Its new report, The Future of Tire Manufacturing to 2022, Smithers Rapra identifies how environmental and tire regulations, changes in materials, tire designs, and demands on tires are impacting on the tire manufacturing market.
These factors are adding significant pressure to innovate tire manufacturing as a whole, as well as individual process steps, such as mixing, tire building, and curing. For years a slow-changing and conservative environment, change in tire manufacturing is accelerating, with trends such as outsourcing, material use minimisation, plant specialisation, and geographic location changing the structure and footprint of production. Meanwhile technological innovations like further automation, tire modelling, equipment innovations, RFID/smart factories, and tire testing are transforming the process too.
The tire industry currently is in the middle of a boom cycle, both with respect to capital spending and net capacity additions,
Overall, industry capacity stands at approximately 2.4 billion units, and on a net basis global capacity is expected to grow nearly 3% per year over the forecast period, slower than capital spending and production and demand growth. Rationalisation of some overcapacity in certain markets (like China) and likely increases in capacity utilisation contribute to this difference
The changes in tire materials and designs, the need for greater efficiencies and the development of appropriate and advanced tire process machinery is helping sustain and grow capital spending by tire companies across the globe. This is in addition to the need to optimise and update capacity to be closer to key customers and markets. Overall, the global tire industry is spending approximately $13.4 billion on plant and equipment in 2016, and is expected to grow the figure through 2022 to keep pace with changes in the tire industry. This will happen both in manufacturing technologies, and in terms of end use and regional demand growth.
The top echelon of tire producers has been relatively stable in recent years; but mergers and acquisitions have contributed a great deal to the advancement and standardisation of production systems over the past several decades. This culminated in the recent acquisitions of Pirelli by ChemChina and CGS/Mitas by Trelleborg. There is likely to be future activity of this kind, as companies seek manufacturing and distribution efficiencies, technologies, and improved market access. This will further spread and accelerate the diffusion of manufacturing evolutions across end-use sectors and geographic regions.
Improvements in manufacturing processes have accelerated over the last decade, spurred by the increased focus on environmental issues and the construction of new factories to meet growing demand and to be able to handle new equipment more easily. Advances in automation have also helped significantly. There are still very significant savings to be realised, as well as increasing environmental regulations and consumer labelling requirements to comply with, and these together mean that improvements in manufacturing efficiencies will continue to be a focus for tire companies.
Notes for Editors
The Future of Tire Manufacturing 2022 is available for £4,500.
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