VDMA

INDIA 2016

Best of Germany 2014 - Mining Equipment and Mining Technology

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E&MJ/Coal Age India 2016 • 9 After past years of increasingly severe supply and demand problems, culmi- nating in 2012's mind-boggling price and availability gyrations, the giant OTR tire market has settled down and today offers mine operators a stable platform for meeting their surface and underground tire needs. In fact, at last year's OTR Tire conference sponsored by the U.S. Tire Industry Association, every member of an OTR tire manu- facturers' panel responded—almost in unison—with "No!" when presented with the question "Do you foresee shortages in any specific size or type of tire during the next year?" It's a market in which several well- known brands dominate the premium giant-tire sizes used on mining-class rigid haul trucks and wheel loaders, for example. And, it's a market in which BKT Tires is working diligently to expand its presence. BKT, the brand name for products and services from Mumbai, India-based Balkrishna Industries, has been a major player in the radial agricultural tire market since 2004, offering more than 230 different agricultural tire sizes. In 2008, it moved into the OTR steel-cord radial market segment that serves much of the mining, quarrying and heavy con- struction industries' tire needs, opening a plant in Chopanki, India, to make tires specifically for those applications. More recently, it built a $500 million, state-of-the-art OTR tire manufactur- ing complex in Bhuj, Gujarat, India. In December, E&MJ toured the plant and talked with corporate executives during the company's December business press/dealer event titled The Game Changer, held to announce and display its intent to gain a leadership position in the market as it expands its capabilities for producing giant OTR tire models. Currently, its largest tire in this segment is the 27.00R49 EarthMax—a size typi- cally used on 100-ton-class rigid haulers in the mining sector. However, as production at the Bhuj plant gains momentum, the company said it will begin to manufacture 51-in. tires later this year, using tire fabrica- tion equipment supplied by Tianjin Siaxiang Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese vendor. BKT also is considering future production of 57-in. tires; D.M. Vaidya, BKT's president and director–technology, estimates it would require a two-year effort to develop a mar- ketable product in that size—if economic conditions warrant. There are no current plans to produce tire sizes larger than 57 in., according to Vaidya. From Trikes to Trucks As BKT Chairman and Managing Direc- tor Arvind Poddar explained during an early-December press conference in Mumbai, the company has come a long BKT Aims to Change the Game in Giant OTR Tire Market BKT Tires produces more than 2,400 models of OTR tires, ranging from those used on small utility vehicles to large agri- cultural, construction and surface/underground mining tires. With the startup of its newest plant, the company is setting its sights on establishing a larger market presence in the giant OTR tire sector. BKT's $500 million Bhuj plant will, at full capacity, produce about 150,000 metric tons per year of tire products, which equals the combined output of its three other plants. Changing the Game

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