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Sept 2011:Retreaded tyres - is it a solution to rising rubber prices

In recent months the rate at which the prices of natural and synthetic rubber have been rising, has resulted in alarm bells ringing across the Tyre Industry in UK. The Retread Manufacturers Association (RMA) has very emphatically put forth the idea of vast usage of retreaded tyres as a sure and cost effective way of dealing with the increasing prices.

Managing Director of Bandvulc Tyres Ltd, Patrick O'Connell, said the recent trend seen in the rising rubber prices has been unprecedented so far. It was not that the rubber prices have never risen before. But the huge jump in prices that is being witnessed for both natural and synthetic rubber had never occurred before in the last forty years.

He further expressed his concern, that apart from the price rise of rubber, serious problems were also occurring in the supply chain of the same causing further price rise.

The Tyre Industry is one hundred percent dependent upon rubber supply, and its shortfall directly raises the cost of manufacturing the tyres. The new tyre manufacturers are slow to react to this short fall, as their cost accounting models tend to show the correlation quite late.

The effects of El Nino have further compounded the problem as storms related to it have hampered the collection of natural rubber from the rubber trees.

In such a scenario the importance of retreaded rubber for usage in the Tyre Industry cannot be undermined. David Wilson, Director of Retread Manufacturers Association (RMA) has shown his concern at the shortage of raw materials for the tyre industry. He therefore emphasised the importance of retreaded tyres as an effective means to check this shortage as it reduces the need of purchasing fresh supply, thereby checking price rise of manufactured tyres.

During the year 2010, the retreaded tyre industry has seen a rise of 5% to 10% in UK alone. This shows that its acceptance as a substitute for fresh supply has risen. Apart from its direct effect on the price front, it also acts as an environmental shield protecting further degradation of the rubber trees and this in an indirect way is helping in reducing the carbon foot prints.

A recent study was undertaken by the carbon footprint specialists ‘Best Foot Forward’ under the aegis of Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse, who found that the retreaded tyre required 68 litres less oil; and a 17.5" retreaded tyre produced 60.5 kg of CO2 as compared to a new tyre which produces nearly 86.9kg of CO2. This is a saving of 26.8kg which comes down to a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Patrick O'Connell, who is also the present Chairman of RMA, further commented that seeing the environmental friendly nature of retreated tyres, the Association was trying very hard to remove all prejudices against it. It’s overall benefit in cost reduction of tyre manufacturing units and environmental degradation should motivate the Tyre Industry to incorporate it fully.

Tyre Shopper will be keep a close eye on the developments regards to retreading and advise consumers appropiately on any development that occurs in this area.