Ivybridge-based Bandulc is offering further insight into its production of retread tyres as part of its 50th anniversary.
Quality, Reliability and Safety at Forefront of Bandvulc’s Policy
From the initial design and development work to the casing recycling and tread application on the factory floor, Bandvulc explains that it implements critical measures that ensure its tyres offer quality controls across a range of applications. This is supported by the knowledge of Bandvulc’s parent company, Continental Tyres.
Tony Mailling, Bandvulc Operations Director, explains the steps taken by the team at the Ivybridge factory to deliver quality on a grand scale.
“Retreading is a highly regulated industry, and Bandvulc has processes in place to ensure that it’s producing tyres of outstanding quality,” Mailling explains. “First and foremost, Bandvulc tyres conform to the UN’s ECE Regulation 109, meaning that the performance, dimensions and tyre wall markings of Bandvulc products are similar to those of a brand new tyre.
“At Bandvulc, we audit our manufacturing process to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard. An ISO Standard ascertains quality and consistency by ensuring that a company is complying with its own standards time and time again.” By benchmarking the quality of the tyre and implementing ISO, Bandvulc can repeatedly deliver a high-quality tyre that’s safe and reliable while also providing outstanding service to its customers.
“Legally, it also ensures that all the relevant documentation for Health and Safety, environmental impacts and quality control are in place,” Mailling fianlises.
Mailling also explains of the staffing operations, “None of this would be possible without a highly skilled team in Ivybridge. To reach the strict requirements of our ISO standards, we invest significantly in training and personal development. In fact, the most essential part of delivering a quality tyre is a committed workforce.”
How Bandvulc Ensures Quality
Bandvulc’s retread tyre ranges use recycled tyre casings supplied by operators across the UK and the EU. Naturally, not every tyre will be up to scratch, depending on how it was used and maintained throughout its working life, so Bandvulc inspects up to 2,500 casings a day. Around 30% of the used tyres reviewed are unfit for retreading and are recycled.
Evaluating a worn casing requires more than just a visual inspection. The casings are subjected to 20 different quality assurance checks and undergo a stage one shearography inspection. Shearography technology allows Bandvulc to look through the core structure of the casing, identifying any issues or abnormal air pockets within the body that cannot be seen by a team member. Importantly, the retreaders also do a detailed visual check as part of the process.
Once the casing is fit for reuse, the tyre’s performance is monitored throughout the retread process. During this process, Bandvulc continues to access the viability of the tyre during each stage – even after the tyre production process has been completed, with the tyre prepared for shipping. One of the secondary inspection stages follows the removal of the existing tread from the casing, as that can reveal hidden internal damage.
After the retreading process is complete, a detailed pinhole test is conducted to locate any hairline breaches of the inner liner and inflate each tyre to 150psi to check tyre uniformity and structural integrity. Finally, a shearography inspection is undertaken to identify any weaknesses that may have developed during the tread application.
This is what Bandvulc refer to as a belt and braces approach, to ensure that the claims on the retreaded tyres are just as low as they are for a range of brand new tyres.
Concluding, Bandvulc believes that innovation and improvement are the key criteria to a dynamic business. By meeting ISO standards, having a knowledgeable and dedicated workforce and a system of barcoded and tracked tyres through the production process, Bandvulc has the knowledge, authority and crucial statistics to ensure that every tyre is logged during production and post-production on its system.
Mailling and Banduvlc conclude that this connected approach helps certify and guarantee tyre quality. In its most recent innovation, Bandvulc has implemented a new app-based digital auditing system. Its deployment allows the team to use a simple app on a tablet as they go, cutting down on paperwork and increasing the efficiency of the process, in a sign that Bandvulc is continuing to work on and develop solutions and that the retreaders, 50 years on isn’t resting on its laurels.