There has been an unprecedented change and a structural shift in the Indian Tyre Industry in many aspects. The last 10 years have been most crucial for the Indian Tyre Industry. Expanding vehicle fleet, booming construction industry, need for clean and safe mobility are the major factors which have changed the face of the Indian Tyre Industry. It has doubled up its worth from 30,000 crores in FY 2010–11 to 59,500 crores in FY 2017–18. The production stood at 180 million units in FY 2017–18 which is a tremendous jump from 80 million units in FY 2007–08. Today it is one of the most invested private industry.
INCLUSION OF MORE RADIALS
Radial tyres have flexible side walls. Owing to less weight and less rolling resistance, it leads to reduced fuel consumption. In the Indian Tyre Industry, the conventional cross-ply tyres have given way to radial tyres. Companies like Birla Tyres, JK Tyres & Industry and MRF Tyres have made huge investments in radial tyre technology. This has lead to savings in fuel costs, improvement in cut and chip resistance and better on-road performance.
“Tyre manufacturing and tyre performance are directly linked to the emission levels. In our tires, we promote radials which consume an average 8–10 per cent lesser fuel while working and hence thereby lesser pollution.”
Vidit Jain, Chief — Technology and R&D, Alliance Tire Group (ATG).
Radialisation has made a tremendous jump in the past decade in case of bus and truck tyres from 6% in 2008–09 to 44% in 2017–18.
Usage of Silica in place of carbon black is being increasingly considered by the Indian Tyre Industry. It lowers the rolling resistance and leads to reduced fuel consumptions. Also, the use of silica as a filler leads to a drop in the emission of pollutants.
‘Over the years, in our manufacturing plants, the use of carbon black has significantly gone down in the tyres that are made for passenger vehicles. For commercial vehicles, we need the right amount of carbon black as those tyres need to manage the pressure of the heavily loaded vehicles.”
-Pirelli Tyres Commercial Director Akash Singh Rathore
Because of improvement in quality, pricing of Indian Tyres in relation to the international market, and customisation, reports suggest that exports from the Indian Tyre Industry will grow by 8–10% in the coming three years. Tyres manufactured by the Indian Tyre Industry are being exported to more than 100 countries. The largest exporter of Indian tyres is the US. More than 15% of the revenue of the Indian Tyre Industry comes from exports.
The demand for green tyres is growing rapidly in the wake of the need for clean and green transportation. Scientists have made breakthrough researches for greater performance of the Indian Tyre Industry in the fuel economy. Green tyres reduce environmental impact at the overall life of tyres as well as at the manufacturing level. This improvement in quality has also led to increased costs at the manufacturing level for the price-sensitive Indian Tyre Industry. This is a challenge faced by the industry currently. But with companies like Bridgestone, MRF and Continental Tyres entering the green tyre market, the Indian Tyre Industry is gearing up to face this challenge in anticipation of the requirement of clean and efficient mobility.
A few years ago, many Indian tyre companies had collaborations with foreign markets for sourcing technology. But today, many of the Indian tyre companies have their own R&D centres.
‘Indian tyre companies rank very high when it comes to percentage increases in R&D spend over previous years. Currently, about 2% of the revenue is being invested in R&D which matches fairly with the global average.’
-Global Tyre Report
“Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing with its emphasis on automation, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) could help the tyre industry combat operational and supply chain challenges.”
-Prof. TN Kalamani
To improve production efficiency and quality of products, the Indian Tyre Industry is seeking help from cloud computing and big data. The price of natural rubber is quite volatile in India. Industry 4.0 is a transformation that makes it possible to meet challenges like uncertainties in the availability and cost of raw material.
Recently, CEAT became the first tyre company outside Japan to win the coveted Deming Prize for quality. There are various other industries such as Yokohama tyres, Nankang tyres, Kenda tyres, etc.
The Indian Tyre Industry is gearing up to emerge successful in the modernization phase. Hybridisation and electrification in the Indian commercial vehicle market are transforming the Indian Tyre Industry. The role of tyres is being increasingly recognised for safer and efficient mobility.