With the current level of both natural and synthetic rubber prices causing serious consternation across the tyre industry, the Retread Manufacturers Association (RMA) is emphasising the benefits of retreaded tyres both in terms of cost as well as in terms of resources and CO2 savings.
Patrick O’Connell, Managing Director of Bandvulc Tyres Ltd and current Chairman of the RMA commented: “Over the last 40 years there have been many ups and downs in the price and supply of rubber both natural and synthetic but the current situation is a period of unknown change.
“The present prices and now actual supply problems must be causing concerns in all tyre companies. We have seen some quite large rises of new tyres prices but we believe that much worse is to come. Unfortunately new tyre manufacturers do not react quickly due to the accounting practices and costing models they use, so these increases will come in over probably six months”.
An added problem which will last through this year at least is the weather effect from storms caused by the El Niño which has reduced the ability to collect rubber from trees, thereby causing a shortage of natural rubber.
“The lack of raw material means that recycling is becoming increasingly important”, says RMA Director David Wilson. “Although retreaders are not immune to the effects of the rubber price increases, substantially less rubber is required to manufacture a retreaded tyre, meaning that retreaded tyres stand to become increasingly cost-effective.”
It appears that this is already being reflected in the market place, with early suggestions indicating that the UK market for retreaded truck tyres grew by between 5 and 10% during 2010. At a time when environmental issues are becoming increasingly important, it is also worth considering the environmental benefits of retreaded tyres.
Apart from the fact that the manufacture of a typical retreaded truck tyre requires 68 litres less oil than an equivalent new tyre, a recent report, commissioned for the Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse and carried out by carbon footprint specialists Best Foot Forward, found that the manufacture of a 17.5” retreaded tyre produces 60.5 kg CO2 emissions compared to 86.9 kg CO2 for an equivalent new tyre, a saving of 26.4 kg and a reduction of emissions of 30%.
“We have always emphasised the environmentally-friendly characteristics of retreaded tyres and the RMA is working hard to make sure that retreads are not prejudiced against new tyres in the European market.”, commented Patrick O’Connell.
“Retreads compare very favourably in terms of environmental impact when compared to new tyres. Couple this with the increased cost-effectiveness of retreads, there are now growing reasons why astute fleet managers would be well advised to consider incorporating retreads in their tyre policies”. (February 2011)