In the field of road transport, casing management determines whether a tyre can start a new life cycle or whether it should be scrapped. For if a truck tyre is initially designed to last up to 300 000 kilometres, its design usually allows this mileage to be doubled, or even tripled, for 60 to 80 percent of the cost or a new tyre. How? Thanks to regrooving and retreading operations that renew the tread of an old casing.
The ability to regroove, and then retread a tyre, will depend on the state of the casing. If wear is too extensive (i.e. if less than 2 to 3 mm of rubber remains, depending on the tyre manufacturer), then the tyre can no longer be regrooved or retreaded. Nor can it be repaired or retreaded if the casing is badly damaged. In both cases, the tyre will be scrapped and recycled, i.e. a net loss for the company since the tyre is an asset whose value is far from negligible. Understandably, the main challenges behind good casing management relate to the savings made on operating costs and reducing the tyre cost/km from when it was purchased new until it is recycled.
A waltz in three steps
Casing management depends, first of all, on the initial use made by the haulier in order to determine how the tyre will continue its cycle. As such, a tyre initially fitted on the steer axle will be fitted on the drive or trailer axle in different lives to come. If the tyre is originally fitted on the drive axle, the first retread will result in the tyre being fitted on the drive or trailer axle and after the second retread, it will be fitted back on the drive axle. Finally, a tyre fitted for the first time on the trailer axle will continue all of its life cycles on the same type of axle, provided that the tyre manufacturer’s recommendations are applied (for example, tyre manufacturers recommend not to fit retreaded tyres on the 3rd axle of a tridem due to tearing and chunking on the trailer axle).
It is also important to be able to develop the tyre item for haulage companies while ensuring optimum safety. Indeed, during the winter period, the use of regrooved tyres is abandoned in favour of new tyres which have a deeper tread depth. Regrooved tyres are more often used in spring and summer.
This light mechanical work requires the specialist in charge of casing management to have a good knowledge of the tyre’s life. In other words, if casing management is a matter for professionals, it starts, however, with the haulier. It is the seriousness invested in tyre fleet management that will influence the outcome of the process.
A matter for professionals
Built into the tyre retreading process, casing management is a matter for professionals, which today involves leading networks such as Vulco, Euromaster, Point S, Best Drive, Côté Route... but also tyre manufacturers themselves. Indeed, most of them offer a casing management service as part of their retreading programme, known as Total Tyre Care at Bridgestone, ContiCasingManagement at Continental, Fleet First at Goodyear-Dunlop or Remix at Michelin, number one on the market in France.
The management process starts by collecting tyres at the end of one of their life cycles. As Bandag (Bridgestone group), a retreading specialist explains, “casing management is much more than listing demounted tyres and counting scrap”. The dealer who claims to retread 80 000 casings per year in France says: it concerns “carefully evaluating every tyre that comes off a vehicle to establish if it can be retreaded or to identify the reason why it should no longer be used.” As such, Goodyear-Dunlop add, we “guarantee that potentially unsafe tyres are removed from service”.
Depending on his own constraints and needs, the road haulier using this type of service has two possibilities. In the first case, he simply returns the used casings and buys retreaded tyres from his service provider, depending on the intended use. In the second case, the road haulier may enter a personalised long term relationship with the supplier so that he only reuses his own tyres as part of a programme ensuring the traceability of each casing.
Towards a self-perpetuating cycle
The management of casings enters a so-called circular economy cycle which consists in maximising product performance while minimising the impact its production, use and recycling has on the environment. Since the law prohibits the landfill disposal of tyres, it is, in any case, necessary to upcycle the casing, including in the final phase of its existence and after its multiple lives on the road. As such, good casing management is an integral part of a process that Michelin has developed, a solution known as the 4R strategy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew). And according to Aliapur, a leading specialist in the field of recovering used tyres whichgroup most premium brand tyre manufacturers, 55% of the residues extracted from a used tyre can be recovered to produce asphalt used for road surfaces. The cycle has come full circle.