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Old 11th February 2015, 21:47   #16
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Hey, all!

I'm not sure if this is the right thread to post about it, but I'm doing so since it's related to the topic and informative.

I'm a Trainee Engineer in Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). I'm typing in a few parts of my weekly report when I was posted as Observer & Evaluator (OE) of the Tire Retreading Plant (TRP) of the BMTC Central Workshop, as a part of my training.

Do let me know if you have any queries!


In the manufacture of a new tire, approximately 75%-80% of the manufacturing cost is incurred in tire body and remaining 20%-25% in the TREAD, the portion of the tire which meets the road surface. Hence, by applying a new TREAD over the body of the worn tire, a fresh lease of life is given to the tire, at a cost which is less than 50% of the price of a new tire. This process is termed as*'tire retreading'.

However, the body of the used tire must have some desirable level of characteristics to enable retreading. Retreading cannot also be done if the tire has already been over used to the extent that the fabric is exposed/damaged. Retreading can be done more than once.

a) Types of Retreading :

Retreading can be done by the following two processes:
⦁ Conventional Process (also known as 'mould cure' or 'hot cure' process) - In this process a un-vulcanized rubber strip is applied on the buffed casing of the tire. This strip takes the pattern of the mould during the process of vulcanization.


⦁ Pressure Process ( also known as 'cold cure')- In this process a tread strip, where the pattern is already pressed and pressure is applied to the casing. It is bonded to the casing by means of a thin layer of specially compounded uncured rubber (known as cushion or bonding gum) which is vulcanized by the application of heat, pressure and time.
The present all India pattern, by type of retreading, is as follows : Pressured - 50%, Conventional 50%.

Retreading is primarily done in the Truck and Bus tire segment. On an average a Truck/Bus tire is retreaded 1.5 times. At present only 3-4 large companies are in the organized sector of tire retreading. Organized sector is classified as that comprising of companies which operate through the franchisee route.

b) International vs Indian Standards in Tire Retreading : Similarities & Differences :


Similarities

As is the experience in other parts of the world, tire retreading in India has gained greater acceptance in the commercial segment, especially truck/bus and light commercial vehicle (LCV) tires, due to operational savings.

The share of passenger car tire retreading is on the decline due to several factors,viz. fitment of radial tires as OE fitment giving increased mileage (encouraging owners to go in for new radial tires at the time of replacement, strong preference of improved aesthetics of new generation of passenger cars (and hence new tires) and above all, a growing concern for safety (due to driving at increased speeds.


Differences

In the developed countries retreading, by and large, is only through pressured methods, whereas the share of hot/conventional retreading in India is high 50%, with the share of hot/conventional retreading in select segments, like farm tires, being considerably higher.

The bonding gums and rubber treads used in the Tire Plant were bought from Cochin Rubbers, a very reputed brand in this industry. A total of 96 tires were retreaded during the duration of my stay in this section. A majority of the tires were for the Tata/Ashok Leyland buses with no Tata-Marcopolo bus' tyre being brought in.

Sources for aforementioned information (Big thanks to them!) :

1. Wikipedia.
2. Howstuffworks.
2. Cochin Rubbers Guidebook.
3. TRP Operations Manual.

FIGURES :

1st - The primary heating chamber for the re-treaded tyres.
2nd - The secondary heating chamber. A temperature of 125 degrees celsius is maintained inside for a stipulated period of time.
3rd - The brand new treads laid out for resoling.
4th - A retreaded tyre ready for inspection, after which it'll be sent to respective depots for fitting, depending on demand.
Attached Thumbnails
PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre-dsc02922.jpg  

PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre-dsc02918.jpg  

PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre-dsc02925.jpg  

PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre-dsc02931.jpg  


Last edited by barcalad : 12th February 2015 at 12:54.
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Old 11th February 2015, 22:18   #17
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Good one - strikes the same chords as visiting a chocolate factory! I did have a couple queries that I would have liked to ask Apollo:

1. Considering all their meticulous processes described above, do we know why they (or for that matter Indian tyre OEMs) have shown inertia to come up with performance tyres to rival the Yokohama S-drives, Continental CPCs etc (my current performance tyre knowledge is admittedly rusty) that they had the Indian government put the brakes on importing a few years ago?

I see potentially one of two reasons only - technical incapability/lack of business will. Which do you reckon it might have been from these two ?

2. Prices: Any discussions around rationalizing tyre prices/channels?
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Old 11th February 2015, 22:52   #18
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel_convert View Post
Nice thread Vid!

Did you ask them if they plan to compete with zlo / zsport class of tire ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Good one - strikes the same chords as visiting a chocolate factory! I did have a couple queries that I would have liked to ask Apollo:

1. Considering all their meticulous processes described above, do we know why they (or for that matter Indian tyre OEMs) have shown inertia to come up with performance tyres to rival the Yokohama S-drives, Continental CPCs etc (my current performance tyre knowledge is admittedly rusty) that they had the Indian government put the brakes on importing a few years ago?

