meet the needs of its agricultural customers, the Goodyear farm department has this season invested in a new show display unit. The new vehicle, says Goodyear, forms part of the cornerstone for the company’s investment into the agricultural sector. The bespoke unit has been built to assist the farm team’s ability to meet with a greater number of farmers and answer their queries, with an emphasis placed upon Goodyear’s Optitrac range of tractor tyres.
The Optitrac farm tyre concept, comments Goodyear, uses the latest generation compound and construction technology, with the new R+ offering increased load carrying capacity or reduced inflation pressures to help minimise soil compaction. The optimised tyre footprint shape offers even pressure distribution as well as the premium tread depth allowing enhanced traction. The display unit features detailed information on the tyre range and explains the technology behind the range.
“Increasing awareness of environmental issues has popularised our range of tyre cutters, especially the portable TC-125 machine, with sales far exceeding our expectations,” said TSI/SSG export manager, Arvid Vaaten. The TC-125 will cut steel belted radial tyres with a rim diameter up to 52 inches and this includes radial tractor tyres.
An uncomplicated three handle procedure allows for comfortable operator control of all the cutters functions. The machine incorporates a roller table for easy manoeuvring of tyres and hydraulic positioning arms to hold the tyre in place. Even exceptionally heavy tyres can be lifted onto the machines roller table by a hydraulic lift. The heavy-duty moveable shear blade is sustained by two stationary blades for clean and easy cutting.
Firestone has launched a new range of tractor tyres designed for high horsepower tractors above 175 hp. The main advantage of the Maxi-Traction range is that they have been specifically designed to run at a higher inflation pressure than many other brands. The tyres can be inflated to 2.4 bar, thanks to the design and manufacture of the casing. This enables a higher load to be carried. For example, the 710/70 R38 SS can carry a load of 6150kg at speeds up to 50 km/h.
The Ambattur unit of Dunlop India Ltd (DIL) is set to start production this week, a month ahead of the schedule, according to company chairman, Pawan Kumar Ruia. Ruia said initial start-up capacity of 40 tonnes daily would be ramped up to 130 tonnes a day by December. The first tyres to roll out would be for light commercial vehicles and truck tyres, while tractor tyres would be produced later.
The latest ATMA Indian tyre manufacturers’ monthly production figures show that passenger car tyre production in the emerging market rocketed 20 per cent. In April 1,243,559 tyres were produced as opposed to 1,037,296 in April 2005. The truck market remained flat at 977,510 units, up 0.2 per cent on last April. During the same period jeep tyre production fell 17 per cent from 115,032 units in April 2005 to 95,383 this year.
Goodyear unveiled a new farm tyre concept OPTITRAC R+ at Europe’s leading agricultural machinery exhibition, Agritechnica. The R+ is an extension of Goodyear’s OPTITRAC family, the one stop portfolio that meets the majority of farmer’s needs both on the field and the road. According to Goodyear the OPTITRAC R+ increases the performance level for tractor tyres significantly: the tyres can carry up to 31 per cent more load, generate 10 higher traction at lower tyre inflation and operate at speeds up to 65 km/h.
Michelin has started an Economical Development Fund with the aim of helping small and medium sizes enterprises (SMEs) and creating more jobs. The company itself is providing 250 new places in Nyíregyháza through a 60 million euro investment, said regional director Joel Pouget. The factory in Nyíregyháza, which produces tractor tyres for the European market, will expand to include car tyre production from September. The company, as part of its Michelin Development Project, will sponsor SMEs within a 50-kilometer distance from its sites. They will also provide support in terms of loans of up to 1 million euros a year, the Budapest Business Journal reported.
Vredestein has announced a new addition to its range of tractor tyres. According to the company, the new Traxion85 represents the standard for modern medium-class tractors. Following the success of its Traxion+ extra wide 65 and 70 series products, Vredestein has developed the Traxion85 as a successor to the well-known Tractor Super Grip.
The design of the Traxion85 has the same roots as the Traxion+, which has been used in agriculture since 1997. With this popular tyre Vredestein has realized a fast-growing share of the market in virtually every country in Europe. Visitors to the SIMA international agricultural fair in Paris in the spring of this year got a first glimpse of the new Traxion85, which is available in 14 sizes:
The development of a free trade area by the EAC and the introduction of zero-rate tax on tractor tyres could eat into Firestone East Africa’s local market share according to local commentators. Further, a decision by the company to develop an equity retail chain is being met with resistance by the tyre trade. It is claimed that outgoing managing director Hiroshi Yamazaki had already expressed concerns that the new tariff decision by the government would severely affect the firm’s tractor tyre product line, which employs about 150 people. Sources said unless the firm improves its level of efficiency, monthly production capacities of 900 for tractor tyres and 2,500 for truck and bus tyres would fall. Even in Africa the market for light trucks and passenger vehicles has been facing heavy pricing pressures as a result of both the flooding of the local market by cheap imports and counterfeits.
