AKRON-Two of North America's largest retreaders are delving into bead-to-bead retreading of off-the-road tires-a substantial investment that addresses a need in their markets. Last September, Community Tire Co. Inc. of St. Louis began retreading radial OTR tires with its new bead-to-bead processing equipment, and so far, the product has been successful, according to Vice President Michael Berra Jr.
Meanwhile, White's Tire Service of Wilson Inc., which began bead-to-bead truck tire retreading last year, is now also adding bead-to-bead OTR retreading.
While the process is costlier, CEO James White Sr. said there is a demand for the ``new tire'' look of bead-to-bead retreads. He noted most OTR retreaders in Europe use this process.
For Community Tire, the main advantage of the bead-to-bead process is that the new rubber covers the excessive sidewall damage earthmover and mining tires incur, Mr. Berra said.
``It addresses almost all sidewall damage with no real additional cost (to the customer),'' he said, adding, ``If you don't address every cut, it just gets worse.''
Mr. Berra doesn't expect an industry movement toward this new process because the equipment costs are prohibitive for most retreaders.
But Community Tire made the investment to capture a niche market of customers willing to pay a higher price for a better product. However, Mr. Berra said, when comparing the advantages of bead-to-bead with other processes, the price difference is slight in the long run for the customer.