A case for casings
Truck and OTR tire casings are in short supply, particularly out of Japan. That was the case even before an earthquake and tsunami devastated the country in March. Now, it’s just worse.
“Truck casings will continue to be in short supply,” says Mike Berra, president of Community Tire Co. in St. Louis, Mo. In particular, size 11R22.5 casings are “next to impossible to get in any quantity.”
One retreader in the Midwest estimates 11R22.5 casing prices rose more than 18% the first three months of this year. Size 295/75R22.5 casing prices were up more than 21% over that same span.
Both new OTR tires and used OTR casings also are in demand, and not just the large or giant sizes, says Berra. “I’m talking 29.5’s, sizes that are mainstream.”
And it’s a global problem. “Domestically, what we make is what we get.”
Despite the lack of casings, Community Tire is adding small OTR tire retreading capacity and new tread patterns for existing sizes. It ranks 30th on the “MTD Top 100 Retreaders in the U.S.” list (information on the list is based on production in 2010).
Community Tire is not the only Top 100 retreader to invest in plant production in 2011.
Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems LLC, a subsidiary of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., is number one on our list. Its 37 plants retread 6,180 truck tires a day, or 167 a day per plant.
Wingfoot plans to increase each plant’s units-per-day efficiency while maintaining a low manufacturing cost.
“This includes investing in the plants to add productive equipment, improving plant through-put by streamlining the steps in the production process, and expanding select plants to better serve our customers,” says Mark Totten, Wingfoot’s vice president of marketing.
Snider Tire Inc. (Greensboro, N.C., 5th), will open a plant in Greensboro on May 1. It will be Snider’s sixth Michelin Retread Technologies plant.
McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 9th) is adding equipment at all six of its retread plants. That includes builders, buffers and chambers, and “hand-helds for field operations,” says Vice President Neil Horn. In addition, the Wilkes-Barre plant is updating its computer-related systems.
B.R. Retreading (Glasgow, Ky., 12th) is adding radial OTR tire molds. It is the third largest OTR tire retreader in the U.S.
Service Tire Truck Centers (Bethlehem, Pa., 15th) bought Avenel, N.J.-based Perth Amboy Tire in February. The acquisition increases the company’s plant total from three to four. “We have added extra equipment in our York, Pa., location to move production up to 500 per day,” adds CEO and President Ron Bennett.
Belle Tire Distributors (Allen Park, Mich., 19th) is upgrading equipment in its Bandag plants. Tom Bowman, vice president of the commercial division, says the company is well-situated to increase production, take on new customers and provide “the best level of service in the industry, without compromising customer service.”
“We will also continue to provide retread plant tours for new prospects, new customers, and our current customers, not only giving them the understanding of the overall process, but also giving them the knowledge and the understanding of the technology of retreading.”
Parkhouse Tire Inc. (Bell Gardens, Calif., 21st) has added its fifth shearography machine and its third model 4150 quick cure chamber.
The new equipment is part of the company’s goal to “continue to grow business in our existing (two) facilities and constantly seek to improve quality and efficiency, utilizing the latest in technology and machinery,” says Jason Smith, director of manufacturing.
H&H Industries Inc. (Oak Hill, Ohio, 23rd), one of the largest OTR tire retreaders in the country, wants to expand its customer base. President Noah Hickman says the company wants to expand further south and west, “and increase our export business.”
Craft Tire Inc. (Uniontown, Pa., 33rd) CEO Mark Goodes says the company is thinking about buying a new large OTR tire builder for its Shrader’s plant in Greenville, Ohio. (Craft purchased the assets of Shrader’s Inc. in 2003.) “It appears that we will have to increase plant employees soon. We have been working overtime to handle the increased production.”
Sullivan Tire Co. Inc. purchased Connecticut’s largest commercial truck tire retreader, Bergson Tire Co. Inc., in January. The acquisition gives Sullivan four plants and increases its capacity by more than 100 tires a day.
Morton Supplies Inc. (Morton, Ill., 41st) moved 20 spots on the list, thanks to an increase in its daily truck tire retread production. “Our max capacity is 393,” says owner Fred Schmidgall. “We hope to get to over 500 within two years.”
Colony Tire Corp. (Edenton, N.C., 44th) also is adding equipment, according to CEO Charlie Creighton. Colony Tire was the biggest mover on the “Top 100” list, jumping 36 spots
Sumerel Tire Service (Newport, Ky., 73rd) is adding a tire plant, its second. The precure plant, located in northwest Ohio near Findlay, will do business as Hancock County Tire and Retreading. It also will distribute Acutread mold cure retreads from Sumerel Tire’s plant in Newport.
Black’s Tire Service (Whiteville, N.C., 77th) added a new repair station to its retread plant in Clarkton, N.C. Jeremy Benton, vice president of commercial sales, says the upgrade will help the repair section flow better. The company also added a monorail.
Not all the top retreaders are adding shops or equipment. Jerry Bauer, president of Bauer Built Inc. in Durand, Wis., says his seven truck tire retread plants give him adequate capacity. Bauer Built, the 14th largest domestic retreader, retreads an average of 940 truck tires a day.
“In spite of the economic forecast, we plan to figure out a way to sell more retreads than we did in 2010.”
See the Top 100 Retreaders chart here