With environmental consciousness front of mind across the transport industry and society as a whole, commercial fleet operators work hard to reduce fuel consumption, to meet strict legal requirements and help lower overall driving costs.
When it comes to tyres, one of the most effective ways operators can lessen environmental impact is by choosing retreads for their fleets. Tyre retreading extends the useful lifetime of a tyre and is a more economical alternative to buying completely new tyres. By reusing the casing, energy and raw materials are saved, and the number of old tyres in circulation is reduced.
As one of the world’s leading tyre manufacturers, Continental has a wealth of experience in retreading and casing management. As part of its ContiLifeCycle programme, it offers retreads under the ContiRe name.
A sustainable product and process
A retreaded ContiRe tyre reportedly saves 70-80% of the materials required to manufacture a new tyre, therefore, significantly reducing the impact on the environment. For each ContiRe tyre produced, Continental saves 68 litres of oil and 44kg of rubber compound.
The ContiLifeCycle programme makes use of hot retreading, with tyres undergoing virtually identical processes to those found in the production of completely new tyres. However, the ContiLifeCycle processes use significantly fewer precious resources, like natural rubber, compared to new tyre production. The production energy is reduced by up to 70% and this also improves the carbon footprint.
In addition, retreading reduces scrapping, exportation and incineration of worn-out tyres which, over the course of a year, can release over 160,000 tonnes of CO2 into the air. The retreading process avoids this, with each retread using 70-80% of a worn-out tyre and preventing 182kg of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
Steve Howat, General Manager – Technical Services, Continental Tyres UK, said: “Continental’s tyre casing serves as a valuable material in the retreading process and can also be used for professional regrooving in future. As well as allowing fleet operators to utilise the tyre for longer, the process creates a lower profile thickness to reduce rolling resistance and fuel consumption. This is what makes ContiRe a more environmentally friendly option.”
As well as being a more environmentally conscious option, a correctly used retread is more cost-effective in the long term. A retread costs around 75% of the price of a brand-new tyre, offering excellent value for money and significantly reducing running costs in a competitive fleet market.
Low-cost, single-life tyres are not always suitable for retreading and therefore cost more to scrap and replace, whereas premium tyres by Continental are specially designed and built with the ability to be retreaded into ContiRe tyres in future. A commercial fleet that uses single-life tyres uses four times as many tyres, compared to a fleet that uses premium tyres and retreading.
Steve Howat said: “Using our ContiLifeCycle programme and premium ContiRe products, customers can give new life to their worn tyre and realise its full economic performance. What is more, the tyres are subject to durability and safety tests so that a set of ContiRe tyres can be covered by Continental warranty. It is this value-added quality which draws customer to hot-retreads and makes them a crucial element in the drive towards lowest overall operating costs.”