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BKT: driving globe with off-highway tyres

Balkrishna Industries (BKT) is one such company which is not only setting a trend but also creating its own niche
Every company tries to identify an existing trend (socio-economic and market) and sell accordingly, but very few can breakthrough the obvious and dare to go beyond, creating not just success but also an unprecedented niche for themselves. They become pioneers and go on to build, along with a strong company, a robust business culture that lasts for generations. With more than 25 accomplished years of global leading presence in the off-highway tyres segment, Balkrishna Industries (BKT) is undoubtedly one such company.
Leading innovatorIn the early 1990s, when the other tyre companies in India were busy producing highway tyres for mass use, BKT foresaw a unique opportunity in international business and audaciously initiated production in the ‘off the highway’ segment. BKT’s products, owing to their state-of-the-art make and unmatched performance, found immediate recognition in global market, and there began an unending story of BKT’s triumph and innovation.
Today BKT enjoys principal presence around the world, encapsulating a staggering 130 countries and over. It is the preferred supplier to international OEMs in industrial, construction and agricultural tyre segments, and has grown since its inception in 1988 into a diversified industrial conglomerate exporting its expansive range of ‘off-highway solutions’ to the World.
State-of-the-art productsQuality conscious users who adhere to stringent conformity standards in Europe and America prefer BKT as their supplier, thus implying that every BKT product is superior most in creation and delivers expected performance.
This is achieved by using the foremost quality of raw materials that are processed through the most advanced technology creating a BKT product. “Our each product passes over 450 stages of tests. The result of this rigorous practice being that BKT products are known for their reliability and have the lowest claim ratio in the industry,” informs Rajiv Poddar, Joint Managing Director, BKT.
The company has products from 5-inch-rim diameter to 54-inch-rim diameter for vehicles, ranging from trailers, forklifts, etc. to technologically advanced machines like high horsepower tractors, combines, harvesters, GPS controlled vehicles, articulated dump trucks, high-speed cranes, sophisticated port vehicles and container handlers, and so forth.
All-steel radial OTR tyresBKT, continuing its legacy of taking gutsy decisions in business based on foresight, has ventured into the production of all steel radials since 2008. BKT is the first tyre company in India to produce the all-steel radial OTR tyres.
An all steel radial plant in Chopanki, Rajasthan, is now functioning on full throttle, producing top of the line radial tyres for OTR vehicles ranging from rigid dump trucks to snow manoeuvring vehicles.
These have already found strong appreciation in BKT’s chain of suppliers all over the world. The tyres under this segment range from a 20-inch diameter tipper truck size to a giant 51-inch rigid dump truck size, in both radial and bias make, thus covering one’s every requirement in industrial use and mining.
BKT also plans to unveil a more enviable and capable range of sizes for OTR solutions soon. To aid these ambitions, BKT has opened up another state-of-the-art, advanced production plant in Bhuj, Gujarat, which will focus on producing top of the line OTR tyre with special focus on the radial segment.
Port tyresBKT has established itself as a one-stop shop for all OTR solutions — be it for mining or industrial applications.
And staying true to the image, BKT has initiated production of port tyres. And once again owing to excellence is product performance and make, these have found tremendous users not only across Asia but around the world through its supply chain spanning 130 countries and over.
There is a wide gamut of tyres available in this line, ranging from port reach stacker sizes to RTG sizes, BKT has them all.
BKT has been selling tyres to major companies like Kalmar Sweden, which is one of the world’s leading reach stacker machine manufacturers.
BKT has also recently launched an ultra-advanced range of tyres, especially for high speed cranes. The tyre 445/95R/25 enables heavy high-speed cranes to journey at an unprecedented speed of 80 km/hr.
Agricultural tyresBKT is a maker of the world’s most preferred tyres for agricultural use. The company offers a huge range of solutions for agricultural activities.
BKT’s range of tractor tyres is specially designed to carry higher loads on and off roads with minimal soil compaction in field. Their superior make ensures great road ability, traction and durability making them a fitting choice for today’s high horse power tractors and trailer applications.
A greenfield projectThe manufacturing plant in Bhuj, Gujarat, is the fourth manufacturing unit set up by BKT in India. The project complex comprises of about 300 acres of land, just a few kilometres away from the Mundra port, offering logistical advantages in transport of raw materials. The site foresees a large warehouse and a specific area of about 15 acres dedicated exclusively to R&D. The testing facility at the plant is equipped with indoor and outdoor testing areas for the products, and there is a special testing track constructed to provide for test runs and on-field tests for the tyres.  Introducing the plant Arvind Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director, BKT says, “We have invested over $375 million in this plant. This is a huge plant spread across 300 acres and with the most modern machinery ever used in production in India. The plant will enhance our total capacity by 75 per cent.” Once the Bhuj plant becomes fully operational, it will have the capacity to produce about 350 metric tonnes per day.
The real winning point is the social relevance of the plant. BKT has established a completely self-sustaining village around the 300 acres of plant site, where its employees and their families are living with complete facilities and requirements of modern living. Schools, hospitals, fire brigade stations, hotels and guest houses, you name it and the village has it.
For BKT, the Bhuj plant means an extraordinary 75 per cent increase in production which will add about 120,000 tonnes per year in addition to its 180,000 tonnes obtained from the other three plants. This facility also produces ultra large and giant OTR tyres up to 51-inch rim diameter.
Driving tomorrowThe tyre markets in Asia have witnessed a strong surge in recent years, with India and China leading in growth and development. Indian tyre companies are no longer just manufacturing tyres for commercial vehicles but the market has expanded encapsulating high-end consumers with heavy OE needs for industrial, construction and mining purposes.A company like BKT is a huge factor in this growth with its selling chains covering almost the entire world. However, as they say, with great success comes great responsibility.
Along with business interests, there has also been a strong escalation in application requirement demands by its consumers. Today BKT is manufacturing tyres for OEMs all over the world, offering solutions for heavy agro, industrial and mining solutions.
In terms of production, quality and performance norms have become more stringent – driven principally by emissions legislation – and with demands for fuel efficiency and continuing requirements for extended hardware durability, it has becomes increasingly important for big market players like BKT to not just provide for solutions for an OE machinery but also be involved with its development right from the beginning.
BKT is a vendor and collaborator with companies like Coal India, which is among the world’s largest OTR customers.
BKT is working intensively to be at tandem with the emerging needs of its OEM clients and has the shortest response period amongst its competitors when it comes to delivering a new product while keeping the costs low and efficiency high, adhering to the stringent most international standards.

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