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By 2014 the results of a european research project on the labelling of the retreaded

The European Union has funded a research project called "Retyre" with the objective of allowing  independent retreaders to comply with future regulations on labelling in the coming years which also involves the reconstruction

Luca Ricci

Economical, ecological and reliable, are the three classic arguments that,  particularly in the industrial areas, sustain the reconstruction of tyres, which in some advanced countries, such as the United States represent over 50% of the replacement market. But in the next few years there will be a further change of position.

Even the retreaded should comply with the orders in the field of labelling, the labelling of tyres. On this issue of the European Union has provided 1.8 million euros for a project that aims to allow the independent retreaders to comply to the standards and regulations with optimal costs.

To understand the situation better, Pneurama has interviewed Anna Molinari, Innovation & Grant Consulter at Uniresearch, the specialised company that has supported  BIPAVER, European association of retreaders, in the drawing up and  management of the project. 

What is the RETYRE project?

The acronym “RETYRE” stands for: Classification of REtreaded truck TYres in order to comply with future environmental performance and safety REquirements. The project considers the possible impact of new European regulations – regarding new tyres safety and environmental performances (Tyre labelling) – on the SMEs working with retreading tyres. One expected consequence can be the slow decreasing of the interest on retreaded tyres in the market, compromising the activities of SMEs working in the field. The overall project objective is to find a scientifically sound and cost effective methodology for the classification of retreaded truck tyres in order to comply with future environmental performance and safety requirements. The concept is to investigate all relevant parameters related to the casings, retreading process and treads applied and to determine the influence thereof on the tyre performance.

The outcome of the test will determine the impact of certain parameters making (more) clear the predictability of the environmental and safety performances before manufacturing. There are 15 partners (SME Associations, Retreaders, Industry and RTD performers), representing 7 different EU countries, are working together as project consortium. BIPAVER (represented by KCL), the European Association of retreaders, is the project Coordinator (in the person of Ruud J. L. Spuijbroek, Secretary General of BIPAVER) and there are 5 national associations among the partners: AIRP (represented by Promotec, Italy), BRV (Germany), AER (Spain), SVP-CR (Czech Republic) and VACO (the Netherlands).

The costing of Retyre is largely supported by the European Union. Under which program does the European Commission  fund the project?

The RETYRE is a collective project co-funded by the European Commission (EC) under the 7th Framework programme (FP7 - Capacities); the specific theme is “Research for the benefits of SME Associations”. The activities supported by the Capacities work programme are aimed at “closing the gap” between strong technological concepts and commercial reality with special attention to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs and SME-AGs). This specific programme focuses on the outsourcing of research by SMEs to specialised 'RTD performers’ in order complement their core activities.

What is the role of Uniresearch, the company you work for, in the initiative?

Uniresearch, headquartered in The Netherlands, is an independent grant consultancy with  20 years of experience focussing on technological innovations. We have been contacted by BIPAVER for working together in order to find possible EC funding to support the project. In order to obtain co-funding by the EC for a research project it is necessary:- To find a theme which matches the EU’s needs (specific “calls” in the work programme)- To propose a new and solid research plan by submitting a project proposal which fulfil specific requirements. The project proposals are reviewed and evaluated by a specific group of expert- If the proposal scores above a certain threshold, the consortium is invited by the EC for the “negotiation phase”, in order to align the requests proposed by the partners and the needs of the European CommunityUniresearch has been supporting the consortium during the proposal preparation and securing 1,8 million euro for the project during the negotiation phase.

At what stage is the project currently? When is the project due date?  

The project is planned for 30 months, it started in April 2012 and therefore January 2014 corresponds to M(onth)22. The planned due date for the project is 30th September 2014, the project duration and due date was defined in order to have the preliminary results before end 2014 when EU Regulations on type-homologation/type approval will be considered/applied also for retreaded tyres. The time frame is formally set at March 2016. However the Commission will start its inventory approx. 12 months earlier. Bipaver will need the time between the end of the project and the start of the inventory to gather a positive attitude amongst politicians and to set up the type approval procedure in Geneva.One of the main obstacles to the spread of retreaded products is the scarce knowledge about their economic and ecological benefits.

Do you believe this project could fill the gap? 
Of course, this is part of the project’s goals! We hope and trust with the RETYRE project we’ll be able of “making history” and propose to the sector and to the legislation-makers a scientific proof that retreaded tyres are comparable to new tyres with respect to safety and environmental requirements. As the project slogan says: “ReTyre: Tyre label for retreaded tyres, the next step”.

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