Cashing in: H&H Industries, Walters Tire ramp up OTR repair and retreading services
This is the second in a two-part series about large OTR tire repair. The first part appeared in the February issue.
Two companies that are cashing in on the shortage of large OTR tires by offering repairs and retreading are H&H Industries Inc. of Oak Hill, Ohio, and Walters Tire Service Inc. of Somerset, Pa.
H&H Industries is based in Ohio but has accounts throughout the rest of the United States, Canada, South America and even Africa, says H&H Vice President Noah Hickman.
Company executives log thousands of miles yearly searching the globe for off-the-road casings.
H&H Industries has four autoclaves ranging from 120 inches to 160 inches. The largest was purchased in 1997 and is used to kettle cure 57- and 63-inch tires. The company produced 5,000 units in 2006, a 10% increase from the previous year.
H&H Industries was started in 1970 by Mike Hickman, Noah's father. Ken Daniels, its co-owner and general manager, is a recognized expert in OTR tire repair. He has designed several repair patches for 57- and 63-inch tires that have been produced by one of H&H Industries' suppliers, Patch Rubber Co.
H&H Industries also has developed its own OTR precure retreading process and was procure retreading OTR sizes “well before anyone else in the market,” says Hickman. We have just recently used this process to procure retread 37.00R57 and 40.00R57 size tires specifically for use in high heat applications,” Hickman says.
"When the OTR shortage began, our customers were running tires as normal. Then they started to ask our shop to do more repairs -- even repairs we shouldn't do."
"Our main goal is safety, so we have to set limits. However, our customers are now realizing the significance of their investment in OTR tires."
Walters Tire Service President Jim Walters reports his OTR tire repair and retreading business is extremely busy. His company has seen a 30% increase in business from rock quarries, ports, scrap yards, landfills, coal mines and other industries that use tires ranging in size from 24 to 63 inches.
Walters Tire Service will repair 3,000 OTR tires this year, he predicts, and will use 2.5 million pounds of rubber to retread OTR tires.
With all of the new tire repair technologies coming out, there are still limitations on what can be done, according to Walters.
But customers are being more cautious with their tires and are doing what it takes to make them last. That results in longer use and better casings when they get to the point of retreading, he says.
It all adds up: Measuring the size of an injury
OTR tire repairs are limited by the patches that are available to fix them. Patches are limited to what makes sense for a safe repair. Here's an example of how to determine the patch size needed to repair a bias tire:
Injury length = 6 inches
Injury width = 2 inches
Total size of injury = 8 inches
Ply = 32
Patch size needed = 21.5 inches x 21.5 inches
Ply = 28
Patch size needed = 19.5 inches x 19.5 inches
Whether or not a radial tire can be repaired is based on how many steel body cords are damaged and have to be taken out, says Jim Walters, president of Walters Tire Service Inc. in Somerset, Pa. Location of the injury also plays a part.