Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Retread Tyres May be Back in Vogue as Technology Moves On

Haulage Industry Promised Safer and Greener Option
Shipping News Feature

UK – Mention retreaded tyres to a road haulage operator and you may get one of two very different reactions. This Marmite like quality stems usually from personal experience with many a professional driver familiar with the 'alligators' sometimes seen on the medians and hard shoulders of our motorways.

With all HGVs now speed limited the stripping of tread from carcass really should not be a problem, but prejudices tend to last a long time. The benefits however of retread tyres will impress many in terms of cost and environmental benefits.

Now 70 year old British company Vaculug, and claimed as Europe’s largest independent retreader, has come up with the world’s first ‘A’ rated retread tyre, according to EU tyre labelling laws. The company, which manufactures and handles tyre management for some of the top transportation fleets in Europe, including Aldi Supermarkets and Amazon, says it is producing a tyre tested to the same standards as the best new tyres and beating them on performance.

Despite the fact the retread tyres are not required to have ratings, Vaculug decided to have their new product manufactured and tested to the same standards as the best new products to evidence their superiority to brand new tyres. By integrating a high percentage of silica in the tread, Vaculug has succeeded in pushing the limits of rolling resistance to save on fuel, without compromising the tyres longevity. Choosing the A rated KT01 tyre over an F rated tyre can significantly reduce a fleet’s carbon emissions by 1200 tonnes and lower fuel costs by £475,000 per annum according to average figures based on a 100 strong fleet, each covering 100,000 kilometres per annum.

In addition to this new innovation, Vaculug have appointed Kaya Axelsson to develop their sustainability strategy and to formulate their path to net zero emissions. Axelsson is the Net Zero Policy Engagement Fellow at Oxford University, where she works to support the practical application of net zero research insights. Axelsson leads a team of researchers to aggregate and clearly communicate resources for defining and achieving this goal. She has also helped to develop the University of Oxford's own sustainability strategy, including its pathway to net zero.

Vaculug says it is the first retreader in Europe to publicly affirm its commitment to net zero and have a policy in place in the next quarter with a milestone to achieve this before 2030. Harjeev Kandhari, Executive Chairman of Vaculug comments:

“We are excited say that the World's first and only ‘A’ rated retreaded tyre has been developed by a British company here in the UK. This tyre was fully developed by our internal research and development team based in Grantham, Lincolnshire. We set a goal of developing a retread that was as good as the best fuel-efficient new tyres on the market and we're proud to say that we have beaten this milestone.”

However times are changing rapidly in the haulage industry and elsewhere and Vaculug says it is also working on developing a new retread specifically for the electric truck. Kandhari explains:

“Electric vehicle tyres carry a heavier load and have to withstand instant torque, leading to higher tyre wear, so we need to create a stronger sidewall and use more robust rubber compounds. Greater mass and increased inertia means longer braking distance, so we place a special emphasis on optimal grip.

”We are working on developing a new tyre in Grantham with our internal research and development team to ensure that our treads work on this basis. We have already worked on this with our rubber supplier partners to have these treads tested in live environments in California and hope to release the tyre in the UK in Q3 of this year.”

Photo: Local MP Gareth Davies tours the Vaculug factory with Executive Chairman Harjeev Kandhari.