Coal mining is expected to drive demand
PK Ganguly, Head – Marketing (Domestic Sales), Balkrishna Industries, shares his thoughts on the market scenario and how the company is gearing up to meet the growing demands in the market.

Which segments drive the demand for OTR tyres in India?
The OTR tyre sector in India is primarily driven by the mining and construction segment as well as the industrial segment. The OTR tyre industry acts as an integral asset for the machinery used in both these high revenue generating sectors, with extensive use in heavy-duty mining dump trucks, loaders, dozers, graders, scrapers and so on. These segments today are fast expanding to be a lucrative market for OTR tyres, considering the heavy rise in construction activities and its global growth. This has only been accelerated by the building of road infrastructure and smart cities across the country that has further increased the demands of the sector. Privatisation in the Indian coal segment has also opened many new avenues for the OTR tyre industry.

What is the OEM and the replacement market scenario?
With the mining and industrial construction segment witnessing accelerated demand in India, there will be a high demand for new equipment, escalating OEM sales. The buying economies are shifting their focus today especially in the coal sector which has significantly accelerated the growth of OEM in recent years. This is only expected to further improve for countries like India, on account of various socio economic and environmental factors. OEMs today provide a great avenue for the tyre market to constantly reinvent and deliver the best products that will shape the future of tyre technology.

What is the progress of radialisation in OTR tyres? Which segments drive demand for radial tyres?
Indian OTR markets are mostly into bias and not yet ripe for radials. Radial tyres are integral for giant earthmoving machines which are expected to witness a great surge in demand along with large and ultra large tyres that have witnessed excellent growth in Indian markets, particularly in the coal sector. Being the largest mining sector in India, there is a great untapped potential waiting in the coal sector. OEMs have been selling equipment fitted with radial tyres in mining segments and this will improve demand in after-market in course of time. Considering the severe operational conditions in underground mines, radial tyres are the only solution to meet the customer’s requirement.

All-steel radial OTR tyres require breakthrough technology spanning several spheres to meet pivotal market demands and hence radialisation is truly steering the future for the industry.

What are the emerging design and technology trends in OTR tyres?
An emerging design trend for the OTR segment is an ever-expanding shift towards radial tyres, from bias range which has led to several breakthrough technologies in the domain.

Furthermore, as giant earthmoving machines have had a steady growth in demand, the large and ultra large tyres that cater to this segment have witnessed great innovation and re-modelling in recent years, to offer new-age solutions for the heavy-duty equipment.

What are your plans to meet the emerging demand in construction and mining?
We at BKT today manufacture a wide range of reliable high-performance industrial tyres which can be used for loading, excavating, lifting or material handling and have been made with a special focus on safety that are designed to service the construction and mining segment. Our state-of-the-art plants curate tyres that greatly aid a wide range of machinery in the construction and industrial segment, right from the compactor, backhoe loader, wheel loader, skid steer, grader, tippers, reach stackers and so forth. We have developed a wide range of mining tyres both in bias and radial segments. Capacity expansion in our four manufacturing plants has been going on to meet the growing future demand of OTR tyres in the global markets.

What are the latest products and solutions from the company for the off-highway segment?
The ultra large size 40.00R57 for giant dump trucks of 240 tonne capacity is indeed a giant step taken by BKT and such an introduction has proved our technological skills in OTR segment.

Our all-steel radial tyres are manufactured in our largest and the most modern manufacturing facilities with the most refined automation at Bhuj, Gujarat. BKT is also the only company in India to establish the latest high-end facilities to manufacture supreme-quality OTR radial and bias tyres and today our best-in-class technology is dominating the world markets and fostering innovation.

What is your outlook on the Indian OTR tyre market? What are your expansion plans?
The coal mining segment in India is expected to grow at a higher pace to meet the country’s growing energy requirement and this is all set to drive a new wave of expansion and growth for the industry in the coming year. Furthermore, various other segments like industrial, construction, and ports will set to grow and BKT is all set to meet future demands of OTR domain hands on, with its world-class Bhuj manufacturing plant. Our expansion plans include the unveiling of our new game-changing tyres for various segments that are being manufactured keeping in mind the technology of tomorrow.

How do you look at the opportunities for Indian players in future?
This is an exciting time for the Indian market, as the tyre industry, like many other industries is witnessing a rise in domestic demand, and a rapid boost in trade ties within the country. The dependence on imports for raw materials or/and finished goods has significantly diminished, with India turning to Indian players for the same and in the coming years, Indian products are set to have an edge, and we are excited to see how this new trend further strengthens our brand’s position in the country and also drives our country’s growth.