Home Cover Story Collaborative efforts will unpuzzle the EVs tyre challenge

Collaborative efforts will unpuzzle the EVs tyre challenge

Collaborative efforts will unpuzzle the EVs tyre challenge

Indian Automotive Industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. In global ranking, Indian Automotive Industry has gone several notches up in the last one decade and currently counts as the fourth largest in the world. The industry is expected to become the third largest by the year 2022. India overtook China to become the largest 2-Wheeler manufacturer in the world a couple of years ago. In manufacturing of Tractors too, India ranks at the top in the world. In Bus segment, India ranks 2nd while in case of Heavy Trucks, the country ranks 3rd in the world. So India holds an important place on the automotive map of the world. Anshuman Singhania, Vice President, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), discusses raw material situation, sustainable supply chain and challenges in the Indian tyre industry.

Tell us the raw material situation
in India?

Sharp growth in rubber consumption in recent years has changed India’s sustained position in raw materials. Natural Rubber (NR) is a key raw material accounting for 40 per cent of the total production cost of a tyre in India. The country is second largest in consumption of NR after China. In the year 2018 while China’s NR consumption went up by 5 per cent, India’s NR consumption went up by
20 per cent.

In NR production, however, India’s rank has slipped to 6th in the world. The domestic NR production consumption gap is widening in India as production has been slackening in the last few years for a variety of reasons. The state of Kerala which accounts for more than 80 per cent NR production in the country has reached saturation stage in terms of the area covered. However, North East India has large untapped potential for increasing NR production. ATMA is studying North East India for evaluating the NR potential and has submitted its recommendations to the Government. Tripura being second largest rubber producer in the country and parleys are on with State administration.

Indian Tyre Industry has shown its commitment towards the same by aligning with Rubber Board of India in improving quality of rubber produced.

What challenges are faced by the tyre industry? How to overcome them?

India, Japan and Europe and similarly other nations have their respective tyre industry associations which have time and again worked together for overcoming challenges. The focus areas where different for different nations, though, end-of-life of tyre management, issues in tyre safety and environment and regulations have been some key areas. Tyre labelling and development of tyres for electric vehicles are some areas where associations have jointly collaborated through cooperation.

Looking at the technicalities, development of EV tyres is a challenging task. EVs have higher capacity in terms of pick up. This may exert more pressure on the tyres. Additionally, EV batteries add on to the weight. Building a suitable tyre is a daunting task but the last 10 years played a vital role in designing tyres for EV. EV tyres demand solutions that strike a balance between grip and sustain high speed which puts tyre makers to keep on testing and try new methods to a solution. However, collaborative efforts will unpuzzle the EVs tyre challenge.

How is tyre industry making its supply chain sustainable?

As you know, tyre manufacturing is a complex business. A significantly large number of raw-materials go into making a tyre. Moreover, for the most part, tyre is a continuous process industry. So it is essential that supply chain is secured.

Being capital and employment intensive, makes it more critical that manufacturing process in a tyre plant continues uninterrupted. Any interruption could impact competitiveness. Under such circumstances, tyre companies have devised ways and means to secure supplies of raw materials. A variety of inventory management software and technologies such as just-in-time are being extensively used. ATMA Supply Chain & Resources Group, one of the 4 key experts groups, studies the supply chain scenario continuously.

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