Qual­ity Breaks Stereo­types

The Be­laru­sian tire maker Belshina has plans to man­u­fac­ture over 5.7 mil­lion tires in 2015

Economy of Belarus - - CONTENTS -

The Be­laru­sian tire maker Belshina has plans to man­u­fac­ture over 5.7 mil­lion tires in 2015

Be­laru­sian tires are well known far be­yond our coun­try. Due to their op­ti­mal value for money ra­tio, Be­larus-made tires sell well in 65 coun­tries. The geog­ra­phy of sales is grow­ing big­ger. To­day Belshina is one of Europe’s big­gest tire pro­duc­ers. The com­pany is im­ple­ment­ing sev­eral up­grade projects that will en­able it to com­pete on equal foot­ing with the world’s in­dus­try lead­ers. Belshina Direc­tor Gen­eral Alexei YAKOVLEV tells the Econ­omy of Be­larus Mag­a­zine about the com­pany’s new prod­ucts, is­sues fac­ing the in­dus­try and ef­forts to win the trust of Be­laru­sian cus­tomers.

The com­pre­hen­sive up­grade al­lowed Belshina to im­prove dramatically the qual­ity of prod­ucts and ex­pand the prod­uct range. Mr Yakovlev, what prompted the com­pany to take the plunge and launch such a large-scale up­grade pro­gram? What re­sults have you achieved al­ready?

In 2014 Belshina man­u­fac­tured 5 mil­lion tires. The tar­get for this year is more than 5.7 mil­lion tires. How­ever, to be a suc­cess on the mar­ket to­day, we need to roll out new tire mod­els all the time and th­ese tires need to meet all the nec­es­sary re­quire­ments in terms of safety, com­fort and eco­nomic ef­fi­ciency. There­fore, Belshina has set up an en­gi­neer­ing cen­ter that de­signs and tests new types and sizes of tires. Ev­ery year the com­pany

adds new mod­els to its in­no­va­tive prod­uct port­fo­lio.

It is clear that tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced equip­ment and strin­gent qual­ity con­trol should be in place to al­low the com­pany to make high-qual­ity and com­pet­i­tive prod­ucts. There­fore, sev­eral years ago Belshina em­barked on the com­pre­hen­sive tech­ni­cal and eco­nomic up­grade of all three tire plants and me­chan­i­cal fac­to­ries.

By now we have com­pletely changed the tech­no­log­i­cal process of car tire pro­duc­tion, re­fit­ted all the pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, pur­chased cut­ting-edge au­to­mated and ro­botic as­sem­bly com­plexes and vol­can­iz­ing equip­ment to pro­duce tires with tire sizes rang­ing from 16" to 20" (in­clud­ing tires for crossovers and off-road ve­hi­cles).

At present all-steel tires are in higher de­mand than tires re­in­forced with fab­ric cords on the truck seg­ment. To meet mod­ern-day re­quire­ments, the Car&Truck Tire Plant is ex­pand­ing the man­u­fac­ture of all-steel truck tires. Such tires are also made by the OTR Tire Plant. The Gi­ant Tire Plant is up­grad­ing the pro­duc­tion of wide-sec­tion tires for en­ergy-ef­fi­cient farm ma­chines.

The new prod­ucts that were de­vel­oped as a re­sult of the up­grade project are mar­keted un­der the brands of Art­mo­tion, As­tarta, Es­cortera, Forcerra, and Galeroa­gro.

Re­tool­ing is a rather costly thing. In 2010-2014 Belshina uti­lized Br2.19 tril­lion in cap­i­tal in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing Br1.12 tril­lion in 2014 alone. By now the com­pany has com­pleted more than a half of the up­grade pro­gram. How­ever, many am­bi­tious projects are still ahead.

Could you, please, un­veil the de­tails of your projects?

In line with the devel­op­ment pro­gram for the pe­riod un­til 2020, Belshina is set to im­ple­ment an in­vest­ment project to up­grade the Gi­ant Tire Plant with a view to ex­pand­ing the as­sort­ment and in­creas­ing the out­put of widesec­tion low-ground-pres­sure ra­dial tires for self-pro­pelled en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient do­mes­tic and im­ported farm ma­chines. We are set to com­plete the project in 2015.

The up­grade is still un­der­way at Car&Truck Tire Plant. The goal is to start pro­duc­ing over 1.4 mil­lion car tires with the rim di­am­e­ter of up to 20" per year. Three au­to­mated as­sem­bly com­plexes, a tire bead pro­duc­tion line and a breaker metal cord cut­ting line have al­ready come on stream. By 1 Jan­uary 2015 the new equip­ment had pro­duced over 500,000 tires in the start-up mode. The bulk of the tires are 15" and 16" tires. Trial pro­duc­tion of 17" and 18" tires is al­ready un­der­way. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously the com­pany is con­duct­ing mar­ket­ing re­search on 19" and 20" tires with a view to iden­ti­fy­ing the most promis­ing sizes and types of tires.

The up­grade project at the OTR Tire Plant is aimed at start­ing the pro­duc­tion of 57" and 63" all-steel ra­dial tires and retrofitting the stock prepa­ra­tion work­shop. Thus Belshina will be able to ex­pand the prod­uct line and in­crease the out­put of ex­tra-large all-steel ra­dial tires for BelAZ trucks with a big car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity (up to 360 tonnes) and for­eign min­ing equip­ment (Ko­matsu, Cater­pil­lar, and oth­ers). Only two com­pa­nies, Bridge­stone and Miche­lin, pro­duce such tires now.

Af­ter the project is com­pleted in 2017, we plan to pro­duce more than 8,000 tires per year. We have signed con­tracts for the sup­ply of the equip­ment for the first phase of the project to­tal­ing € 97.3 mil­lion. A Ger­man com­pany is mount­ing four rub­ber mix­ing lines worth € 23.1 mil­lion. All the equip­ment has al­ready been sup­plied. We are run­ning load tests on one line and com­plet­ing mount­ing works on the rest of them.

New equip­ment re­quires highly skilled spe­cial­ists. How do you at­tract young tal­ent?

Belshina main­tains close re­la­tions with uni­ver­si­ties. Our main part­ner is the Be­laru­sian State Tech­no­log­i­cal Uni­ver­sity (BSTU). An­nu­ally Belshina wel­comes 12-14 grad­u­ates of the BSTU depart­ment “Tech­nol­ogy of petro­chem­i­cal syn­the­sis and pro­cess­ing of poly­meric ma­te­ri­als”.

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