News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

May 28, 2018

Saudi NTC to work with Samsung on $1.6 billion tire project

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 5:03 pm

Saudi Arabian National Tire Co. (NTC) has awarded a contract to South Korea’s Samsung Engineering for the engineering, procurement, and construction of its planned $1.6 billion tire plant in Saudi Arabia.

NTC plans to build the factory in Jubail, an industrial city in the eastern part of the kingdom on the Persian Gulf. Production is expected to start by year-end 2020. The plant will be rated at 20 million units a year capacity, with a staff of about 4,000 employees.

NTC is an initiative of Fahad Bin Abdul-Rahman Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family.

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Triangle clears government hurdles for funding of new U.S. tire plants

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 3:56 pm

China’s Triangle Group Co. Ltd. is one step closer to breaking ground on its passenger and light truck tire factory in Edgecombe County, east of Rocky Mount, N.C.

The government in China signed off on agreements and approvals to fund the first phase of the $580 million project, a passenger and light truck tire plant with capacity for 6 million tires annually, according to Manny Cicero, CEO of Triangle Tire USA, and Marketing Director Mary Ma. All that remains is the securing of several site permits, including one for air quality, before construction can commence, they said in an interview at the company’s office in Franklin on May 22.

Triangle announced late last year that it plans to build two tire plants in the U.S. on a 1,449-acre plot of land in Edgecombe County. Phase one will be a passenger and light truck tire plant. Groundbreaking for the second plant, a 1 million tire capacity truck and bus tire facility, will begin six months after the start of construction on the first plant. The factories will share a rubber mixing facility located between them, Cicero said.

The target date for phase one completion is April 2020.

Referenced article found here.

May 18, 2018

Michelin introduces Tweel for ultra-terrain vehicles

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 12:51 pm

Rubber & Plastics News reports that Michelin North America Inc. has developed a 26-inch version of its non-pneumatic Tweel tire/wheel hybrid for use on ultra-terrain vehicles. Michelin Tweel Technologies, an MNA division, says the X Tweel UTV is intended for use in debris-laden areas including construction, agriculture, mining, emergency response and park sites. The X Tweel UTV was originally designed for light-tactical vehicles used in military operations. The wheel is a single unit that replaces the vehicles’ pneumatic tire/wheel/valve assemblies, Michelin said. The Tweel unit also eliminates the need to carry spare tires, tools or repair kits.

I spotted these tires “in the field” a few weeks ago when I was watching the season 2 premier of HBO’s Westworld. I took these screenshots. (Yes, I watch sci-fi shows for the tires — maybe I’ve been doing this job too long.)

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 11.45.14 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 1. Screenshot from Westworld, season 2, episode 1, “Journey into Night,” written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino, directed by Richard J. Lewis, airdate April 22, 2018, Home Box Office, Inc.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 11.45.34 PM
Fig 2. Screenshot (detail) from Westworld, season 2, episode 1, “Journey into Night,” written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino, directed by Richard J. Lewis, airdate April 22, 2018, Home Box Office, Inc.

May 4, 2018

Bridgestone on megatrends in tire industry

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 7:20 am

In an interview with JustAuto, Laurent Dartoux, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Bridgestone EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa}, forecasts megatrends and how they will shape tomorrow’s tires. He sees the tire industry responding to the trends affecting the entire auto industry: sustainability, population growth, and urbanization, “They are rapidly forcing automotive OEMs, technology companies, and in fact any company connected with the industry, to reimagine the future.”

“For the automotive industry, the fundamental need is for people to live their lives in a mobile way, getting from A to B when they need. These megatrends are creating obstacles for the everyday driver – and passenger – this is where CASE comes in with vehicles becoming more and more connected, autonomous, shared and electric. We’re not talking about all of these coming into play immediately. It will be a gradual evolution, largely enabled by digitization.

Tires are an important part of this evolution and will increasingly be connected to the car. This will unlock previously untapped data, allowing us to learn and evolve as the car is driven and by then, support at best each driver on his journey. The tire industry will also become broader, with products being designed for different usage types, such as autonomous or electric vehicles. We are now selling more than tires but, increasingly, we’ll be offering more and more services.”

Dartoux sees tires changing considerably over the next 10 years in response to this exponential change in the auto industry.

“For example, electric vehicle tires have different needs to combustion engine cars because, although grip remains important, too much grip may lead to overconsumption of the battery. New polymers will play an important role to help us enhance wear for drivers whilst achieving the careful balance of rolling resistance to support Electric Vehicle technology.”

Read the full interview here.

May 2, 2018

Pirelli to revamp organizational structure

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:35 pm

At the Pirelli Board of Directors meeting scheduled for 14 May 2018, Marco Tronchetti Provera will present to board members the tire maker’s proposal for developing an organization to support the company’s Integrated Business Model. This proposed organization, which the executive vice-chairman and chief executive officer has already shared with the chairman of the board, involves a new distribution of responsibility within the company.

Under the new organization, Andrea Casaluci will become head of the newly-constituted General Management Operations organization. Casaluci is currently the executive vice-president in charge of Original Equipment for the Europe region, and the Prestige business unit. This organization will oversee all of Pirelli’s regional operations as well as its Commercial Original Equipment, Commercial Replacement, Moto, Velo and Motorsport, Prestige, Strategic Marketing as well as the Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply organizational units.

