BLACK LINE ACCELERATES PREMIUM RETREADS
MARANGONI RETREADING SYSTEMS’ NEW LINE
Making its debut is the new range of rings for cold-retreading truck tyres: with the promise of performance comparable to the most durable and fuel-efficient new tyres, within three years the 9 new treads should account for 40% of revenues from the Trentino group’s pre-cured products
Mino De Rigo
ITS LAUNCH was announced well in advance last June and now on the market is the new Black Line range, rings in the Ringtread family, the top cold-retreading products with the Marangoni label. Industrialized and made first at the factory in Henstedt-Ulzburg near Hamburg, which means that the symbiosis between Italian innovation and Teutonic hi-tech has already begun, the debuting Black Line reconfirms the technological commitment by the group based in Trentino. “The tangible outcome” – emphasized Massimo De Alessandri, CEO of the Marangoni holding – “of early developments planned in September 2011, when we decided to change the name of the company from Ellerbrock to Marangoni Retreading Systems Deutschland”. On the one hand, the gradual recovery of the European retread market over the past five years and, on the other, a growing request from fleets to combine reliability and cost reduction for the entire life cycle and make retreads an increasingly valid alternative to new tyres: these are the trends that should strengthen the wind that fills the new series’ sails.
More demand for premium pre-cures
“Not only because of the enormous steps that have been taken in the retreading potential of casings” – added Marangoni marketing manager Giovanni De Bei – “to which all premium manufacturers are committed, but also market segmentation primarily rewards retreads of a superior quality. The yearly increase is between 5% and 10% and an ever-bigger share is being taken from new tyres”. And the fact is that low-cost tyres are no longer as economical as they used to be. However, there is a wide and various offer of pre-cured products in Europe, where the most expensive can be double the price of the cheapest for the same application.
“The demand for state-of-the-art retreads has grown and no longer focuses on price per tyre but on the total cost of ownership, with fuel economy and shorter downtimes first on the list”. The new Black Line is at the top of an offer with flagship products in the Ringtread family. From the premium and standard segments to budget treads, it includes the Profil Liner Kontur, Profil Liner and Unitread series.
Beyond conventional retreading
Giuseppe Ferrari, managing director of the Marangoni Retreading Systems division, said: “The new range guarantees our retreading customers optimum margins and, above all, retreaded tyres of a quality that means they can be used for applications that were unimaginable previously; from low section tyres, which are becoming increasingly popular, to applications that conventional retreading cannot satisfy.” The sales channel for the Ringtread Black Line is Ringnet, a widespread European network of retreading firms that can use it on selected casings, with no restrictions with regard to brands or provenance. To this end, retreaders must carry out bead-to-bead shearography inspections with a three-lens interferometry system for showing all the defects, use a tri-axle rasping machine with programmed controls (to eliminate all traces of unwanted rubber), spread a direct-extrusion substrate on the casing for the purpose of reliability, and apply the rings by using builders in the Ringtreader series that will automatically align them.
“The new materials and processing technologies” – Ferrari added – “have all the prerequisites for satisfying more sophisticated and demanding customers. For fleets we promise fuel cost containment first and foremost, thanks to the new generation compounds used for Black Line products, and we also guarantee a comprehensive package of services. The compounds’ ingredients are at the same level as those used for products that come straight from the factory and the mould technology is also new”.
New and thrifty ring treads
A total of nine new ring treads are meant, primarily, for long distance and regional use (from the big RTA-E tyres with low rolling resistance, to the RDG101 all-season regional tyres, via the thrifty Energeco+ for drive axles); two tread patterns are for urban and suburban public transport (Bus100 and Bus400) and, of course, there is a model for quarries and construction sites (Mix100). Four types of compounds are used for the new rings, named respectively and very appropriately, roll, long, grip and strong. The director of research and development, Angelo Priori, explained:
“The objective for the new line was to increase mileage by 15%, thanks to a low-abrasion compound, reduce rolling resistance by at least 10%, contain consumption by 3% and increase grip by 10%; for the on-off tread, to increase resistance by 20%. We achieved this with new materials, more natural rubber content, carbon black reinforcement for which we have optimized dispersion in the compound by improving bonding”.
A new-generation compound
With regard to rolling resistance, the engineers have differentiated low- and high-frequency hysteresis by working on the structure of the mix and, in particular, on the carbon black and silica coupling. “The new tread accounts for about 20% of a tyre’s weight, but it is responsible for almost half of its rolling resistance. Optimization was needed to achieve retreads at the top of the category”. “All the more so” – Ferrari added – “because saving 3% in fuel basically means zeroing the cost of retreading”.
For typical long haul journeys, on average Black Line rings promise to match the performance of “greener” new tyres and to save about one euro for every 100 km compared to the same treads of the previous generation. Which, on the other hand, cost between 5% and 10% less. “By the end of the year, we expect that the Black Line range will account for 7% of the total tread volume and over 10% of total revenues; from now until 2015, the figures should be 30% in volume and 40% in value”.
• A global business for Mrs
Backed up by 6 factories, with 600 employees, two of which in Italy and the others in Germany, the United States, Brazil and Argentina, Marangoni Retreading Systems (MRS) is the division of the homonymous group that operates in the tyre retreading materials and technology sector. It has an annual turnover of around €200 million, 60% of which comes from Europe (the rest from outside the Old Continent), where the MRS business unit leads the market with a share of over 25% for cold-retreaded truck tyres. The top family in the product offer is the Ringtread series for which there is a constant commitment to research and innovation. In the past two and a half years, Marangoni has invested a total of about €6 million in expanding the Alpha-Ring plants to increase production capacity. It has allocated another €1 million not only for the production of the new Black Line, but also for new moulds and product tests.