How is BKT collaborating with OEMs to develop advanced tire solutions?
We have a strong OEM presence in the global markets, which is a testament to the quality of our products and our unparalleled services. We are working in synergy with both local and global OEMs to develop tires for all types of terrains and applications i.e. on and off-highway construction equipment, mining, agriculture, forestry, and port to name a few.
As a part of our strategy to ensure the last mile connection with the OEMs, we are working extensively to cater to the emerging needs of our clients and have the shortest response period amongst our competitors when it comes to delivering a new product. For instance, Tipper truck manufacturers are offering solutions for both on & off highway applications with multi-axle configurations. They are making critical design improvisations to enhance the payloads of the vehicles so that the improvements will enable tipper trucks to haul higher volumes of loads at higher speeds even in arduous operating conditions such as steep gradients and sharp curves. The vehicles are often subjected to very high lateral forces where the load is transferred directly onto the tires. In mining areas, the tires are subjected to extreme ambient heat conditions. Also, with the higher initial cost of tire-mounted, mobile off-highway equipment, it is becoming increasingly pertinent to derive maximum productivity from the equipment. Tires, which constitute the most important operating input (next to fuel), are vital for the machines’ availability. In view of these concerns, BKT is developing more advanced solutions for tipper trucks, wheel loaders, all-terrain cranes, and rough terrain cranes, so that productivity and performance are not hampered. We use advanced production processes and undertake stringent tests to deliver superior and high-performing tires and are also developing rubberized tracks for use in excavators.
What R&D and tests are undertaken at BKT to check the endurance, performance, and driving comfort of its tires on different surfaces?
We have a strong research and development center at our plant in Bhuj, Gujarat, where our technical team is working with newer and more advanced raw materials and compounds that can better meet the operating requirements at project sites. We undertake various tests and analyses to evaluate the bonding of the tire compounds, especially when the tires are working in extreme heat conditions, and to check the tread in the tire compound, the steel chords, etc. At our R&D center, each tire undergoes 500+ quality tests during the production cycle.
We have an advanced rubber testing facility for chemical, physical, and rapid control tests. Tests are conducted to examine the character of the rubber after mixing the final compound. A test track at the plant is used to check the endurance, performance, and driving comfort of the tires on different surfaces such as uniform roads, rough terrains, concrete, bitumen, and farm tracks with pebbles. Our advanced developments will greatly help equipment owners to derive a lower cost of operation per km with a resultant lower fuel cost per hour.
What plans are underway at BKT to increase tire production and widen its product portfolio?
We have 5 production facilities – two plants in Rajasthan (Chowpanki and Bhiwadi), two facilities in Maharashtra (Waluj), and our largest plant, located in Gujarat (Bhuj), is dedicated to developing advanced solutions for both the Indian and export markets through co-engineering with OEMs. Additionally, we have a mold plant in Maharashtra, and a Carbon Black unit in Bhuj, which gives us a major autonym and reduces dependability on the third party. Especially, in today’s scenario, this integration has proved to be a boon and has augmented the supply of critical raw material i.e. carbon black, and allowed us complete control of the quality. Also, our in-house mold plant enables us to quickly develop new tires or prototypes without depending on external suppliers. To meet the growing market demand, we have not only increased production plants in number and size over the years but have also intensified and diversified operations and processes.
If you look at BKT’s history, we have always worked toward the quality of our product. We have been able to churn out close to 80 to 100 tire sizes every year. So, R&D has always been a strong focus for us. Of late, our R&D has grown and we have become an innovator. We are confident that our ongoing development of more advanced compounds, and the ensuing stringent tests of the final products, will help the company to come up with higher-performing tires.
We are also widening our product portfolio with new, ultra-large OTR tires for rigid dump trucks. With our wide product mix for tipper trucks, we are offering solutions for trucks ranging from 40 to 240 tons and are now working on developing tires of 63 inches for 300 tons+ dump trucks.
Please share your plans for bauma Con Expo 2023.
Bauma Con Expo 2023 is returning after a gap of 4 years and we are excited to be part of it. This year, we will be announcing the launch of two tires under the sub-brand EARTHMAX. These ‘Made for India’ tires are designed for the Indian infrastructure, construction, and mining sectors. Like all BKT products, the new tires under the EARTHMAX series stem from the continuous feedback shared by users.
Additionally, we will also be exhibiting some of our other best products for the infrastructure, construction, and mining industry, showcasing our strong commitment to developing an extraordinarily rich and specialized product portfolio for any requirements.