Maurizio Boiocchi will take responsibility for the Technology organization, which will oversee the Technology & Quality and Cyber & Innovation functions. Boiocchi will also continue to head technical activities and F1 as part of his Motorsport commitments.

A third function, Digital, will also be proposed.

Read the full press release here.

Production ceases at Michelin plant in Northern Ireland

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 10:43 am

Michelin has ceased production at its 49-year-old truck tire plant in Ballymena, ahead of the factory’s scheduled closing. In November 2015, Michelin announced operation at the site would come to an end in April of this year due to rising energy costs and falling demand for truck tires in Europe.

The factory, which opened in 1969, is to be turned into an enterprise park comprising manufacturing, office and warehouse space, according to local media reports confirmed by Michelin.

The closing of the Ballymena plant is part of a wider restructuring of Michelin’s operations in the U.K. on growth segments of the passenger car and light truck tire and retread markets, the company said.

The restructuring plan includes an investment of more than $100 million at a plant in Dundee, Scotland to increase passenger and light truck tire capacity by 30 percent by 2020 and $25 million in its Stoke-on-Trent, England, tire and retread plant.

April 12, 2018

Toyo ‘nano’ process could cut truck/bus tire rolling resistance

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 12:10 pm

Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. is heralding an advancement in rubber compounding technology that it claims will yield measurable reductions in rolling resistance in truck tires.

The tire maker anticipates having a commercially viable truck/bus tire using the technology on the market within a year.

Although Toyo declined to quantify how much of a rolling resistance reduction it expects, it said the development related to its “nano balance” compounding technology, which yields a 20 percent reduction in energy loss at the point of deformation.

Toyo defines nano balance technology as one for developing ideal rubber materials with high precision through observation, prediction, function, creation and control of rubber materials at the molecular (nano) level. The firm first disclosed its work on nano balance in 2011 when it launched the NanoEnergy line of tires in Japan.

Technically speaking, the nano technology focuses on optimizing the dispersion of fillers in rubber.

Toyo’s process disintegrates carbon black in a special solution and disperses it at the molecular level in the initial compound creation process while stirring and coagulating natural rubber latex, the company said.

Improvements in the process over the past six years have yielded a processing method that achieves the “ideal state” of filler where it is uniformly and highly dispersed even in solid rubber like natural rubber.

Toyo already has released in Japan a truck tire using the technology, NanoEnergy M676, which it claims offers a 31-percent reduction in rolling resistance vs. an existing Toyo design.

Continental expects growth in replacement tire demand

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 11:32 am

Continental A.G. expects demand for consumer and commercial vehicle replacement tires to grow 3 and 2 percent in 2018, respectively, with Asia contributing more than half of the growth.

Replacement demand for passenger/light truck tires should rise to 1.25 billion units, Conti said, citing IHS Inc. an LMC International Ltd. figures. Demand for medium/heavy-duty commercial vehicle tires is seen rising to 166.3 million units.

China will be the driver of the global market expansion due to further growth in that nation’s vehicle parc, Conti said. Demand is also forecast to grow in India, Indonesia and South Korea. Total Asian growth is pegged at 5 percent.

Continental expects demand in North America to recover soon, partly as a result of the continuing rise in mileage. Replacement consumer tire sales should rise roughly 1.8 percent to 290 million units, while sales of commercial vehicle tires are seen rising 3.3 percent to 25.3 million.

In Europe, Conti anticipates growth in eastern Europe to boost overall replacement consumer tire demand by roughly 2 percent, to 358 million units.

In South America, Conti expects 4 percent growth in demand.

The company expects increased demand for commercial vehicle tires to grow in all regions, with Asia again playing a key role, accounting for nearly half of the expected increase in demand.

Citing figures from LMC International, Conti put global sales of passenger/light truck tires in 2017 at 1.21 billion units, led by Asia with 453 billion and followed by Europe with 351 million, North America with 235 million, Latin America with 73 million and the rest of the world at 47 million.

Global sales of tires for commercial vehicles was 162.5 million units—up 4.7 percent over 2016—with Asia accounting for 89.2 million units, followed by Europe (25.3 million), North America (24.5 million), Latin America (15.7 million) and the rest of the world (7.8 million).

April 10, 2018

Toyo Tire Launches Website for New Airless Concept Tire

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 12:40 pm

Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has launched a website that uses CGI animation to showcase the technology of its near-future airless concept tire, the Noair.

Toyo Tire has made fundamental changes to the structure of its past prototypes, drastically improving the Noair’s performance in several metrics, including durability, exterior noise levels, and fuel efficiency. The company has successfully driven a kei-class light vehicle equipped with the tires at a range of speeds from 40 to 75 miles per hour.

USTMA projecting tire shipment growth in 2018

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:13 pm

U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) is projecting that 2018 U.S. tire shipments will increase to 319.1 million units compared to 316.7 million in 2017. USTMA expects original equipment (OE) passenger tire shipments to increase by 0.4 million units compared to 2017, while passenger replacement tire shipments are projected to increase by 0.9 million units. OE and replacement shipments for light truck and truck tires are all expected to increase in 2018.

USTMA notes that this forecast was made “prior to recent U.S. tariff announcements affecting sources of imported steel” used in tire manufacturing.

Read the full press release here.

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