It was at a petrol station in 1960 that Vicencio Paludo found the opportunity that would make him start the company that bears his name and which this year celebrates fifty years of existence, Vipal Rubber – the only company in the world which produces a complete line of products for the retreading and repairing of passenger, commercial, agricultural and Off the Road (OTR) tyres.
Leandro Rigon Talks about Vipal Anniversary
The company was born from a latent need: to offer the trucking industry a solution to their tyre problems. From the first patches, going through the production of camelback, treads, and tyre retreading machines, to the manufacture of new tyres for motorcycles, one of the largest rubber manufacturers in the world emerged. Within the context of the company’s 50th anniversray celebations, we spoke to Vipal’s Director of International Business, Leandro Rigon, about the company’s achievements and its aspirations for the future.
What are the most significant achievements that Vipal has accomplished over its 50 years of existence?
Throughout its journey, numerous achievements have propelled Vipal Rubber to its current status as a global benchmark in tyre retreading, making it one of the largest rubber manufacturers in the world in this segment. We began with a small operation in southern Brazil and gradually specialised in producing materials for repairing all types of tyres. Among the early significant milestones, it is worth highlighting the inauguration of the first Brazilian factory for tyre and inner tube cold cure repair products in 1974. Shortly after that, in 1982, we began exports to Chile.
Another significant milestone occurred in 1986 when Vipal started producing materials for hot cure tyre retreading with the launch of the camelback line. In 1991, the company expanded its offerings by introducing pre-cured treads, cushion gum, and envelopes, marking the beginning of manufacturing products for cold cure tyre retreading. Gradually, the portfolio expanded to position the company as the only one in the world with a complete range of products for the retreading and repairing of passenger, commercial, agricultural, and OTR (off-the-road) tyres.
Another significant move was the commencement of international operations in 1992 with the opening of the branch in the United States, the world’s largest market for tyre retreading. Today, Vipal operates in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Australia.
In 1999, the first pre-cured treads with exclusive designs were introduced to ensure optimal performance for each type of tyre—a notable milestone in the company’s history. In 2009, the eco tread line was launched, offering a significant advantage by providing up to 10% fuel savings through retreaded tyres, reducing costs for transporters.
In Europe, operations began in 2005, with the office opening in Spain. Today, there are three distribution centres: Valencia (Spain), Nova Gorica (Slovenia), and Felixstowe (United Kingdom), serving the entire Europe, the Middle East, and the African continent.
Vipal’s history is based on research and development of technologies in rubber products. These efforts culminated in the opening 2010 of the Research and Technology Centre in the city of Nova Prata (RS), with the objective of evaluating and approving 100% of raw materials and suppliers. Today, the Centre is one of the most modern in the world in the tyre retreading segment, with 13 laboratories carrying out more than 50 different types of tests, generating more than 28 thousand tests annually.
In 2013, the company took another important step in its training programme for professionals in the segment. With the creation of a corporate university, Univipal also offers online courses in the technical, commercial and management areas, in addition to the face-to-face training that has already taken place at the Vipal Technical Centre since 1987. Today, Univipal has more than 70 courses aimed at the rubber market and carries out almost 500 training sessions per year, training more than 5,000 students.
Among the most recent achievements are constructing a new factory in Argentina and acquiring two others in the United States and Brazil. Today, there are seven factories and 15 distribution centres on 5 continents. We also expanded our operations by manufacturing tyre retreading machines to meet the needs of our customers and improve productivity.
Could you please assess Vipal’s current position in the global market in its main areas – tyres, repairs, retreading rubber, equipment and accessories?
Vipal Rubber is a consolidated brand in the global market and is among the leading companies in its segment. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of tyre retreading rubber globally and a leader in commercial tyre retreading in Latin America.
Vipal has over 3,000 employees, operates 15 distribution centres strategically located worldwide, and has a presence in over 90 countries across five continents. With a portfolio of over 4,500 products, Vipal Rubber stands out as the only company globally offering a complete line of products for the retreading and repairing of passenger, commercial, agricultural, and off-the-road (OTR) tyres.
What events are planned to celebrate this anniversary?
In the month of its anniversary, July of this year, events were organised for employees in all units. These were significant moments to strengthen bonds with our staff and express our gratitude for the hard work and dedication of everyone, which has been fundamental for the company to reach its 50th year successfully. At the administrative headquarters in Brazil, Mr. Arlindo Paludo, the current chairman of the board and son of Vipal’s founder, Mr. Vicencio Paludo, participated. Additionally, the company launched a commemorative advertising campaign for its 50th anniversary, employing a multi-channel strategy. The centrepiece of this campaign is a 60-second video in Portuguese, English, and Spanish, narrating Vipal’s journey through different roads travelled by the brand over time.
What message would you like to give your resellers and end users on this anniversary?
The success of Vipal Rubber is the result of a lot of work, determination and appreciation of all the people who were and are part of our history. Looking at the milestones of this trajectory and seeing how much we have grown and conquered space during these five decades is highly gratifying and exciting. And we share this achievement with all our partners, suppliers, employees and customers. We were born to be together with our customers and partners, offering the best solutions to generate savings and high performance for companies through tyre retreading, and that is how we want to continue developing.
What hasn’t Vipal achieved yet? What still needs to be done to strengthen the company’s position further?
Vipal Rubber still has a lot to achieve in its history. One of the company’s vocations is to generate employment opportunities for the community, offering better living conditions. This is in the Company’s DNA.
One of the objectives is to expand its market share in the markets in which it operates and access others where it still needs to have a presence. Additionally, always optimise our product portfolio and ability to meet the needs of different markets is a constant work that we perform to achieve greater customer satisfaction and thus improve our position.
What’s next for Vipal?
We aim to continue growing while maintaining our products’ quality and customer service excellence. Vipal has always invested heavily in innovation and technology, one of the secrets to supporting the company’s continuous development and creating more efficient, environmentally friendly, advanced products and processes. The company’s relationship and care for our customers are also fundamental, prioritising our partners and working collaboratively to solve their challenges. Furthermore, the internationalisation of the company is a reality. We want to expand our presence in more countries, continually exploring new markets. And now, towards the centennial celebration.