I see potentially one of two reasons only - technical incapability/lack of business will. Which do you reckon it might have been from these two ?
We didn't ask that question but it's kind of evident that Apollo is looking for volumes.

If you see from last year the number of manufacturers going for Apollo as OEN has really gone up. We used to see MRF and JK as predominant OEM choice.

Now VW uses Apollo Alnac as OE for Polo/Vento. Maruti is using the premium Alnac 4G on the Ciaz and Hyundai has the Alnac on the Elite i20.

So their volumes are really going up.

As I mentioned earlier we had an interview with Satish Sharma and he pointed out that Apollo is not considered for the higher segment of cars and this holds true for the enthusiast who is looking for a performance tyre. When looking for a performance tyre Michelin, Yoko will be higher on the list than an Apollo.

The ZLO and Zsports are bucking the trend but Apollo does have performance tyres in 15" and 16" which most are unaware of. Apollo Acelere Maxx and Apollo Aspire 4G.

http://www.apollotyres.com/en-in/pas...es/aspire-4g-8

http://www.apollotyres.com/en-in/pas...acelere-maxx-1
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Old 12th February 2015, 01:06   #19
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Very nice and informative thread !!
Rated 5*

Brings back memories when I was about 12 years old and I had been to the Birla Tyres plant in Balasore, Odisha. Some relative was working there and he had taken us on a short trip of the factory there. I wasn't interested then and did not pay much attention.
Now that I own and drive a car, these things are just so much interesting and informative !!
Not sure if Birla tyre is still alive and what does it manufacture ? Upon looking up their website, I see only commercial vehicles tyres in their portfolio. Haven't seen a passenger car with Birla tyre.

Nevertheless, coming back to Apollo tyres, I had a question in mind.
You mentioned that 16,000 passenger car radials and 6,000 truck bus radials are made here. Is that per day ?
Asking since I saw some manual intervention during the manufacturing process.
Quote:
The liner is then manually sealed.........and......The technician checks the work to ensure there are no loose ends


PS: Found this interesting information on Birla tyres website, about tyre rotation in commercial vehicles.

PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre-bt.jpg
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Old 12th February 2015, 08:09   #20
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Thank you for such a beautiful photo walk through of the plant. I always used to wonder how these wires were embedded in the tire with such a high precision (and never bothered to google it )
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Old 12th February 2015, 10:34   #21
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
Nevertheless, coming back to Apollo tyres, I had a question in mind.
You mentioned that 16,000 passenger car radials and 6,000 truck bus radials are made here. Is that per day ?
Asking since I saw some manual intervention during the manufacturing process.
It is very much 16,000 per day maximum capacity of the plant. The plant is operational 24X7.

So 16,000/day equates to 3,200 cars (5 tyres per car). In a month that is just 96,000 cars. In a month India makes upwards 2 lakhs so even with the plant running at full capacity it's 50% of total car sales. Apollo's market share is probably amongst the top 3 between MRF, JK and Bridgestone.

The above is not counting the retail sales when people change tyres or the export tyres to Europe.

If you see the demand, the production is currently pretty good.

16,000 per day equates to a new tyre every 5.4 secs. Remember what you see as manual intervention is not just one guy or one machine for all 16,000 tyres, it's multiple machines running together.
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Old 12th February 2015, 11:12   #22
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Winter tyres for the European market made in sunny and tropical Chennai! They are sold as Apollo Alnac Winter tyres. They aren't the studded type, but just have the winter tread pattern.
Excellent overview!
Rated 5 stars
One thing about studded winter tires.
Most companies usually sell "studdable" tires. I.e there is more rubber so that studs can be inserted. Stud insertion is often done aftermarket.
That said, not all winter tires are studdable.
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Old 12th February 2015, 11:22   #23
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

wonderful insights... was great to read a "thread" on "treads" (pun intended)!

tires were something which i had almost no idea about but this well explained thread has really changed my understanding on this piece.

well done and rated a fully deserved 5 stars
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Old 12th February 2015, 12:54   #24
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

A very useful and detailed review Vid6639 ! Rated 5 stars !

I recently saw a TV programme called 'How it's made' on the Discovery channel and it showcased how giant tires are made, i.e. the tires used in the earth-moving machinery sector. It was a treat to see soo many elements and aspects that are involved in the making of a tyre. Good to see that we have a similar (if not, the same) method of making car/commerical vehicle tyres in India, atleast by the big players. With a host of other players in the tyre industry now, we have ample variety to choose from and in all sizes !

