Heavy Duty Trucking

JUL 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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74 HDT • JULY 2014 www.truckinginfo.com shortcuts there." Despite success stories like that reported by Ryder, some miscon- ceptions about retreads still exist. These myths are often based on bad, and sometimes severely outdated, information, says Todd Labbe, gen- eral manager, commercial retread, Goodyear. "In the past, there might have been a perception among some fleets that retreads are 'low-quality' options," he points out. "Retreads are more tech- nically advanced than ever, and that goes for both tread rubber and the retreading process itself. Goodyear's retread technology evolves with our new truck tire technology." With today's sensitivity to rolling resistance, tread compounding has really come into its own. About 60% of a tire's rolling resistance comes from the casing, about 40% from the tread. Retreaders can't do much about the casings they have to work with, but, according to Guy Walenga, Bridgestone's director of engineer- ing for commercial products and technologies, rubber compounding is where the magic is today. "When we're building a new tire, we're using maybe 14 different compounds together, and that has to be molded and cured, and comes out as a viable tire," Walenga says. "With retreads, you're able to isolate just the tread and just its performance be different. Along with the shallower tread, you're going to see improved fuel economy sooner than with the thicker tread on a new tire." Can small fleets play, too? There's a perception, perhaps grounded in some fact, that retread- ing isn't popular with small fleets. David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Infor- mation Bureau, thinks that in the absence of data, smaller fleets and independent drivers tend to hold onto some of the old misconceptions and myths about retreaded tires. "Larger fleets often have set up sophisticated tire management pro- grams and have carefully measured the benefits that retreaded tires bring to them in terms of overall lower cost per mile. But, as one attendee at this year's Mid-America Trucking Show told me about larger fleets and test- ing, 'I can't do all the testing they do on tires, but I can sure learn from the testing they've done and apply it to my business.'" One thing that could be keeping some small fleets out of the retread game is a casing inventory. The big fleets can ship a truckload of casings to a retreader at one time. Small fleets need a place to store them, they can ill-afford to have dozens of non- utilized assets sitting around, and the requirements, so you can use dif- ferent compounds to get similar performance. There is also a different set of technical specifications required for compounds on a retread versus compounds that need to blend overall on a new tire." And the other advantage to a retreaded low-rolling-resistance tire is the tread tends to be a couple of 32nd's shallower than a comparable new tire. "That's gives you a bit of an advan- tage right from day one," Walenga notes. "The tread may look the same; for example, our Ecopia M835 has the identical tread pattern as the Ban- dag B835, but the compounding will Retread Your Way to Prosperity Newer equipment and precisely controlled processes ensure better fit of the tread on the casing with less likelihood of a premature separation. The best hedge against a retread failure — any tire failure — is regular pressure checks.

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