Significant investment in retreading equipment is being brought into the company’s UK franchised Bandag network and factories, said Bridgestone’s north region truck & bus product manager Terry Salter.
The response to the EU’s decision to apply duties to commercial Chinese imports has been immediate, Salter also pointed out.
“There has been a direct and positive reaction amongst our network of Bandag dealers,” he said. “Four franchisees have already started recruiting additional staff to support an increase in production.
“Meanwhile, production at our Bulldog factory in Bourne is also being scaled up by 25% to meet demand.”
The UK operation has benefited from a sustained investment programme, said Bridgestone. This, it noted, includes new buffing, building and inspection equipment being ordered for rapid installation in the last six weeks.
At Bridgestone’s Bulldog factory in Lincolnshire, a new tire-pressure chamber, shearography machine, 10 bar pressure tester and envelope spreader have all been purchased.
The Bandag network, it added, has invested in extruder-builder, pressure-tester, buffer-upgrade and nail-hole-detection machines and introduced Bridgestone’s BASys casing and production control system.
The system is said to provide the ability to track a tire from the point it is removed from service at the fleet, through the return of the tire to the production facility, and then through each stage of the production process and finally the return of the transformed product back to service.
BASys, which was installed at Bulldog in early 2017, replaces a paper-based system and works off cloud-based technology and offers additional reporting benefits for commercial fleets.
Despite the retread market being “notoriously difficult” to forecast, Salter concluded: “We predict a sustained investment into retreaded products across the industry.”