CRETE, Greece — Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is ramping up production capabilities at its OTR tire plants in India, as part of plans to achieve a 10-percent share of the global OTR market by 2025.
"To meet our targets for 2025 we need some expansion," BKT joint Managing Director Rajiv Poddar told European Rubber Journal in an interview during an event in Crete to mark the 10th year of the Earthmax radial tire range.
"The [Bhuj] plant in Gujarat has been designed to allow us to reach three times the production output of OTR steel tires of what it is today," he said. "So our goals are attainable as they are based on capacity that is available to us."
BKT is focused on expanding the range of giant tires produced at its Bhuj plant, which rolled out the company's first all-steel radial giant tire — the Earthmax SR45 plus R49 — in late 2015.
Production of other giant tires, also in 49-inch rim diameters, have since followed at the Gujarat facility, Mr. Poddar said, and BKT now is preparing to step up further in this market.
"Thanks to significant investment in new tire building machinery, we have plans to bring 51- and 57-inch tires — in Q2 2019 and Q2 2020 respectively — to complete the giant tire segment," he said.
Advanced equipment at BKT's plant in Bhuj already includes seven 440lt HF mixers, a Comerio four-roll calender for processing large-diameter steel cords and state-of the-art steel-cord cutting equipment.
Production of giant tires requires equipment that is specially adapted to BKT's requirements, noted Mr. Poddar, who went on to explain his priorities for expanding operations at Bhuj.
"This would include streamlining the downstream side, [including] the tire building machines and the vulcanizing presses," he said. "Mixing capacity should be OK, but everything post-mixing would be needed."
For giant tires, he said: "we need semi-automation and are customizing the tire-building to our own needs. This is [with] companies across Asia willing to work with us in building our own machine with our flexibility [requirements]."
As well as the introduction of giant OTR tires, other major projects at Bhuj include the completion of a carbon black plant rated at 60,000 metric tons per year. Start-up of the facility is "coming up soon," said the company boss.
In the pipeline, Mr. Poddar said, are plans for "downstreaming" some agricultural tire product lines and for increased automation of raw materials handling and storage operations, as well as of production processes.
The BKT executive was speaking at a customer and press event in Crete to mark the 10th year of its Earthmax radial tire range for dumpers, wheel loaders, bulldozers, graders and other multi-purpose vehicles.
The BKT group produces OTR tires for the agricultural, industrial, earthmoving, mining, ATV and gardening sectors.