Kal Tire UK prove it takes more than just rubber to produce quality retread earthmover tyres
- 05 May 2012
- Company & Industry News
Retread manufacturing at Kal Tire Mining Tire Group's UK plant has shown that despite global raw material costs increasing and a major shortage of good casings to retread, a quality product will always be in demand, with more than 1.3 million pounds of rubber compound used and in excess of 3,000 tyres produced over the past 12 months.
Whilst the actual manufacturing output has shown the results for the year, it is the
infrastructure that has been put in place over the past three years, the initiatives introduced and adhered to and the performance of the manufacturing team, that have all contributed to the outstanding results.
The manufacturing facility, located at Kal Tire's UK head office, near Alfreton, Derbyshire, houses state of the art retreading machinery. New mould matrixs, satisfy customer demand for different tyre size tread patterns plus a refurbished semi automatic tyre builder to work alongside the recently purchased fully automated builder, take the value of the equipment to in excess of £4million.
"We have a continual improvement programme in the factories" said UK and Ghana
Manufacturing Manager Wayne Cornell "and we will continue to look and find ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole process".
Introduced 3 years ago into the Alfreton factory following research and development by UK Managing Director Darren Flint, the LEAN initiative has made a significant contribution to performance since then.
The core components of the initiative centre around the '5 S's philosophy' – sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain. Darren Flint added "We are delighted with the way the manufacturing team have taken the initiative on to improve many aspects of the factory. The bottom line is simple – reduce all forms of 'waste' be that material waste, effort, energy, time etc. – it is a case of recognising where there is waste, and doing something about it".
Whilst accepting that the manufacturing process of retreading earthmover and mining tyres will always generate 'waste', what Kal Tire have indentified and reacted upon is that this discarded material (primarily rubber compound 'crumb' buffed from the tyres prior to retreading or repair) may have a secondary use.
Hysteresis testing has been introduced for a trial period to determine if the reclaimed materials can be reused, together with other raw materials and compounds, in the manufacturing process.
As Wayne Cornell said "This initiative again highlights Kal Tire's continual commitment towards recycling and environmental efficiency – after all, 'retreading is recycling'."
The global nature of the Kal Tire Mining Tire Group is such that the transfer of manufacturing or service principles, together with products and supplies, has opened many new avenues for process improvements.
Large tyre injuries have always been a concern – the side wall or tread damage that exposes or breaks large areas of the tyres infrastructure has always been a major health and safety issue.
Perhaps more prevalent in the North American mining environment, Canadian tyre repair
component specialists have started a 'major injuries' training programme for Kal Tire's UK repair technicians and a number of tyres will be out on trial shortly. "If these larger repairs prove successful then again, we will be giving our customer the chance to extend their tyre life, at a fraction of the replacement cost" said Wayne Cornell.