BKT’s Bhuj plant: A marvel of tyre making

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BKT has created a marvel of tyre manufacturing out of nothing in a 300-acre of barren desert with an investment of $ 500-mn

Indian tyre maker Balkrishna Industries Ltd (BKT) is a name to reckon within the global off-highway tyre industry. With over 92 per cent of its products exported to more than 130 countries across the world, today the company is firmly positioned among the top global off-highway tyre manufacturers. Now, after setting up a $ 500-million world-class facility at Bhuj, Gujarat, BKT aims to be the leader in the off-highway tyre market worldwide.

If the off-highway tyre market were a chess game, BKT would be preparing to declare checkmate and claim its place as a global leader, said Rajiv Poddar, Joint Managing Director, BKT. He adds, “Over the years, we have made clear that we are willing to seriously play our match on the global chessboard adapting to trends and evolution. We carefully surveyed the market and observed our competitors before making our moves. Now we feel ready to change the rules of the game, setting new horizons for the challenges to come. Bhuj is the landmark epitomising this revolutionary change, matured within BKT.”

Arvind Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director of BKT said, “In the game of chess, there is a unique quality that distinguishes a true champion from a mere player. It is the ability to understand that each game consists of challenges as the game proceeds. And hence, the flexibility to adapt one’s strategy till the final move. Since its inception, BKT has chosen to be a main player in this game, on the global chessboard.”

Inaugurated at the beginning of December 2015, the Bhuj plant has been developed to meet the future market demand while matching with all the norms of environmental, economic and technological sustainability. The site stretches over an area of 300 acres (121 hectares) in a geographically strategic location near well-developed roadways and about 60-km from the Port of Mundra on the Arabian Sea.

BKT’s Journey in to the tyre making
BKT’s journey of tyre manufacturing started way back in 1954 when it’s Founder Chairman late Mahabirprasad Poddar set up the production of cycle tyres. In 1987, he took the group towards new horizons by starting the production of two- and three-wheeler tyres. Seeing the potential in mid-segment brand, BKT entered into the off-highway tyre industry in 1994. In the same year, the company went international with intense activities of market penetration, first in Europe (starting from the UK), then in the US.

In 2004, BKT entered the segment of radial agriculture tyres, a segment that even today represents the company’s main product segment. A further breakthrough for BKT came with the launch of Agrimax Force tyres for high-powered tractors in 2007. Today, the company has an extensive range of radial agricultural tyres consisting of over 230 sizes.

In 2008, after establishing footprints in the bias OTR tyre industry, BKT marked entry into the specialised segment of OTR all-steel radial tyres – a strategic move to strengthen position in the off-highway tyre market. Huge investments were made to set up a new and modern production facility in Chopanki, Rajasthan. Today in this segment at BKT has the production capability for the sizes ranging from 17.5-inch to 49-inch and in early 2017 it would go up to 51-inch for specialised mining application.

Bhuj plant: A marvel of tyre making
Thanks to a 500-million-US-dollar investment, BKT’s Bhuj plant is transpired as a state-of-the-art, world-class tyre making facility. Presently, about 175 tonnes are rolling off the production lines in Bhuj every day even though the plant has a capacity of 350 tonnes per day.

The main plant area of 72 acres is armed with internationally sourced highly efficient, state-of-the-art equipment including 9 Marangoni machines from Italy, 13 mixers, 177 presses, and 65 tyre building machines.

Today Bhuj plant is capable of making tyres of a diverse range – from 5-inch lawn tyres to 49-inch giant OTR tyres. The tyres currently produced in Bhuj plant include various sizes of Maglift solid tyre and Liftmax LM 81 tyre, both for forklifts, in addition to Portmax PM 93 in size 280/75 R 22.5 for straddle carriers, Radial multipurpose truck tyre Multimax MP 540, and the giant OTR Radial tyre 27.00 R49 Earthmax for mining applications.

World-class tyre testing track
With 776-metre long outdoor tyre testing track, perhaps the only one of its kind in India, the circuit stretches over a total area of about 25 acres (10 hectares). Thanks to a large variety of tests, many relevant features such as traction, handling, comfort, noise, fuel consumption, braking, rolling resistance, soil compaction and many more can be measured by means of high-precision devices and instruments. As a result of this unique source of information, BKT is able to further enhance tyre performance and optimise user-specific solutions.

BKT at Bauma Conexpo India 2016
BKT is one of the key exhibitors of Bauma Conexpo India 2016 and is all set to mesmerize visitors with its gigantic range of construction and mining related off-highway tyres. The company’s newest mining tyre EARTHMAX SR 46 27.00R49 (E-4) is expected to be the showstopper at Bauma Conexpo India 2016. Designed to carry heavy loads in severe rocky and abrasive mining operations, the rigid haul truck tyre SR 46 offers superior cut and chip resistance leading to improved tyre life.

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