While the act of retreading tyres is by its very nature an environmentally friendly initiative, Bandag continues to raise the bar with its retread remodelled. The company is incorporating the latest planet-saving techniques into its operations.
Sorting fact from fiction should be a fundamental principle of any good journalist, and usually the only reliable way to do this is to go directly to the source.
Over many years, retreaded tyres have – perhaps unfairly – been considered by some in the trucking realm as a false economy. While it’s easy to acknowledge the up-front cost savings compared to brand new tyres, some believe they are prone to failure and therefore not worth the risk.
During a recent tour of the Brisbane Bandag facility for Diesel Workshop, however, the company was keen to show that modern technology has improved the process markedly and – provided the correct air pressures and axle weights are maintained – there’s simply no valid reason why retreads won’t give similar or even better mileage as cleanskins, while saving the operator considerable dollars.
Cost savings aside, from an environmental impact perspective, even Blind Freddie could see the benefit of replacing the tread on tyre casings up to three, four or even five times, particularly on tyres that do mostly highway miles where sidewall damage is unlikely. Yet even tyres used in harsh applications such as the waste industry can be successfully retreaded, such is the effectiveness of Bandag’s case-checking procedure, ensuring only cases fit for purpose are used. To do this, the company uses a sophisticated laser process called shearography, which can detect the minutest fault within the case. As a result, around 50 per cent of cases are rejected, which helps eliminate the primary reason why earlier retreads received a bad rap.
Having celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017, Bandag, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone, marked the milestone with a new brand campaign aimed at dispelling myths about the quality, reliability and safety of retreads. The campaign platform – Built for Better – positions retreads as an all-round fleet business solution thanks to the advanced manufacturing process and strict quality control, backed by Bridgestone’s 100 per cent replacement warranty.
“There is still a negative sentiment towards retreads in some sectors of the market, which we are aiming to address by delivering high-quality products and services that show Bandag retreads are a safe, reliable and cost-effective business solution,” said Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Andrew Moffatt. “We continue to invest in the Bandag business to further strengthen our retread performance – from improving wear life by leveraging the latest Bridgestone technologies, to advancements in the manufacturing process and the highest of quality control.”
Evidence of quality control and the advanced manufacturing process can be seen here at Bandag’s Wacol, Queensland, factory. All casings that come through the Bandag factory are put through a strict program of tests to ensure their suitability for retreading.
Recently, a state-of-the-art splice-matching builder was installed, automatically applying tread so it is straight, centred on the casing, and the end splices match. This equipment is in addition to shearography technology and a custom-made buffing machine.
Advanced shearography testing minimises the risk of blowouts by finding any defects in the tyre casing, while Bandag’s cold-curing technology ensures the bonding process doesn’t cause rubber breakdown due to heat exposure.