Retreads account for about half of all the truck tires on the road today, according to Michelin Americas Truck Tires and Oliver Rubber, which it acquired in 2007. “Retreading is paramount to our customer’s operations,” says Ted Becker, vice president of marketing for Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “We employ the latest tread design and compounding technologies to address trucking companies’ concerns of balancing low rolling resistance with mileage and traction in retreads that deliver performance comparable to those in new tires.”
“Many of the latest retread advancements have been made in the area of inspection technology,” says Matt Schnedler, retread product marketing manager at Bridgestone Commercial Solutions. “For example, the latest model of Bandag’s shearography tester makes non-destructive inspection even more reliable, which in turn benefits fleets by providing retreads that are even more durable.”
Engineering advancements have made it easier to migrate technologies from new tires to retreads, notes John Barnes, ContiLifeCycle manager, Continental Tire the Americas. “One major advancement is that we can create a one-to-one match in tread design and compounding from new tires to retreads. Using the same compounds, we ensure that rolling resistance and mileage performance of retreads don’t drop off from what a fleet has come to expect from new tires.”
“In compounding, designing and manufacturing, Marangoni Tread North America is working continuously to improve and innovate its retread technology,” says Giampaolo Brioschi, product marketing manager. “The goal is for fleets to benefit from better reliability, performance, ride, tread fitment and less distortion, resulting in cooler running temperatures, longer wear and lower rolling resistance.”
For its truck tire retread technologies, relates Brian Buckham, brand manager-linehaul and mixed service, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems, the company is always looking for opportunities to help customers lower total cost of ownership through cool-running compounds and construction that help improve miles per gallon.
Compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program is an important part of all retread manufacturers’ long-term commercial tire strategies. In June 2012, EPA announced its SmartWay low rolling resistance requirements for retreaded truck tires. To obtain SmartWay compliance, EPA has determined that certain retread technologies can reduce emissions and fuel use by 3% or more when verified retreads are used on both drive and trailer axles along with verified low rolling resistance steer tires, and when all tires are properly inflated according to manufacturer specifications.
As of this writing, current retreads on the EPA SmartWay list of verified technologies include:
- Bandag B710 FuelTech drive, B197 FuelTech trailer
- Continental HDL Eco Plus drive, HTL Eco Plus drive and trailer
- Goodyear G316 AT Fuel Max, G572 LHD Fuel Max, G305 ATS Fuel Max
- Marangoni Ringtread Energeco RDA-E drive, Energeco RTA-E trailer
- Michelin XDA2 19 AT, XDA2 23 AT, X ONE XDA-HT, X ONE XDA, X LINE ENERGY D drive, X ONE XTA, XT-1 AT trailer
Along with tires for all wheel positions, manufacturers plan to continue to submit additional drive and trailer retread products to EPA for SmartWay verification. For the latest list of SmartWay-verified low rolling resistance precure retread technologies for Class 8 linehaul tractor-trailers, visit www.epa.gov/smartway/technology/tires.htm#retread.
“SmartWay is a goal when we are developing new retread products for long haul and regional applications,” says Marangoni’s Brioschi. “Our R&D department, which is fully committed to achieving SmartWay objectives, keeps improving design technology.”
Michelin also supports the SmartWay program’s overall strategy of including retread products with new tires to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of linehaul Class 8 trucks, the company says. “SmartWay verification of our retread products is not just a goal,” says Continental’s Barnes. “It’s a requirement of our fleet customers. That is why our goal is actually to have a one-to-one SmartWay match between new tires and retreads.”
“Fleets want to be SmartWay verified, so we now need to consider that as an objective in retread products,” explains Bridgestone’s Schnedler. “That’s why using a combination of compounding and advanced tread designs to meet the protocol is a goal [for engineers] when developing new retread products.”