Six Retreading Experts Peer 10 Years into the Future

Bob Ulrich
Posted on October 1, 2019

“Where do you see the retread market in 10 years?” That is the question Kevin Rohlwing, the Tire Industry Association’s senior vice president of training, asked industry experts as part of his article on the retread market for our October issue.

His story, “Night and Day changes: Compared to 1996, retreads – and retreaders – are better than ever,” chronicles the evolution of truck tire retreading in the last 23 years. It is part of our Past, Present, Future series honoring Modern Tire Dealer’s 100th anniversary.

Kevin provided the “past” and “present” part of the coverage mostly from experience. He added thoughts from Edd Burleson, president of Central Marketing Inc. and the 2019 Ed Wagner Industry Leadership Award recipient, on the different ways retreading equipment has changed and will continue to change.

'Specialty vehicle applications will continue to feed the large truck and small OTR and construction trades.' Joe Casebere, Rema Tip Top North America

And then he asked experts from several Tread Rubber and Tire Repair Material Manufacturers’ Group (TRMG) member companies to provide their outlook on the current and future state of retreading. Overall, they described the present state of retreading with words like “solid,” “stable” and “steady.”

Their answers to Kevin’s question above were saved for this blog. The experts were Clif Armstrong, CEO and president of Marangoni Tread North America Inc.; Robbie Bushnell, vice president, tire repair products, Group 31 Inc.; Joe Casebere, technical general manager, Rema Tip Top North America Inc.; LaTres Jarrett, director of marketing, Bandag, U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC; Bob Majewski, vice president and technical director, Acutread Alliance Group; and Karl Remec, business model leader, Michelin North America Inc.

Here are their answers to the question, “Where do you see the retread market in 10 years?

Armstrong: The current tariff discussions bring retreading to the forefront at the fleet level. Fleets will again see the value of retreading as a cost savings. Fleets will buy tires as assets versus one-time use, throw-away products, and retread using a quality retread/retreader will realize these cost savings. The retread leads in environmental discussions, as well. As we move to a true circular economy, retreading will become even more important.

Bushnell: I see the retread market in 10 years continuing to grow as more people see and experience the high-quality retreads that are being put on the road today. Some of these retreaded tires are outlasting the original tread, but we must continue to educate users and improve the image of truck tire retreading and repairing.

Casebere: The high influx of Class 3 Sprinter trucks will multiply the need for heavy-ply, 17- through 19- inch retreads and is the only segment in transportation that will directly benefit retreaders with new volume. This class of truck will negatively affect the traditional 22.5-inch medium-duty tire market. Specialty vehicle applications will continue to feed the large truck and small OTR and construction trades.

Jarrett: We anticipate the retread market will evolve to support the megatrends and changes we’re already starting to see in the commercial transportation industry. As autonomous vehicles become part of the transportation ecosystem, variabilities due to driver behavior are reduced, and eventually eliminated. This means tires will wear more evenly, preserving casing life and ensuring more tires are fit for retreading. Many fleets are making global commitments to sustainability, and retreads can play a key role in the ability of fleets to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. Bridgestone is committed to growing the value proposition of retreading for fleets of all sizes, as we believe it is an important part of the equation, on many levels, for the future of mobility solutions.

Majewski: This will depend on the supply, pricing and quality of Chinese tires in the future and the mindset of the end user. Today’s end user is all about lowest initial cost and not true tire cost when the tire runs out, and it’s very hard to change their minds. They also have the mindset about the quality of retreading getting worse. If we don’t keep the quality up in our plants, we could be our own worst enemy. I believe we need to have an age limit on casings of no more than 10 years max for retreading, and personally, I think it should be eight years. Some states are now going to five-year max on casings that will eliminate retreading if this catches on everywhere.

Remec: Retreading will continue to be a positive contributor to lowering fleet operating costs and the environment. New tire manufacturers will continue to develop new tires with casings designed to be retreaded multiple times. Retreading will remain as a key driver in managing fleet operating costs and in positively contributing to a healthier environment.

To read both of Kevin's stories in the digital editon of MTD's October issue, click here.

Related Topics: 100th anniversary, Bob Majewski, Clif Armstrong, Edd Burleson, Joe Casebere, Karl Remec, Kevin Rohlwing, LaTres Jarrett, retreading, Robbie Bushnell, TIA

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