BKT is therefore at the forefront for sustainable tire manufacturing
Rajiv Poddar, joint MD, Balkrishna Industries, has strong principles in place and over the years has several landmark credits to his name and the company he runs.
What are some of the unique features of Earthmax vis-à-vis other OTRs?
Earthmax is specifically designed to ensure enhanced load distribution on the ground for dumpers, wheel loaders, dozers, graders and some other multi-purpose vehicles. This tire is a milestone in BKT’s history – the result of continuously thinking big, of tireless research and strong desire for improvement while introducing new ideas and approaches to the market.
This revolutionary tire can master harsh terrains thereby demonstrating great versatility and durability. Earthmax has ‘All Steel’ casing compared to the ‘Nylon’ fabric casing of other OTR tires. It furthermore has single body ply made of steel cords and also the crown area is reinforced by steel cord material which ensures less build-up of heat. The casing allows the tires to bear increased resistance against impacts such as punctures, cuts, wear, heat or any other adverse conditions while providing stability, riding comfort and enhancing longevity.
Over the last 10 years, what are some of the technology or innovations that have happened in Earthmax since its launch?
Continuing to the next level, we cannot ignore current trends in the tire industry that is facing unprecedented changes in technology at a global level. Next-generation tire technology, in line with forthcoming changes across vehicle-equipment development has resulted in new concepts in fleet and site management.
In spite of few of these trends still being at a nascent stage, we are researching for solutions to cope with sensor-assisted autonomous transportation, enhanced tire and equipment integration systems, data flow and analytics optimization for increased productivity, and so forth. All this is being initiated in compliance with megatrends such as sustainability, diverse mobility, electrification and safety. Through tire simulation, for instance, we gain a full and in-depth knowledge and control of a series of parameters such as inflated dimensions, the static footprint under different load conditions, load deflection behaviour in the contact area, contact pressure distribution, rolling circumference data, and the impact of the steel belt width on tire performance.
This kind of tire simulation leads to the creation of a virtual prototype enabling a more rapid product development. We can hence significantly reduce the number of physical prototypes to be build, and save time from design schedules.
While improving our products and enhancing technologies, it is our responsibility and also a great opportunity and challenge to make our contribution towards a more sustainable future for everyone living on this planet.
BKT is therefore at the forefront for sustainable tire manufacturing. We have entered into a Joint Research Agreement with KULTEVAT Inc., a leading US biotechnology company that is specialized in the cultivation and processing of TKS Dandelion as a renewable and sustainable alternative for natural rubber, which as you all know has become a critical raw material. Following the agreement, after a series of studies and experimentation, we will develop new compounding methods to be integrated in the tire manufacturing process, and TKS Rubber will gradually replace the use of natural rubber. The agreement involves a first project stage with several sample deliveries for Lab Research by October 2018, whereas stage two of the project provides the supply of one metric tonne of stabilized TKS Rubber by October 2019. In addition to Lab optimization and manufacturing process trials on all of our tire ranges, we will also focus on compounding methods for the specific OTR segment.
We are developing high-performance compounds by using nano-materials, which ensure improved thermal and mechanical stability. Examples for this experimental research are Graphene, Nano Clay and Carbon Black. We believe that the tire becomes a key element enhancing and optimizing the equipment’s operation in order to perform in excellent manner.
How do you work out the math for making tyres for different kinds of machines?
Having had the opportunity to study several markets over the last decade, we have learnt that according to the specific country and location, particularly taking into account climate and geophysical conditions, there are different expectations from the product and hence there has to be site-specific performance criteria. To meet these requirements, new products are needed with specific product design.
Over the last decade, we have therefore developed a variety of different OTR radial patterns and sizes for specific applications or environmental conditions such as snow, aggregates, mud and earth, rock, recycling, or underground mining. We have started from smaller sizes for loaders, added tires for rigid dumpers and finally reached the giant segment.
Post development of the 27.00 R49 size in three different patterns, namely EARTHMAX SR 45 PLUS, SR 46 and SR 48, we had the opportunity to study the effects of tread design features on tire performance taking into consideration heat development, heat dissipation, and wear characteristics. This knowledge will be applied for designing optimized tread patterns for 51” and 57” sizes, which are expected to be released in the 2nd QTR 2019 and the 2nd QTR 2020, respectively. These developments have been possible due to significant investments into new tire building machinery that is suitable for sophisticated and complex processes of building giant sizes.
What is the kind of after-sales support to heavy construction equipment buyers for tyres?
BKT has always provided reliable and consistent after-sales support through its distributors and technical team. Additional support that BKT offers includes TPMS and SPOTech technology, which is very useful for mining customers during operations. We are also conducting training for the end-users as per their requirements.
Earthmax has a range of tyres. How has the range performed over the years in terms of numbers and satisfaction?
We are constantly coming up with many new sizes based on applications and customer requirement. BKT is also providing after-sales support to buyers and end-users. Our products are performing well across the world in various mines. Many OEM/customers/end users are using our products and their feedback is positive and encouraging.