Certainly not tyre(d) of tyres!
Tyrexpo Africa, the African continent’s only dedicated tyre, wheel and accessory show, opened its doors on March 6, 2012 – reporting increased visitor attendance, both local and international, compared to the 2010 show. JACO DE KLERK reports
The distinctive smell of rubber filled the air as one entered the first exhibition hall at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. The event looked promising from the get-go, with visitors browsing through the stands and exhibitors demonstrating products.
“Attendance on the first day was up compared to 2010, and despite a local transport strike, the hall was also very busy on day two,” said Rowena Suthers, sales director of show organiser ECI International. According to ECI managing director Paul Farrant, exhibitors were particularly impressed with the number of quality visitors. Numerous orders were placed during the show.
This fourth edition of Tyrexpo Africa attracted more than 140 exhibitors from across the world – specialists in tyre manufacturing, tyre retreading, tyre repair materials and consumables, alloy wheels, garage equipment and the very latest in tyre fitting and wheel balancing equipment technologies. There was something of interest for visitors from diverse sectors of the tyre industry.
One exhibitor, Stamford Tyres, started out as a humble tyre retailer and petrol service station in Singapore’s famed Stamford Road in the 1930s. Supplier of the Sumo Firenza and Sumo Tire brands – the former a premium budget range of high-performance truck and bus radial tyres, and the latter the company’s OTR range – Stamford Tyres is also an agent for Continental Tyres in Singapore and South Africa. It has four local branches, situated in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
“I think this is simply the most important show in Africa for tyres,” said Colin Choo, general manager of Stamford Sports Wheels. “Everyone who is anyone in the tyre industry is here. Africa as a continent is growing almost as fast as Asia, and is possibly the next high-growth market in the world. Of course, we know South Africa is basically the main gateway into Africa, so we are very optimistic about the show and gaining more information about the needs of the market.”
A newcomer to the show and a relative newcomer to the South African market, Treadsetters, exhibited with the objective of promoting several products from its brand portfolio – including its house-brand Torque truck tyres. This UK-based tyre wholesaler was established in 1999 and focuses on distributing budget tyres through its worldwide supply chain. Included in the exhibition was the Hifly range of car, van and 4×4 tyres.
“Both Hifly and Torque are working really well across Europe, Brazil and Australia,” said Matthew Smith, director of Treadsetters. “The brand and the quality are good – very good. We’re working with some customers already, so this is more of an exploratory look at the market,” said Smith. “We want to get some more feedback from the market, take it away with us, and see how we can develop the brand further.” The company aims to continue its expansion into South Africa and, in due course, the whole of Africa.
Vreky Patel, deputy manager of export marketing for Indian tyre manufacturer BKT, said the exhibition was, as ever, good. “We increased our booth size this year and have seen an increased number of visitors from the local market,” he said. BKT products are supplied and distributed locally by Tubestone, through its branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Windhoek and Harare.
The overall positive note of the show was echoed by Jeff Henry, regional manager for wheel alignment manufacturer Hunter, which was exhibiting with its South African distributor Leaderquip. “We’ve been doing demonstrations of our new Hawkeye Elite Technology systems all day,” he said. “We’ve already received some very good orders. We’ve had good success here.”
South African tread rubber manufacturer Leader Rubber Company, supplier of tread rubber to the tyre retreading industry, also joined the praise-choir of the show. “We’ve been pleased with the international impact,” said sales director Conjack de Vere. “We have seen visitors from Mozambique and Zambia as well as other countries from the region. The show has helped our international profile.”
This year’s show can certainly be seen as a success – with deals being made, new clients being acquired and high standards being set for the next Tyrexpo Africa. Some may dislike the distinct smell of rubber, but to the exhibitors and many of the visitors to the show this may be the smell of victory.
Best tyre protection sealant ever?
Best Tyre Protection Sealant South Africa, another newcomer to the show and to South Africa, displayed an innovative way to seal and protect any tubeless tyre from air pressure leakage, with its Best Tyre Protection Sealant (Best TPS).
As marketing director Guy Bower explains, this is a new form of tyre sealant. “Most other products on the market have been what we call second-generation sealant – basically liquid based and fibre particles only. This new product that we have is deemed third generation, because it contains rubber crumb, which actually forms a physical plug as opposed to just a chemical bond on the tyre.”
The product is injected into the tyre through the valve – in a certain quantity, depending on tyre size – eliminating the need to dismantle the wheel from the vehicle or the tyre from the rim.
Best TPS is deployed when a tyre sustains a puncture – it’s activated by the escaping air. As the tyre turns, the liquid vulcanised rubber-crumb and fibre-enforced mixture is then permanently joined with the tyre into one mass. Best TPS also protects all metal parts on the tyre and rim from rust. “It maintains the tyre pressure as well, ensuring the tyre runs a lot cooler – and therefore extends the life of the tyre,” says Bower.
The product costs between eight and 12 percent of the value of the tyre, depending on tyre size. It will last the entire life of the tyre, and has no shelf life. According to Bower, it’s easy enough for any member of staff to install after a training course provided by Best TPS.
Best TPS International was founded in 2001, and entered the South African market six months ago. The company will initially focus on commercial fleets, and will develop repair kits for the passenger market at a later stage. Its ultimate aim is to provide pre-installed products to the general public.