Customer focus on  retreads continues to change, experts say.  “In the past,” says Todd Labbe, general manager, commercial retread at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., “most retread customers were focused primarily on miles to removal.  However, an increasing number of fleets are also looking at other benefits that factor into their total cost of ownership, including fuel efficiency and total lifecycle cost.”

“The latest retread technologies focus on high mileage and fuel economy,” states Philip Boarts, retread product category manager at Oliver Rubber, a subsidiary of Michelin North America. “As the cost of fuel increases, fleets benefit from new compounds and tread designs in retread technology, and with tires capable of being retreaded several times the total cost of the tire asset over the long run is lower.”

Giampaolo Brioschi, product marketing manager at Marangoni Tread North America, points out that the EPA SmartWay program has had an impact on the retread market. “The need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by reducing rolling resistance and fuel consumption is a benefit both to the environment and fleets,” he adds. “Verified retreads listed by SmartWay offer fuel savings and long mileage.”

Matt Schnedler, retread product marketing manager at Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, agrees that SmartWay and CARB regulations are driving the development of more fuel-efficient retreads. “It’s not just over-the-road fleets that are interested,” he says. “Many types of regional, local and vocational operations are looking at retreads. The desire to cut fuel costs is universal, and today’s retreads have the same tread design and compound attributes as new tires. As a result, they can offer fleets the same benefits.”

Labbe says Goodyear is also seeing an increase in the diversity of fleet approaches with regard to retreads. “Larger fleets are embracing multiple vocations and are diversifying into different areas which, in turn, puts more of a focus on total cost of ownership,” he relates. “They are looking for products to help lower overall lifecycle cost in more vocations than just traditional linehaul.

“From a technology standpoint,” Labbe continues, “we’re leveraging our new tire technologies and capabilities in order to develop differentiated retread products, including everything from more advanced mixing, extrusion and materials to compounding and tread designs. We’re taking what we’ve learned about new tires and applying it to our retread technology in order to optimize total lifecycle performance.”

Examples of Goodyear retreads include the G572 for drive axle positions on long haul vehicles, available as both precure and Goodyear spliceless UniCircle products. The G619 RST retread, also offered in a UniCircle design, was developed for regional service trailer applications, including high-scrub spread axle trailers.

Tire and retread manufacturers provide examples of how they are matching designs to deliver performance and benefits. For example, Continental Tire the America’s retreads have always had the same tread design and compound engineering as its new tires, the company notes. The ContiTread line of all position, drive and trailer models is offered for precure or cold retreading using the same tread pattern design as the company’s new tires.

The Bandag B197 FuelTech trailer retread for on-highway applications is designed to complement the Bridgestone R197 Ecopia new tire and promote long tread life and fuel economy. The Bandag B710 FuelTech drive retread was engineered to complement the Bridgestone M710 Ecopia tire on tandem drive axles in on-highway use.

The Marangoni Energeco line combines the manufacturer’s Ringtread spliceless technology with its Energeco compound.  Trailer and drive axle designs for dual and wide base tire models are included.

Oliver Rubber has a wide variety of retread products in different sizes for dual and wide base tire applications. Recently introduced is the Michelin X One Line Energy T pre-mold retread for linehaul trailers. Earlier this year, Oliver launched the Oliver Performance Drive, a drive position retread for long haul and regional applications, in 210, 220, 230, 240 and 250 sizes.

According to EPA SmartWay, when verified retreads are used on both the drive and trailer axles, along with verified low rolling resistance steer tires, certain retread technologies can reduce fuel use by 3% or more. For a list of EPA SmartWay-verified low rolling resistance retread technologies, go to www.epa.gov/smartway/forpartners/technology.htm.

For more information, visit these websites:

Bandag
www.bandag.com

Continental
www.continental-truck.com

Goodyear
www.goodyear.com

Marangoni
www.na.marangoni.com

Michelin
www.michelin.com

Oliver Rubber
www.oliverrubber.com