Dear Readers,

Month by month, our Weibold academy series dwells deeper into the world of tire recycling and highlights different sides of this business. In case you have missed our previous articles, you can find the links at the end of this post.

Advantages and the current state of tire retreading industry

Tire retreading process | Photo: Tire Cologne

Tire recycling industry serves to solve important environmental problems posed by massive amounts of scrap tires accumulated over decades at stockpiles all over the world. While scrap tire collection programs aim at preventing irresponsible dumping and while recycling businesses do their best to return the precious material back into production chain, there is one more remedy to make circular economy concept viable – reusing material before recycling it. In case with tires, this is where retreading comes into play.

Often, retreading tires can be far more efficient than recycling them altogether. Tire tread is referred to as the most precious material for recycling, and casings can be reused multitude of times with new tread. The Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) based in United States cites several reasons why retreading is more advantageous than purchasing new tires.

Retreading increases lifetime of tires

Retreading allows to use less material to put tires back into the economic cycle. The process is beneficial to both environment and industry, as fewer resources are used to replace worn tread than to produce a new tire. At the same time, tire casings are reused multiple times before going to a recycling plant, which results in overall increase of tires’ lifetime.

Retreading is cheaper than producing new tires

As a rule, retreading tires requires fewer resources and less energy than new tire production. This not only diminishes production cost, but also benefits consumer who pays smaller price for tires. Usually, retreaded tires are 50% cheaper than new ones.

Retreaded tires undergo high quality control

The industry poses very high requirements to retreaded tires and before a casing is approved for further reuse, it is meticulously inspected to make sure it is not damage or worn out. Often, tire retreaders team up with major tire manufacturers to carry out testing and quality control of the product. Eventually, retreaded tires have equal quality and safety parameters as new ones.

Retreaded tires fulfil high safety standards

In fact, tire retreading is ubiquitous in everyday life. As a rule it is common for commercial airlines, military aircrafts, commercial trucking fleet, school buses, fire brigades, ambulance vehicles and other essential vehicles people rely on regularly. Safety of retreaded tires is confirmed by numerous researches. Among them is a study by the University of Michigan which has shown that the deciding factor in traffic safety is how well a tire is maintained by the driver regardless of whether the tire was retreaded.

Retreading improves environment

Synthetic rubber that makes up the bulk of every new tire is composed of oil. Even though new tread are also produced from synthetic rubber, the process takes significantly less oil than producing the new tire. Eventually, using retreaded tires is not only more financially beneficial, but also more environmentally responsible. It reduces use of oil, prevents tens of thousands of used tires from being landfilled or stockpiled, saves energy during production, provides jobs and returns precious material back into production chain.

The current state of tire retreading industry

Currently, uncertain and hard times lie ahead of the global retread industry, however experts expect bright spots and opportunities for further growth within the industry. The mission of the retreading industry has always been to deliver a product of high quality at an advantageous price and along with that to also contribute to the environment.

However, the economic part of retreading has been facing increasing pressure due to oversupply of cheap tires coming from China – an influx of cheap third- and fourth-tier products.

In United States, the retreading industry is under the close scrutiny of the Department of Commerce, which is expected to intervene and help the industry withstand destructive effects of cheap Chinese imports. Still, it is hard to rely on these measures only. Experts assert that increased awareness of public to the topic of retreading could help consumers make the right choice.

Similarly, in European Union and Latin America retreaded tires have also faced competition of imported lower-tier new tires. Because of this, the Global Retread Symposium in 2015 has been jointly hosted with the tire Industry Association (TIA) during the Global Tire Expo.

Retreading topics have been also raised in Asia, where the Asian Retread Conference took place in October 2016. The conference intended to bring together the best minds in tire retreading industry and share the best practices and technological advances, and pave the way to the future of tire retreading.

Experts say that changing regulations may also be helpful to support the industry; the key is that it shouldn’t be overly burdensome. In United States and Europe, tire retreading industry has done well with ensuring that safety and reliability remain top priorities. Tire Review reports that “Retreaders need to keep investing with their partners or in their own labs to develop superior compounds and tread designs, as well as investing in equipment, such as non-destructive testing (NDT) equipment, to improve both the inspection of tire casings and the finished product itself.”

