The new products are fundamental to the company’s growth
BKT (Balkrishna Industries Limited), manufacturer of Off Highway Tyres (OHT), has launched two new radials for high-speed cranes and dump trucks. The 445/95R/25 has been developed for high-speed cranes, which are often required to undertake inter-city journeys, and the 1800 R33 caters to dump trucks. The new products are fundamental to BKT’s growth strategy, which is targeting ten per cent share of the world OHT market by 2015, from the current five per cent.
Dilip Vaidya, President and Head of Technology, BKT, claims that such tyres are manufactured only by his company in India. “Cranes are normally heavy machines and to move these, we need high quality tyres. Keeping this in mind we have developed the 445/95R/25 tyre, which can run at a speed of 80 kmph. The new 1800 R33 tyres are basically used in dump trucks. Earlier we had our bias tyre; now we have introduced this radial tyre, which has less failure rate and 80 per cent better life compared to the older tyre.”
The 445/95R/25 tyre has unique tread pattern that facilitates simultaneous achievement of these diverse outcomes. BKT has created a continuous rib on the tyre’s sides to facilitate higher speeds. It has also developed three blocks of ribs in the tyre’s mid section to boost traction. Vaidya said, “while developing this tyre, we kept in mind that when the tyres are running at higher speeds the tyre temperature and NVH levels should be less, since these tyres are mostly used in European markets. We have developed this tyre indigenously in our R&D centre located in Bhuj.”
According to TKPH (Tonnes Kilometre Per Hour) parameters, BKT offers the products in three variants – Cut Resistant, Temperature Resistant, and Standard. Cut-Resistant tyres help optimise the truck’s performance in limestone mines, for instance, where sharp boulders and ill-maintained roads are common. On the other hand, Temperature Resistant tyres fit the bill where high speed is desired. The Standard tyres balance both these considerations. To manufacture these different kinds of tyres specific compounding is the key.
Rajiv Poddar, Executive Director of BKT, said, “Our aim and vision is to become a one-stop shop for all users of off-road tyres. So we are slowly and steadily increasing our range to fulfil this entire category. Our extensive R&D and technological capability drives a constant programme of new product development activity. Since we compete with global tyre giants, we always have to have an edge over technology to compete with international players in the market. If you look at all-steel OTR radial tyres, we are the pioneers from India.”
BKT established its first manufacturing plant in Aurangabad in 1988 to make small tyres. The production of off-highway tyres kicked off only in 1995, primarily to cater to overseas customers. A steady growth in business led to the setting up of a second production site in Bhiwadi in 2002. A couple of years later, production of tyre moulds kicked off in Dombivali, near Mumbai. In 2005, the third production site at Chopanki started operations. Currently the installed capacity of BKT is 160,000 metric tonnes per annum across its plants in Aurangabad, Bhiwadi and Chopanki and Bhuj. The Bhuj plant has recently been commissioned and would be ramped up to full capacity by 2015, following which the total annual capacity is set to reach 280,000 metric tonnes.
Poddar added, “The future is radial. We have already put up a new facility with major emphasis on radials. This will also produce Ultra large OTR tyres up to 51″ rim diameter. Tyres up to 35″ rim diameter in Radial OTR segment are already available and in the agricultural segment we have radials up to 54”. He continued, “Recently, we started operations at the Bhuj plant at an investment of Rs 2,200 crore. We will be reaching the full production capacity of the plant in the next couple of months, which is more than 350 metric tonnes per day. Thus, over the next few months, the total
manufacturing capacity for BKT will be more than 700 metric tonnes per day.”
Ninety per cent of the company’s production is sold in the export market, and a major portion goes to the aftermarket and rest sold to OEMs like Terex, Valtra, Same Deutz Fahr International, CNH, Kalmar, Kubota and Komatsu. In the domestic market, BKT supplies to JCB, ECEL, John Deere and Same Deutz Fahr.
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