The stock tyres in my Chevy Spark are the Apollo Acelere and I have been very satisfied with the overall quality and grip level of the tyres, though the tyres have not run much in the past 4 years. Although the MRF ZVTS was the other option for the Spark at that time, I was happy with my dealer choosing the Apollos. I have also been seeing a lot of Apollos used by Volkswagen. Its good to see that the market is not dominated only by MRF/JK/Bridgestone anymore ! (No offence to any of these users ! )
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Old 12th February 2015, 13:37   #25
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Arrow Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Excellent thread. Very informative. Rated 5 stars!

I had a couple of very basic questions.

I have heard that the thread depth is normally about 8mm for a new premium summer Tyre. Is thread depth standard across all Tyre manufacturers? For example, between Eagle NCT5, Aspire 4G, Taranza ER300 and P3ST, will it be same?

If the side wall is thin, Tyre is comfortable / silent (?). Does this not compromise rim protection?

How would you rate Aspire 4G WRT Eagle NCT5?

Last edited by Chethan B G : 12th February 2015 at 13:40.
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Old 12th February 2015, 16:02   #26
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel_convert View Post
Nice thread Vid!

Did you ask them if they plan to compete with zlo / zsport class of tire ?
They already are in some ways but not manufacturing the volumes MRF is.

Basically, demand is so great that all companies are pretty much maxxed out in terms of production volume.

And why should Apollo expand their manufacturing to target a niche when their mainstream products (which are quite profitable) have such a huge demand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
As I mentioned earlier we had an interview with Satish Sharma and he pointed out that Apollo is not considered for the higher segment of cars and this holds true for the enthusiast who is looking for a performance tyre. When looking for a performance tyre Michelin, Yoko will be higher on the list than an Apollo.

The ZLO and Zsports are bucking the trend but Apollo does have performance tyres in 15" and 16" which most are unaware of. Apollo Acelere Maxx and Apollo Aspire 4G.

http://www.apollotyres.com/en-in/pas...es/aspire-4g-8

http://www.apollotyres.com/en-in/pas...acelere-maxx-1
The reason higher end customers arent opting for Apollo is two-fold. One is the brand and the stigma of being "Indian". Same problem faced by MRF when in reality the tyres are actually brilliant.

Second is the fact that they are maxxed out in terms of their production. So, instead of focusing on some low volume tyres, they are trying to meet the demand in the 13", 14" and 15" segments.

Once things stabilise with Apollo, I expect them to come out in a big way with Vredestein and some higher end sizes from the Apollo brand
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Old 12th February 2015, 16:19   #27
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Super Review Vid6639!!. Glad to see a tyre company inviting tbhp for this kind of coverage.

However, I too, would've loved to know the truth about the myth "Manufactures expense on each tyre of a Swift (or likewise) car is just a few hundred bucks" . If yes, how do they manage it?
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Old 12th February 2015, 17:22   #28
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

it seems you had a great plant visit. Apollo is one of the key customers for the company that I work for. Good to see few of my products in the pics.The entire automation PLC control system, HMI (Human Machine Interface) - the touch screen that you saw on the various m/c control panels. The SCADA in the control room is done by my company. Apollo has another plant near Baroda in Gujarat.
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Old 13th February 2015, 13:36   #29
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Solid thread. Rated 5 stars!

I am partly associated with the rubber industry so I'd like to chip in a few notes -

1. Types of Rubber - Along with Synthetic Rubber (SBR) and Natural Rubber, there's are two more types of Rubber, Reclaim Rubber and Polybutadiene (PBR).

- Reclaim rubber is cheap and is used in tandem with Natural and SBR to bring down costs.

- PBR is a stronger compound when compared to SBR. Has high resistance and low friction. But is more expensive.

Trivia - Largest exporter of SBR? A: Kumho (Yes, the famous Kumho brand of tyres from Korea).

2. Other Chemicals - Along with Silica, other chemicals that are used in different stages of manufacturing. These mainly include China Clay (the finer the sand the softer the tyre), Accelerators (Stearic Acid flakes, Soluble and Insoluble Sulphur), Antioxidants and Antiozonants (Naphthenic, Paraffinic and Aromatic rubber processing oils - RPO's), Activators (Zinc Oxide - the higher the purity better the curing).

- Rubber Chemicals are used in combination with one another at various stages of Vulcanization and Curing.

Trivia - Inventor of the Vulcanization process? A: Charles Goodyear (The Goodyear Tyre company was named after him).

I can go and explain all this in detail but that would be a bore for most

Last edited by 9thsphinx : 13th February 2015 at 13:38.
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Old 13th February 2015, 16:54   #30
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Default Re: PICS: Apollo Tyres Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Tyre

Wow....Vid, thats a fantastic review.

I remember visiting the CEAT plant near Baroda. I always wanted to understand the science behind tyre making and your post was "super se oopar" in the detailing part.

Rating it a well deserved 5 stars and thanks once again for the fab post and sharing.
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