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GIANT WHEELS THAT MOVE THE WORLD

GIANT WHEELS THAT MOVE THE WORLD

By TA News Bureau:

The global market for speciality tyres for use in the agricultural, mining and infrastructure sectors is poised to grow further on the back of general economic growth. A World Bank analysis shows that in advanced economies the growth is expected to be 2.2 per cent this year before moderating at 2 per cent next year. But in emerging market and developing economies the overall growth is projected to strengthen to 4.5 per cent this year before reaching 4.7 per cent in 2019. The economic expansion will be driven by investment in infrastructure, construction, mining and agriculture, the key sectors where OTRs tyres are in demand

The demand for OTR tyres remains buoyant as the world economy picks up the pace of growth. In the Asia-Pacific region, one of the world’s fastest growing automotive markets, the economic uptick will be higher. This will further push the acceleration in OTR demand with its market touching $15.72 billion by 2022.
Out of the total global tyre market valued at $193 billion, the speciality tyre segment makes up about $40 billion, which includes agricultural, mining, industrial and off-road tyres. Growth forecasts on OTR demand are made by the projected increase in demand, particularly in the agriculture and industrial sectors. This will also impact OEM and aftermarket demand.
OTR tyres come in two types, bias ply and radial with the latter becoming more acceptable and showing significant growth impulses. Radial tyres are gaining more market share because they offer more flex under heavy loads on rough terrains where they are deployed. Radials also offer lower fuel consumption, longer tread life, and better traction.
OTR makers, who keep an eye on market trends, ensure that their production line is kept flexible enough to cater to the varying specific demands of the customers in the OEM and aftermarket segments. They try to minimise the time to market according to the demand pattern for specific kinds of tyres.
China and India are expected to see significant growth in OTR demand in the light of rapid industrialisation and expansion of agriculture. As the twin sectors continue to report growth, there is a concomitant increase in investments in infrastructure, particularly roads and railways.
Following the rising demand for OTRs, manufacturers are increasingly investing in R&D to develop new tread designs and compounds in line with specific demands. Most OTR manufacturers are pouring more money into R&D in order not to fall behind the competition. They are also putting in efforts in brand building through advertisement campaigns and sponsorship of events, including sports.

Circular economy

Another factor that needs to be noted is the impact of retreading on the OTR market. Technological advancements in retreading are giving a much greater lease of life to OTR tyres which are getting retreaded. They are considered a cost-effective way to competitively sustain the tyre assets, particularly by mining companies.
OTR is a major sector where natural rubber is in greater demand. The impact of NR prices often hits the bottom lines of OTR makers. In the past few years, rubber prices have been fluctuating. In India there is a noticeable gap in supply and demand, which is set to widen following drop in rubber production because of heavy rains and floods.
Manufacturers are aware of the mounting competition and they are emphasising ways to press down costs. Besides this, they are also keeping an eye on the complexity of customer requirements. Most companies have specially trained representatives who are made available in the field. They are tasked to check whether the OTR is being handled by trained people to ensure safety. Companies that offer better services, including maintenance, are able to strengthen their market hold.
Tyre engineers are also reviewing ways to recycle OTR tyre assets. Various processes are available now that include reclaiming of rubber, oil and steel. Many companies are committed to circular economy with the agenda to derive ‘wealth from waste’.
It is said that a 59.00R63 mining tyre processed using a proprietary technology could produce 1,890 litres of renewable blend oil, 180 kg of carbon black and 900 kgs of steel. Besides retreading, resource recovery from end-of-life is a priority while managing tyre assets.
China and India will be growth drivers of the OTR market with the agricultural, mining and infrastructure construction sector forming the major demand areas. As part of tyre asset management, customers will go for retreads to sustain their activities as they are preferred over replacement because of the cost factor.
As the wheels of economic development move forward so will the demand for OTR tyres.

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