News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

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.

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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.

Toyo Tire & Rubber changes name to Toyo Tire Corporation

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 11:57 am

Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., LTD. has announced that the company name will be changed to Toyo Tire Corporation as of January 1, 2019. The change reflects the company’s aim to expand the scope of business globally and raise the brand status of the company that was born through the merger of Toyo Rubber Industrial and Hirano Rubber Manufacturing in August 1945.

“The automotive industry is currently in what can be considered a once-a-century state of flux. In order to achieve further sustainable growth, we are focusing on the mobility business, such as automotive tires and components,” said Toyo Tire, adding, “We endeavor to bolster its corporate value as well as seeking our own social responsibility and significance by presenting a resolution for Toyo Tire to be a genuinely global brand with renewed pride and reaffirming our responsibility towards the mobility business by taking the opportunity afforded by the company name change coming into effect next January.”

April 2, 2018

Hankook plans expansion to add TBR capacity in Hungary

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 9:48 am

South Korea’s Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. plans to add truck tire capacity at its 11-year-old passenger tire factory in Rácalmás, Hungary. Construction is expected to begin in June 2018, and tire production will start around June 2020.

Hankook is budgeting $358 million for the expansion, which will add 550,000 units of annual capacity for medium and heavy truck and bus tires. It also will create about 150 jobs.

Hankook said this expansion reflects its growing business in Europe in the commercial tire sector, including original equipment relationships with several of the continent’s leading commercial-vehicle makers.

This is the fourth expansion for the factory in Rácalmás, Hungary, since its initial construction in 2006. Hankook says the latest expansion provides production capacity of more than 55,000 tires a day, which adds up to annual capacity of 19 million tires.

Read the full press release here.

March 26, 2018

J.D. Power survey finds customer satisfaction with run-flat tires improving

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 7:48 am

According to the 2018 J.D. Power U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study, overall customer satisfaction with original equipment tires has improved significantly since 2015.

The notable news is that run-flat tires are closing the satisfaction gap with conventional tires.

“The rise in satisfaction helps tire manufacturers’ efforts to meet the demands of OEMs while simultaneously improving the customer experience,” said Brent Gruber, senior director of automotive quality practice at J.D. Power. “The fact that there is little difference in satisfaction between run-flat and traditional tires is a great example. Many OEMs have been replacing spare tires with run-flats to help reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency. Just a few years ago run-flat tires were a detriment to customer satisfaction but the experience is much more positive now.”

The 2018 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 30,477 owners of 2016 and 2017 model-year vehicles, and was fielded in October-December 2017.

March 17, 2018

Maxxis opens 2-wheeler tire plant in India

Filed under: Tires — Tags: , , — Notch @ 4:06 pm

Maxxis International has launched its first tire manufacturing plant in India. The facility was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijaybhai Rupani.

Capacity at the Ahmedabad plant is rated at 20,000 motorcycle tires and 40,000 tubes a day in phase-one. The Taiwanese company invested $400 million to build the plant, its first in India.

The tire maker operates six plants in Taiwan; eight in China; and one each in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Capacity totals over 1 million tires a day.

Maxxis Tires is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd., the largest two-wheeler tire manufacturer and the ninth largest tire company in the world.

Referenced article found here.

Saudi NTC advances $1.2 billion tire plant project

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 3:32 pm

Saudi Arabian National Tire Co. is in the final stages of awarding the construction of its $1.2 billion tire production plant to an EPC contractor, according Farid Dudin, general manager of Victoria Trading FZCO and head of the tire plant project.

Among the top bidders is South Korea’s Samsung Engineering, Dudin said at the Tire Technology Expo, held Feb. 21-23 in Hanover, Germany.

“The EPC contractor will be fully-involved as an EPC contractor, but we will be in charge of selecting the machinery,” Dudin said.

The scope of the project has expanded to $1.2 billion from the original $1 billion, announced in January.

According to Dudin, the machinery will cost $800 million, and an additional $400 million has been set aside for land, construction, and other EPC costs.

Referenced article found here.

March 8, 2018

High-value tires lead Pirelli growth plan for 2018

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 1:38 pm

Pirelli & C. S.p.A. aims to further increase sales of high-value tires, under a growth plan detailed in the company’s annual results presentation(pdf). The document, issued Feb. 26, builds on Pirelli’s relaunch, last year, as a premium passenger car tire supplier after separating its industrial tire business into Prometeon Group.

Under the latest plans, the company’s Latin America operation is to cut standard tire production and convert to making high-value products, including increased SUV penetration.

Likewise, in its Middle East, Africa and India region, Pirelli said it would look at “progressive reduction of standard production.”

Again, operations there will increase the proportion of high-value product sales, which already exceed 50 percent of sales in the region in 2017.

In Russia, meanwhile, the tire maker aims to improve its share in the 17-inch and larger market, “with an increasing weight of locally produced high value tire.” It also will try to strengthen price position in the region.

Pirelli has previously outlined four categories of high-value products: Prestige which was developed with car makers such as Ferrari, Bentley, Bugatti and Rolls Royce; New premium tires with diameter of 18 inches or more; Specialty tires including runflats and color editions; and Premium moto, which are high-end motorcycle tires.

For 2018, priorities will include re-engineering and consolidating the “integrated business planning process,” starting from Prestige, concluded Pirelli.

Referenced article found here.

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