Whole-of-life tyre management is an integral part of the Bandag business model. When fleet customers purchase a new Bridgestone truck or bus tyre, right through to the third, fourth or even fifth retread, they are assured of receiving the same retreaded casing, thanks to a meticulous factory tracking process. This gives customers peace of mind, knowing the finished product originated from their fleet and meets stringent standards across the board.
“Bridgestone is committed to providing total tyre solutions for our loyal fleet customers and Bandag forms a crucial part of this business model,” said Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Andrew Moffatt. “From our Ecopia low rolling resistance range, to Bandag retreads and innovative fleet management solutions including BMobile, Bridgestone offers the most comprehensive range of products and services available in the tyre industry.
“We are constantly looking to expand our market and we urge potential customers to reconsider retreads as we firmly believe choosing Bandag is a smart business decision,” he says.
In addition to cost savings and reliable performance, retreads are said to deliver significant environmental benefits. The company claims producing a retread requires only 26 litres of oil, compared to around 83 litres required to manufacture a new truck tyre. Accordingly, across its 60 years of operation, Bandag has kept an estimated 300 million tyres out of the waste stream and saved up to 15 billion litres of oil.
“The use of Bandag retreads was a sustainable business practice before sustainability became a global priority and we continue to raise the bar today,” Moffatt concluded.
The retreading process:
Trained specialists perform a visual hands-on inspection from bead to bead, inside and out. This is done to find and mark all visible injuries.
Actual damage can be closely evaluated by looking ‘through the tyre’ in the crown and sidewall areas that may not be visible to the naked eye. An electrical current is put into the tyre and if there’s a hole, the current ‘arcs out’, which shows the operator exactly where the hole is.
This process determines conditions within the casing, subjecting it to a vacuum, while lasers measure surface anomalies. An animated visual of the anomalies determines casing condition.
The casing is inflated to its operational shape. The process removes the worn tread surface, trues up the roundness and prepares the surface for a new tread.
Any damaged material identified during initial inspection is removed and repairs are made, essentially returning the casing to a useful life.
Bonding rubber is applied to the casing. Once this happens, the casing is ready for a new tread. The bonding material is pull tested to ensure it significantly exceeds the Australian standard.
A new tread is automatically applied with attention to precise detail. The machine ensures the tread is straight and perfectly centred on the casing. All tread is made in-house, enabling greater quality control, thus ensuring it is fit for purpose.
The assembled but uncured tyre is encased in an elastic envelope and prepared for curing.
Essentially a giant cylindrical oven, the curing chamber operates at 99°C, well below the temperature at which rubber begins to break down (118°C). It causes the bonding layer to cure and permanently adhere the tread to the casing.
A visual hands-on inspection is repeated to ensure quality specifications are met.