Superdoll Zambia Limited is redefining Africa’s tyre retreading sector with its technologically equipped Off-the-road (OTR) tyre retreading plant in the East African city of Ndola, Zambia.
Superdoll Leads the Way in Mining Sector
Established in Zambia in 2012, Superdoll has proven to be the “latest world technology” in the business of OTR, according to the company’s country manager, Vick Nachshon.
Formerly established in Tanzania 30 years ago, Superdoll has been the sole distributor for Michelin and BF Goodrich for the last three decades, since 1990.
BF Goodrich is an American tyre company. Originally part of the industrial conglomerate Goodrich Corporation, it was acquired in 1990 (along with Uniroyal, then The Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Company) by the French tyre maker Michelin.
The absence of tyre manufacturers in Zambia makes it difficult for consumers to get hold of suitable premium and budget tyres, except for through an accredited distributor like Superdoll, which is handling direct from Michelin products as Michelin’s sole distributor for all type of new tyres up to small OTR tyres.
Superdoll Tanzania was the first company to introduce tubeless new tyres in the East African market. The company’s first achievement was a new Michelin truck tyre 315/80R22.5” coach tyre, designed especially for the African market.
“Our Superdoll OTR plant is equipped with the latest world technology, state of the art machines, non-destructive Shearography method, and decades of experience”, Nachshon said.
Unveiled in 2017 and followed by the commissioning of the only OTR tyre retreading and repair plant in the region which is equipped with a Shearography tyre testing machine, Superdoll claims status as the only plant on the African continent capable of handling OTR tyres from 25” up to 63” tyre size.
DRC Congo is currently the largest potential customer for an OTR retreading plant. In 2018, the Superdoll OTR retreading and repair plant participated in the Mining Exhibition held at Lubumbashi, DRC.
Superdoll Zambia is the only OTR retreading and repair plant located in Zambia, the plant was certified and granted by the Zambian Ministry of Mines, the Mine Safety Department (MSD).
“I started the process of certifying our retreading plant when the mines, during our marketing, asked if we are certified by MSD.” “I must admit that it was a real surprise finding a certified Engineer who arrived at our plant to learn and understand our process.
Basically, we went through an audit,” said Nachshon.
The OTR retreads manufactured at the plant are now closely monitored by the MSD to prove that they are suitable for the toughest conditions of severe industrial use. Nachshon says the MSD engineers were incredibly surprised to see “our state of the art, non-destructive tyre testing machine, which was manufactured by SDS Systemtechnik GmbH in Germany.”
In addition, the OTR tyre retreading and repair plant, supposedly the largest OTR retreading plant in the world and located in the Ndola Copperbelt, was recently awarded the Certificate in Quality Management System based on ISO 9001-2015. “The Certification audit was conducted by the Zambian Bureau of Standards (ZABS) from 4 to 5 April 2017,” said Nachshon.
After a three-year construction process supported by the Zambian Government, through the Zambian Development Agency (ZDA), Superdoll now has the capacity to operate and serve the entire Zambian mining industry’s open pit copper mines, underground copper mines, emerald mines and limestone quarries, with most of the tyres mounted on the mine’s equipment being from one of the three key brands of Michelin, Bridgestone and Goodyear.
The retreading and repair of OTR tyres for the Zambian Mines began in 2017. “We use Strip Rubber Compound, which is produced at Marangoni Retreading System Deutschland GMBH, Located in Henstedt – Ulzburg, Germany.” “Our retreaded tyres cover all ranges of tyres from 25” Up to 63” tyre size,” Nachshon said.
According to Nachshon, the company’s tyres have performed well in fleet tests, having been fitted on a fleet from March 2017. Most of the tyres performed for more than 6,228 hours and with considerable tread depth still left on the tyres.
“This performance is more than what we achieved from the new tyres of well-known tyre manufacturers while the cost of our retreads is only 65% of the new tyre cost”, said one of the company’s customers. “The results after one year of operation are self-explanatory.”
The OTR plant in Ndola uses the world’s best quality rubber compounds as raw material, it is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, and the technical personnel, which are supported by Marangoni engineers, are also well trained to handle the machines under the supervision of production manager, Peter Tomczak, the well-known German OTR Tire Meister, (master craftsman).
Superdoll's technical team consistently visited the mine site to inspect the tyres and provide guidelines and expert advice to run the mine’s tyre management programme cost-effectively and efficiently.
The retreads are manufactured using the most popular OTR system—the cut and groove system.
In November last year, Superdoll issued a warranty between its retread plant in Zambia and Gemcanton Mining. The assurance reads; “the whole Superdoll team will thoroughly focus on adding value to the operation of our customers through providing quality services and products. We have always teamed up with our customers, working day and night to overcome difficult technical aspects and to achieve the desired results. Our performance is based on achievement of results in real terms within a prescribed time limit, and we do not compromise for any result below the highest standard.”
The company, no doubt, is revolutionising the Zambian tyre retread in its own way. But challenges abound; from difficulties in getting raw materials to transporting raw materials to the nearest port. Nachshon says unavailability of raw material in Zambia makes work difficult for them, as manufacturers of rubber compounds, are not active in the country.
“It takes about 90 days from day of order, and transportation to and from the nearest port is about 2,000 km each way, putting an unimaginable increase to the already high cost of raw materials.”
Nachshon has been in the world tyre retreading and new tyre manufacturing since 1980, covering all types of tyres from retreading aircraft tyres to passenger car and truck tyres, as well as being involved in both mould cure and precured type plants. Before being recruited by Superdoll, he was the project manager of a brand new OTR steel tubeless tyre manufacturer Eurotire located in Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania.
He says his desire is to serve the customers with the focus of providing customers with retreaded tyres, which will reduce dramatically the cost of each fleet operation by reducing costs per operating hour.
“We at Superdoll, are all dedicated to go the extra mile to achieve our customer’s service,” Nachshon added.