KRAIBURG Austria has assessed the course of the business year 2022 as satisfactory on the whole, with annual sales amounting to 92 million Euro. The growth, says the company, is due mainly to increases in sales prices resulting from the drastic rises in costs. Whilst sales figures in the mould cure section were on a similar level to the previous year, KRAIBURG Austria was again able to achieve growth in the area of high-performance compounds for hot cured retreads in 2022. The Austrian company therefore continued a trend of the last few years, especially in various key markets of Central and Eastern Europe. KRAIBURG Austria also sees the successful development of the strategic partnership with important key account customers as a confirmation of their quality and service.
Mayrhofer talks to Retreading Business
“Our branch once more proved its crisis resistance in 2022; the grim forecasts proved untrue. However, the past year was extreme in all respects and marked by several, overlapping crises,” Stefan Mayrhofer, Managing Director of KRAIBURG Austria commented. “As a result of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, we as a material supplier soon felt the massive effects in the availability of raw materials and the supply chain stability with immediate cost influences in the areas of provisioning, logistics and energy supply.” In responding to the chalenges, KRAIBURG’s Development team was able to change over a large number of products and compounds from Russian raw material suppliers to European providers of synthetic rubber and carbon black in just a few months. “In addition to securing product availability for our clients, the top priority was to maintain the consistent quality of the materials that we deliver for hot and cold retreads at all times. The feedback from our customers tells us that we were successful here,” added Product Manager Christoph Priewasser.
In view of the ongoing war with all its social, political and economic consequences, KRAIBURG sees the situation in the European retread trade as ambivalent at the beginning of the year. “On the one hand, many companies took the opportunity to raise the prices of their products to a reasonable level in 2022 in the wake of the general increases in costs, similarly to ten years ago when the prices for natural rubber exploded abruptly,” explained Sales Manager Holger Düx. “On the other hand, many questions still remain unanswered for the coming year, despite the declining risk of a recession.” These include, above all, the omnipresent shortage of skilled labour, the future of the anti-dumping regulations and the possible effects on the import figures for non-retreadable new tyres which are already increasing considerably, the still pending integration of retread tyres with regard to labelling or the continuing availability bottlenecks for certain casing sizes. KRAIBURG Austria therefore predicts that 2023 will remain demanding for the branch in all respects and creative responses to the many challenges will be asked for.
Sustainability remains a central topic
KRAIBURG Austria sees the consistent expansion of activities in the area of environment/sustainability as a central response to the challenges described. The EMAS-certified company joined the “science-based target” initiative in 2022, for example. “With the aid of the Science-Based Targets, company climate goals are developed and calculated which are in harmony with the results of the Paris Climate Agreement and limit global warming to below 1.5 °C. We too want to make our contribution with appropriate goals and deduced measures adapted to our environment,” KRAIBURG Austria’s Ecology Manager Gerold Schachner explained.
Parallel to this, the company has joined the GPSNR initiative ( Global Platform for Sustainable Rubber) which aims to guarantee the purchase of sustainable natural rubber. In addition, KRAIBURG Austria has indicated it would like to actively invite its suppliers to pay attention to the CO2 reduction of their raw materials. The preparations for obligatory sustainability reporting are also well underway. Rolling resistance and CO2 neutrality will be central criteria of the requirement specification for compound development. “Consistent preoccupation with the central topic of sustainability for our branch is near and dear to our family business,” Stefan Mayrhofer continued. “In the face of the rampant shortage of skilled workers, our innovation team is dealing more than ever before with automation and digitalisation options for the retread companies. We will be putting all our efforts into the projects initiated with customers and universities or research institutions this year.”
Optimisation of product and service portfolio
Parallel to this, KRAIBURG says it is working to optimise its product portfolio. The K708 design – developed for local public transport – was successfully launched last year. A field test in 2022 confirmed its performance capability: The tread achieved a mileage of more than 50,000 miles and also features good traction properties and low running noise. A special shoulder geometry in connection with the sidewall plate K-side protects the tyre against damage from contact with the kerb. KRAIBURG Austria wants to convince even more users of its performance this year.
Meanwhile, in its first winter season, the K727 tread has already impressively proven that it can withstand even the harshest conditions of the Scandinavian winter, says the company. “The performance data collected by our customers in practice substantiated a test conducted by the certified Prüflabor Nord (Test Laboratory North) so that the K727 can be a reliable partner for further customers in the coming season,” claimed Christoph Priewasser. The 3PMSF-certified K738, which has been in use on construction sites as well as on public roads since last September has scored high marks, among other things, thanks to its special tread geometry.
“As well as our proven range of products, we are also working on new designs, of course,” added Priewasser. “We are currently developing a new tread for regional traffic equipped with excellent properties. We will reveal the details of this at the appropriate time.”