BKT Tyres searches for new rubber

By: Chris McCullough

Fears of a shortage of natural rubber to make tyres with by 2025 has prompted Indian tyre manufacturer BKT, Balkrishna Industries Ltd, to up its game in search for alternatives

As the global demand for natural rubber soars and will reach 17 million tonnes by 2025, tyre manufacturers are concerned this will cause a raw material shortage.

Presently, natural rubber is obtained from the rubber tree called Hevea brasiliensis, a plant originating from South America, which grows only in equatorial zones threatened by deforestation. BKT says it has recognised the importance and urgency of researching into sustainable alternatives.

Lucia Salmaso

For the purpose of developing new compounding methods based on the use of rubber from the Russian Dandelion TKS – a renewable and sustainable alternative to natural rubber – BKT has stipulated a Joint Research Agreement with Kultevat Inc., an American company specialised in green technology headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri.

All studies and trials will be carried out in BKT’s advanced Research and Development Centre. With the agreement, one-tonne of stabilised TKS rubber will be delivered to BKT by October 2019 for specific development testing.

BKT enjoys six percent of market share of the global off-highway tyre market, employs more than 7000 people worldwide, and turned over US$900 million in 2017/2018 selling to 160 countries worldwide.

The European market has proven to be an essential one for the company accounting for half of BKT’s turnover. In order to further support this market, BKT has launched its new European headquarters in Seregno, on the outskirts of Milan, Italy, within a building that has been completely renovated.

BKT Europe managing director, Lucia Salmaso, says, "We are constantly striving to increase our presence and market share in Europe and, above all, to get closer to our European OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) customers.

Our goal is to permanently strengthen the presence of the BKT brand with OEMs, and we know how to achieve it. "We have already opened many doors with our aftermarket references and continue forging ahead with new opportunities.

Our new headquarters has a key role in this regard. "We will now be much stronger than we ever have been in every area and every segment in Europe, agriculture, industry, earthmoving, mining, port handling activities, gardening and ATV.

Now that we have one of the most complete ranges on the market and an increased production capacity thanks to our most recent Bhuj plant, we are ready to grow."

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