Despite hard times in the retreading industry, some of the major tire manufacturers not only keep an eye on the industry, but also make efforts to take leading positions on the market. A recent example is the expansion of Marangoni Retreading Systems to Turkey.

According to an early 2017 press release by Marangoni, its Turkish expansion will increase dealer benefits and improve logistics services. Marangoni Retreading Systems have announced a significant development to their Turkish business interests which is to expand the company’s growing market share worldwide.

Marangoni Kauçuk opened a new warehouse and headquarters in Istanbul due to its strategic importance to tire retreading industry. This will give the company proximity to its network of dealers in Turkey. Additional benefit is logistics: the new location spans two continents and thus it will greatly benefit distributors. Whereas Turkey’s retread market is the sixth biggest in Europe, it’s second to Germany in the field of the cold retreading. Marangoni’s sales subsidiary ind Turkey “Kauçuk Ticaret” possesses impressive share of the domestic market which is expected to grow even more.

Another example of recent expansions is Continental that launched its first tire retreading plant in British Columbia, Canada. Headquartered in Hannover, Germany and is organized in the form of a publicly traded company, the tire manufacturer is renowned for its top-level technological expertise and extensive research background. Reportedly, retreading systems by Continental reuse each tire casing up to three times. Moreover, it recycles tread peelings from old tires for other purposes such as rubber mat manufacturing.

Still, to promote tire retreading industry, concerted efforts by both businesses and public sector need to be made. Sizable efforts have been made by the Tire Cologne: 19 out of 20 highest-revenue firms that made it to the new ‘Tire World Ranking List’ will take part in Tire Cologne, a world-known trade show, held in May 2018 in Cologne, Germany. The congress is going to serve as a platform for tire manufacturers and industries connected to tire recycling and retreading. Moreover, it will hold The Global Retreading Conference – the first congress to bring the entire international tire retreading industry together at one place. The conference will be organized in association with the European Retreading Association BIPAVER. Experts will showcase market data, new market developments, discussions of the future of tire retreading industry and most promising technologies.

To find out more about tire recycling and applications for recycled tire rubber, send us your inquiry to robert@weibold.com. We will be happy to help you build a flourishing tire recycling and pyrolysis business!

Links to our previous articles:

  1. Welcome to weibold! Academy
  2. weibold! Academy: Recycled Rubber Output Spectrum and Rubber Granulates
  3. weibold! Academy: Rubber Granulates, Rubber Powder, Tire Derived Steel and Tire Derived Fiber
  4. weibold! Academy: Tyre Recycling Value Chain
  5. weibold! Academy: Applications for Tyre Recycling Plant Output
  6. weibold! Academy: Rubber Granulate Applications
  7. weibold! Academy: Rubber Powder Applications – Rubber Industry
  8. weibold! Academy: Rubber Powder Applications – Surface Coatings
  9. weibold! Academy: Success Factors in the Tire Recycling Industry
  10. weibold! Academy: Understanding Tire Recycling Technology
  11. weibold! Academy: Total Quality Management in Tire Recycling
  12. weibold! Academy: Applications for Fibers from End-of-Life Tires
  13. weibold! Academy: Safety and health effects of crumb rubber infill in artificial turf
  14. weibold! Academy: Tire pyrolysis – products and applications
  15. weibold! Academy: Tire-derived fuel in cement production
  16. weibold! Academy: How to improve tire collection in small cities
  17. weibold! Academy: How to prevent tire fires
  18. weibold! Academy: Recycled tires in railroad construction
  19. weibold! Academy: Basics about tire-derived fuel
  20. weibold! Academy: Waste tires in civil engineering
  21. weibold! Academy: How to create your own sandals from used tires
  22. Weibold Academy: Sustainable rubber powder composites
  23. Weibold Academy: How recycled tires enhance safety of children on playgrounds
  24. Weibold Academy: Recycled tires in footwear manufacturing