By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Ladoux, France -- Luc Minguet, president of Michelin's global OTR tyre activity said he does not expect to see any reduction in demand for premium, large-diameter mining tyres in the mid-term. â€œWe do not see any problems at all in the next 5 - 6 years for premium [Large-diameter] tyres," he said.
Minguet said that the smaller tyres used in cranes and other heavy vehicles are likely to see some decline in demand, but it was too early to say how much of a slow down or how long it will last. â€œIn the smaller tyres we think there will be a slowdown, but we still do not know exactly what will happen. When things improve again, we'll add more capacity.â€
Minguet said the global demand for premium 63-inch off-road mining tyres is around 20 000 units/year, and this is undersupplied by about 30 -percent at present. Furthermore, as the mining vehicle manufacturers add more vehicles to take these tyres to their respective ranges, the demand is unlikely to ease. â€œIf we look at projections of mining trucks at OE, then we do not expect any slowdown in these big tyres,â€ he said.
Minguet said that some mine operators are using cross-ply tyres or lower-specification tyres on their trucks and operating them at below maximum payload capacity, in order to keep them running. He said these low-specification tyres are not included in his market estimation for premium products.