MARANGONI - BETTING ON INNOVATION
8 million Euro investments between 2014 and 2017, from the Modular Tyre Manufacturing system to the new Banbury, passing through specific truck tread designs: it is an opportunity to consider, with the management of the Rovereto based company, the prospects for the current year
Mino De Rigo
Lengthening the stride during difficult times is what leaders, determined to push ahead, do. And if innovation is a measure of the will to excel, here is the route plan until 2017 drawn up by the Marangoni Group: automation is increasingly driven by new production processes that can now boast an unprecedented Modular Tyre Manufacturing system for the retreading of truck tires, as well as a new hi-tech visual inspection spreaders and curing presses capable of accommodating 12 sector cylindrical molds, thereby improving the uniformity of the product, along with internal processes able to make manufacturing quicker and smother, as well as increasing the “cold” curing production capacity. Then, in the pipeline, a mixer for the latest generation of high-performance compounds, the introduction of shearography to check large earth moving tires, and above all, with a preview, during the upcoming Autopromotec show in Bologna, of the new truck tread designs that, in 18 months, will lead to a 70% renovation of the range. Innovations in both production processes and product range, as part of a multi-annual plan of investments totaling 8 million euro, aimed at raising, through automation, flexibility and efficiency on the one hand and production standards on the other. "The focus of this enormous effort - said Brenno Benaglia, commercial director of the Marangoni commercial & industrial tires division - is summed up in the pursuit of global quality. We are working around the clock to bring our retreads at the same level of the latest new tires made by the leading manufacturers. "
Modular Tyre Manufacturing
"Quality and reliability are elements taken for granted nowadays and the market demand is pressing both in terms of mileage, grip and low rolling resistance, as well as on the aesthetics of retreaded products". A necessary effort, considering the strong development of new tires and an increasingly competitive scenario in which Asian budget products are often cheaper than retreads. "We have to guarantee more to our customers both in economic terms and performance, with the option of multiple retreads on premium casings. And in this specific sector we are leading the way".
The Modular Tyre Manufacturing system is in fact a prototype: managed by a dedicated software that allows you to create profiles in an interactive way, this work station operates with four extruders serving an industrial robot which applies the under-layer and the tread via spindles with final control of both the position and the amount of rubber used. “We are more than convinced – says Benaglia – that retreading has great potential from an economic point of view as well as being environmentally sustainable. And this is what moves us to invest, despite the sector’s difficulties”. Which in Italy saw a double-digit decline in 2014, and even considering the first part of this year, a change in this trend seems unlikely. Moreover, the data on the Italian market for new and retreaded truck tires shows that a third of the tires has vanished and, with it, a third of total cargo carried by Italian companies.
Retread labeling a key issue
"An important issue created by some who misinterpret the labels on retreaded tires. And truckers, when problems arise with retreaded tires, tend to put everything in one basket. With our Marix brand, we intend to let them know exactly what they are fitting on their vehicle and manifest our obsession for the total quality of our products". The European labeling system, as in the case of new products, already announced for 2016 and then postponed, should put things in order. "We hope - says the manager of Marangoni – this will enter into force as soon as possible, defining precise and stringent requirements: in short, in or out, so as to exclude products lacking the necessary quality characteristics, manufactured using second choice materials. As for us, we know where we want to be positioned on the market: at the top". Retreadable casings, though, are still an unsolved problem. "We still notice that the vast majority of products coming from China are unusable; we need to work on premium tires, but their number remains limited and constantly decreasing, since also leading companies in the tire industry are increasingly promoting their sub-brands. To tackle this problem, we have established collection channels both in Italy and abroad, so that we can procure for ourselves the required casings, although at a high cost".
Casings under the lens
This justifies the strong investment impulse on research techniques and control systems for casings, with shearography primarily intended for both “hot and cold” curing: "We do not make distinctions - adds Benaglia - on quality, which is of paramount importance, but rather on the different applications and habits of our customers. Of course, today there is a need for large systems, given the variety of sizing, which results in further investments in new molds and presses, as well as meeting the request for integral retreaded tires. Reliability is a must at all levels. If a casing is not suitable for a 200 thousand km tread pattern, then we will design a 120 thousand km tread pattern ". In short, it is about finding the best solution, perhaps with lighter designs, a matter dealt with by the research and development team, responsible for identifying a casing’s retreading potential. "A wealth of know-how for the company. The arrival of premium brands such as Pirelli in this sector has not produced the desired effect. We are counting on the fact - concludes Benaglia – that they will look at the retreading business not as an aid for their new products “, which could become the turning point for the entire sector.
EARTH MOVING EQUIPMENT, WEAPONS OF MASS QUALITY
Inspecting casings and controlling the quality of the finished products are key points in a context of total quality. Here then is the investment made for a shearographic machine that Marangoni, first in Europe, dedicates to the retreading of earthmoving tires. Therefore, the Earthmover Tyres division of the Rovereto based group has a new hi-tech weapon to detect, before the buffering process starts, any internal defects that could affect the final result. Shearography makes it possible, in a non-invasive manner, to look for any detachments between the plies. The machine sucks air creating a vacuum and a CCD sensor with a laser beam identifies any deformation and displays it on a monitor. It is then up to the operator to decide whether to discard the casing or forward it towards the retreading process. Another novelty for Marix retreads are the MADN 775 / 65R29 and 875/65R29 designed for quarries and construction sites, with E4 and L4 increased profile, produced thanks to the recaflex system. Intended for articulated dump trucks and excavators, this new product boasts a self-cleaning non-directional tread, with deep and massive tread blocks designed to increase traction, resist cuts and provide stability even on muddy soil, uneven ground and the abrasiveness of stones and rocks. In the earthmoving sector, marked by a strong technological development, Marangoni aims to strengthen its offer developing custom tires, with profiles, casings and compounds based on the customer’s needs and on the characteristics of use.