Setting industry benchmarks
Extensive testing, combined with continuous enhancement throughout the research, development and design process, enables Sumitomo Rubber South Africa to produce what it considers to be the best and most capable truck and bus radial tyres for African road conditions
Being innovative and first to market is what drives tyre manufacturer and brand leader Sumitomo Rubber South Africa’s quest to remain at the forefront of the industry. The strong history and heritage of the Dunlop brand, coupled with world-class manufacturing capabilities, have strengthened the company’s position as a leader in the truck and bus radial (TBR) tyre markets on the African continent.
“We rank research, development and pro-active testing as priorities,” says Riaz Haffejee, the company’s CEO. “Our innovative and advanced products show that we fully understand the dynamics of specific applications in the truck and bus industry. This enables us to continue making performance-enhancing design changes throughout the product development process, resulting in significant advances in safety, durability and reduction of cost per kilometre (CPK) to fleet owners.”
Benchmarking against existing and competitor products, extensive testing in all applications and continuous enhancements are made throughout the research, development and design process. “We test our tyres rigorously in all applications and highly rate the valuable feedback we get from fleet owners to enable us to produce the best and most capable tyres for African road conditions,” says Haffejee. “As a result, we are able to develop the most innovative and custom-designed truck and bus radial range and establish best practice in the industry.”
Enabling the manufacture of Dunlop and Sumitomo TBR tyres in Africa has been made possible through extensive investment in the establishment of a state-of-the-art, dedicated 180 000 m² factory in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, with Haffejee acknowledging the key role investment into research and development plays in economic growth.
Expansion of the factory has provided significant direct socio-economic benefits to employees, women, young people and the local community as a whole. Prioritising education for future skills development, employees are engaged in mentoring Grade 11 and 12 students in maths and science. A recent donation of a fully equipped classroom for matric learners at the Bhekinthutuko Secondary school near Ladysmith has enabled learners to prepare for their final examinations in an environment that is conducive to learning.
“At the core of our business is our commitment to innovation, people, safety and quality throughout the development of our tyres, during and post manufacturing,” says Haffejee. “Our stringent processes during manufacturing, our accredited sales channels and in-field technical services personnel across Africa ensure that safety starts on the factory floor and continues throughout the sales process and lifespan of our products.”
An example of the company’s innovation-driven focus is the Dunlop Energy Control Technologies (DECTES), which is the result of extensive research and development into the needs of the truck and bus industries. The unique technology delivers next-generation innovation that results in reduced tyre maintenance and rotation requirements, increased re-treadability, and an up to 30-percent reduction in tyre rolling resistance to deliver significant CPK and bottom-line savings to truck and bus fleet owners.
New patterns released in July last year demonstrate Sumitomo Rubber South Africa’s commitment to continual development, enhancement and tyre innovation. The new 315/80R22.5 Sumitomo ST719A and 315/80R22.5 and 385/65R22.5 Dunlop SP320 both offer a wider tread pattern and premium tread depth in addition to stone drilling protection. These two new additions demonstrate better fuel efficiency, increased mileage, improved re-treadability and better ride comfort.
For more, visit www.srigroup.co.za