Yugoslavian tyre manufacturer Rumaguma is aiming at privatisation. The company produces 11,000 tonnes of tyres annually, mainly bias ply tractor tyres. As well as its own brand, Rumaguma manufactures Continental, Barum, Semperit and Galaxy brands and over 70 per cent of production is exported. Of these, half are destined for Continental and 10 per cent for Galaxy. 70 per cent of the company will be sold, with a further proportion distributed among employees and some offered for public sale.
Over the last 20 years, agricultural tyre business has not been very important for the Continental group, and at times, the whole segment was in question. Later they got over this with off-take-agreements, when Eastern European companies were allowed to produce tyres with the logo of the prancing horse, in order to maintain market representation. Has this all gone by now? It seems so, because since they have been producing agricultural tyres in Otrokovice’s new plant where some new machines have been installed, price and quality go together again, hence Werner Flebbe’s (55) managers in Hanover feel to be able to cope with the world-wide competition. However, Otrokovice is just a production site from where the agricultural tyre section can order, but it is an important one. Today, Continental certainly is the group’s first choice, offering the widest assortment and being distributed most efficiently. But already, the Barum brand, with its impressive variety, is being called a “volume brand”, and incidentally, in the radial tractor tyres segment, including the 75 series, it bears a remarkable resemblance to the Continental Contact. While Conti tyres are being sold throughout the whole trade, it was Flebbe’s idea to distribute Barum tyres in Germany only through some core dealers. Six big dealers (Wennekamp, Vergölst, Ihle/Günzburg, Schwarz, Semex and Brock/Weilerswist) have been given the exclusive right to promote Barum tyres, which means that they can sell to both trade and consumer. However, Hanover went a step further: The Uniroyal brand, which could have been placed very easily on the German market, has been offered exclusively. In an interview Thorsten Bublitz, responsible for marketing and sales of Conti’s agricultural tyres, assured, that by now Meyer Lissendorf has nearly all important sizes available, and it is planned to offer the complete range, with 68 sizes altogether, in September.
The Trelleborg group has purchased Pirelli’s 40% share of the agricultural joint venture company Trelleborg Wheel Systems. Recently-appointed President of TWS, Maurizio Vischi, said that the customer would not notice any difference in products or service and that TWS would continue to have a close relationship with Pirelli. Later on this year TWS will manufacture Trelleborg-branded radial tyres at its Tivoli factory.
The world-wide market for agricultural machines and tyres is has been characterised by a rationalisation processes over several years. The leading competitors in the tyre sector (Michelin-Group, Trelleborg Wheel Systems (TWS), Continental and Goodyear) have more or less completed repositioning themselves in the market. The widest multi-brand variation has been attained by the Michelin-Group, which covers with its four brands (Michelin, Kleber, Taurus and Stomil) all price-segments and applications. However, the development of this tyre segment cannot be viewed in isolation. It is influenced and defined by a number of fundamental and mutually connected parameters. These are:· the general economical development of the agricultural sector,· the changing structure of the German agricultural sector since reunification,· seasonal influences/aspects (e.g. weather conditions) and· sales, numbers and specifications of agricultural machines (especially tractors).In Germany fewer and fewer farming companies have concerns about a permanently increasing average area of land – a trend that can be observed throughout the rest of Europe. At the same time agricultural machinery is becoming more powerful, larger and faster, and the tyre manufacturer has to produce a product that can cope with these demands and yet remain gentle on crops to ensure maximum yield.In the first half of the year 2001 the already decreasing number of machinery sales found an additional seasonal reason in the sinking investments of the farmers, due to the BSE and the FMD-crisis. The increased cost-consciousness of the farmers became obvious in an trend towards cheaper brands. In the second half of the year the tyre market recovered a little bit from its bad results in the first six months but the overall negative figures could not be overcome completely so that ultimately a five percent loss was expected, compared to the previous year. This meant a total number of 220,000 tractor tyres sold in Germany (radial: 143,000 pieces).