Tyrelessly pursuing greatness
Apollo Tyres South Africa found Truck Test 2013 very exciting as it afforded the company ample opportunities to network with major vehicle manufacturers – one of many advantages. However, the company’s Dunlop Transteel range has advantages of its own and a surprise in store.
Product Manager, Charles Marais, says that the company expected a credible comparison, backed by factual evidence, on the performance of the Truck Test 2013 trucks – which is why Dunlop participated in the event once again. “It allows us to understand what the vehicle manufacturers require from a tyre partner in their overall product offering to their own customers,” he adds.”
Marais points out that the ability to offer the right product for the right application is vitally important when responding to your customers’ needs. “Fuel consumption remains a major concern to fleet operators and, with rising costs, transporters are continuously looking for ways to reduce their cost per kilometre (CPK), while attempting to reduce their carbon footprint.
Marais explains: “We are extremely excited about our new developments and are planning to expand our Transteel range, with some new sizes and patterns aimed at the eight-tonne market segment, but I can’t give too many secrets away at this stage.” He adds, however, that the company’s 11R22.5 truck tyres are going from strength to strength, which added to Dunlop’s decision to further extend its existing offering with these new developments.
Advanced technology and modern compounding have been applied in the manufacture of the new generation of the Dunlop Transteel truck tyre range. The company has invested substantial resources into its truck tyre business in recent years, with state-of-the-art equipment, worth well over R100 million, installed at the company’s Durban radial truck plant.
Additions include the Japanese-engineered Kokusai inspection machine, which allows for in-line automation and replaces the weighing station, static balance machine and the manual uniformity machines. In addition to the company’s current inspection parameters, it is now able to test the dynamic imbalance of the tyres. The machine completes all four of the inspection parameters in an impressive 55 seconds including seven run-out readings, static imbalance, dynamic imbalance and tyre mass recoding. Based on the measurement results obtained, the machine automatically grades the tyres, thus eliminating any danger of human error and providing precise data to enable quality improvement.
“The production capabilities and technological advancements have resulted in greater quality control and consistency, and we are now producing over 1 100 radial truck tyres per day, all of which have a five-year warranty and are retreadable,” Marais reveals. “The integrity of the tyre casing has proven to be so sound that fleet operators are now offered a complete range of tyres with a written guarantee on the first and second retread life.”
He adds: “The Dunlop Transteel truck radial range is designed to provide comprehensive performance solutions for long-haul, regional and short-haul routes, as well as specialist applications.” He goes on to explain: “The range includes: steer, trailer, drive and all-axle products manufactured to the most stringent international quality standards. Customers also have the added advantage of a dedicated full back-up support system.”
Training programmes are offered to Dunlop Transteel customers at selected branches and fleet depots and include schooling drivers in: professional driving skills, correct tyre application and maintenance, as well as correct truck, tractor and trailer maintenance.
Apollo’s service offering also includes:
• Scrap tyre analysis provided in computerised formats. These reports identify primary causes of tyre scrapping, enabling one to implement cost-saving corrective action.
• Monitoring and general maintenance conducted on all the wheels. These include pressure checks and visual inspections for any vehicle faults that could affect the performance of tyres, with a full report issued to customers.
• Fleet operational route surveys and analysis to determine what factors affect tyre wear and tear and tread life along these corridors.
• Assessment of the heat tolerance level of tyres by using a Pyrometer.
• Load studies to determine the correct tyre pressure for the loads carried on all axle positions, including a representative cross-sectional report of all the vehicles weighed in the fleet.
With these benefits and added services it is hard to believe that the industry is being so severely affected by the influx of various cheap Chinese tyres. “Initially, the cheaper tyres can be an attractive proposition to those in the transport industry,” Marais says. “However, many of these fleet owners are returning to reliable, tried and tested brands like Dunlop Transteel.”
He explains that Transteel’s durable casing, which is backed by a two-cap guarantee, and the free value-added services have proven to be a winning formula for Apollo’s customers. “I also think that people are becoming more aware of the impact that this has on our economy as a whole.”
Marais says that this is one of the reasons that the company is continuously looking at new and improved ways of doing things. “We are shifting our focus to providing a complete range of locally produced products for all South African applications – developed, tried and tested in our own back yard for our customers’ specific needs.”
Marais adds: “Our well trained and experienced truck team is always willing to give their attention to any queries that transport operators may have, as we offer far more than just tyres, we offer a lifelong partnership.”
And with the extensive benefits, services, products (including a promised expansion of the Transteel range) and the information gained from Truck Test 2013, coupled with actively listening to the market, Apollo has a great deal to offer to its partners and their own clientele.