Bridgestone has been designing and manufacturing off-the-road tyres for more than 70 years. During this time the company has built up a leading market position and today supplies a complete range of off-the-road products and services to mining, construction, highway service and port customers around the world.
Bridgestone’s OTR division has been run as a separate unit from the passenger car and truck-bus activities since 1989.This has enabled Bridgestone to focus more strongly on the OTR market segment than most other manufacturers and develop diversified products for specific requirements, meeting customer demand for consistent high-quality tyres all over the world.
Today’s specialized software has enabled Bridgestone to develop tyres in a different way, with simulations of the behavior of the tyre in various situations helping to produce extremely durable tyres. This approach also simplifies tyre development processes and shortens development times.
At the same time, Bridgestone has continued to accumulate knowledge of tyres at the molecular level, helping to optimize the mixture ratio and reaction between carbon, silica and rubber. This science has not only led to the development of more environment-friendly tyres – notably Bridgestone’s Ecopia tyres for passenger cars and commercial vehicles which reduce fuel consumption through lower rolling resistance without compromising overall tyre performance – but has also successfully extended tread life for off-the-road tyres. With its latest technologies and capability to optimize compound mixes, Bridgestone is able to develop different tyre specifications to suit specific TKPH requirements.
The company also continues to invest large sums in OTR tyre research and development in order to improve product quality and performance. For example, Bridgestone plants employ sophisticated technologies such as X-Ray and supersonic inspection devices to assure tyre quality.
Increasing production of larger OTR tyres for mining
Bridgestone OTR tyres are manufactured at the company’s Shimonoseki, Hofu and Kitakyushu plants in Japan. Increased global industrial production, particularly in Asia in recent years, has led to increased demand for mined and quarried minerals, with a consequent increase in demand for mining vehicles. Super-large heavy-payload
trucks of up to 400 tons have proliferated. Kitakyushu, opened in 2009, was constructed to respond to this growing world demand for large and ultra-large OTR tyres which Shimonoseki, already the world’s largest OTR tyre plant, could no longer meet.
Similarly, the new Aiken County (South Carolina, USA) plant currently under construction will help meet increased demand for large and ultra-large OTR tyres from mining and quarrying industries in the Americas. Moving forward, Bridgestone will build a production system that can continually respond rapidly to changes in market demand trends and supply customers with world-class quality products on a timely basis.