[what's new in:]Retreads

Years ago, fleet managers avoided retreads, fearing tire failure and downtime for their trucks. But modern technology has produced many advances in retreading techniques. Customers are asking for help to keep their costs down and maximize their uptime, says Jaye Young, U.S. country marketing manager, Michelin Americas Truck Tires. Freight is starting to move again, so it's more important than ever

Years ago, fleet managers avoided retreads, fearing tire failure and downtime for their trucks. But modern technology has produced many advances in retreading techniques.

“Customers are asking for help to keep their costs down and maximize their uptime,” says Jaye Young, U.S. country marketing manager, Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “Freight is starting to move again, so it's more important than ever for fleets to keep every piece of equipment working. In addition, with the rising price of fuel, fuel-efficient tires and retreads have become a priority for many fleets.”

Michelin Retread Technologies (MRT) uses many of the same tread designs and compounds as those found in new Michelin tires, Young says, and can offer substantial cost savings through improved fuel efficiency and reduced wear.

“MRT offers its retread process through a franchise system — the same equipment, the same process, the same standards are all used throughout the MRT franchise network, ensuring consistency and high quality for the fleets,” Young says. “In fact, fleets can count on consistent, high-quality service nationwide as well as from the Michelin Commercial Service Network. Network dealers offer both Michelin tires and MRT retreads, and use highly trained technicians, professional equipment, and casing management.”

According to Chris Ripani, director of marketing-strategic brands and channels for Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, “Retreading has been the best way for fleet managers to maximize the return on their tire assets.”

At the top of a customer's list of concerns is finding a provider that can offer a “total package of solutions that fits a fleet's specific tire needs,” Ripani says. Also on the list are retreads that offer performance that closely matches new tire performance, reliable and cost-effective emergency breakdown services, recommendations and advice on fleet tire programs, suggestions for ways to achieve the lowest operating cost, and a comprehensive dealer network.

“The relationship we have with our customers is every bit as important as the products we sell,” Ripani says. “We offer innovative, uptime-critical services that keep your fleet running like a well-oiled machine.”

First, Ripani says, you need to develop an analysis of a fleet's tire mix. “We have software to track each tire and analyze performance,” he says. “[And the use of] casing inspection equipment to determine if it should be retreaded or removed from service has improved retread reliability.”

“During difficult economic times, good managers are looking for ways to contain and/or reduce costs and maximize efficient use of assets,” says Bill Sweatman, president, Marangoni Tread North America. “Tires are an important asset and a relevant operating expense. We have seen a rebound of the retreading market and a shift in the new tire to retread purchase ratio by commercial fleets.”

Fleets are looking to maximize total casing life and value of tire assets, Sweatman adds. “Our Ringtread technology has eliminated the splice, and the contoured shape of the tread results in improved reliability, longer mileage and lower rolling resistance,” he says.

In addition, some fleets are even purchasing retreaded casings, Sweatman says. This is possible because inspection technology today can help a retreader avoid casings with internal defects, providing a level of security to fleets they didn't have in the past.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is getting ready to unveil spliceless technology on its UniCircle retreaded tires for fleet customers running wide-base singles. It's part of the company's dedication to improving its product portfolio, says Todd Labbe, manager of business development-retreading.

“End users can expect lasting strength from seamless UniCircle construction, as well as even treadwear and low rolling resistance due to the uniform retread characteristics and dimensions. The end result is cost-efficient performance for our fleet customers.”

The company's new Gold Medallion retreads offer “premium casing specifications required by large national fleets and provide options for fleets to purchase retreads rather than new tires to reduce costs over the road,” Labbe adds. “Fleets no longer need to search for equipment that has recently arrived at the terminal in order to change out new tires installed during a service call over the road.”

Retreaded tires include Goodyear's Fuel Max technology, which incorporates cool-running, dual-compound construction to help improve mpg.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEBSITES:

BF Goodrich Truck Tires
www.bfgoodrichtrucktires.com

Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions
www.trucktires.com

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
www.goodyear.com/truck

Hercules Tire & Rubber Co.
www.herculestire.com

Marangoni Tread North America
www.marangoni-na.com

Michelin North America
www.michelintruck.com

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