OEMs are preferring radial tyres in the mining segment

Bridgestone India offers premium range of commercial and industrial tyres for all types of terrain and vehicles. Rohit Mathur, Head Strategy, OTR and Communications, Bridgestone India, speaks on the current state of OTR tyre manufacturing industry in India.

How do you perceive the current state of the OTR tyre manufacturing industry in India?
India is going through a boon period as far as infrastructure growth is concerned. The government increased the infrastructure outlay for FY2024-25 to Rs 11.11 billion and this has given a reciprocal boost to spending on equipment to develop infrastructure. The increased demand for construction and mining equipment has correspondingly resulted in a higher demand for tyres, both from OEs as well as from the after-market.

As part of the Atmanirbhar movement from the government, there is a push for the power sector, which is also significantly dependent on coal mining. As this focus enhances, we can expect to see the demand go further up.

What are the key challenges and opportunities that you see for the industry in the near future?
As mentioned earlier, the biggest opportunity is the government’s focus towards infrastructure growth. As far as the OTR industry is concerned, the segments are still quite fragmented, and hence consolidation can be an opportunity to achieve economies of scale. When compared to more developed mining markets like Australia, Brazil, South Africa, USA and China, we still have a lot of scope to improve on aspects of operational efficiency as well as machinery advancement.

From tyre industry perspective, the awareness and knowledge to make use of tyres for optimum efficiency is still quite low, which is where Bridgestone has started to educate the customers to help them maximise the value out of our offerings. The industry will benefit greatly with the influx of more skilled labour as well as an increased focused on safety of operations.

How does your company differentiate itself from competitors in terms of product quality, innovation, and market presence?
Bridgestone is known for superior quality right across our product offerings and this holds true for our OTR tyres as well. We focus on mining- both underground and open cast and dumpers for construction use. Our latest product in the OTR segment is called “Mastercore”. This has longer life, better grip and has better durability. Bridgestone’s global R&D has developed a compound for that enables to be cut resistant—a very important feature where the OTR is usually deployed in rough and rugged terrains.

Our tyre casings are durable, and can be re-treaded multiple times, which provides for a more sustainable offering. Bridgestone also has a regular on site after sales service that includes periodic checks and preventative maintenance.

What role do technology and innovation play in the development and manufacturing process of OTR tyres in your company?
Innovation supported by a strong technology is core to our success. We believe in the principles of Kaizen, which essentially means incremental innovation and Genbutsu Genba, which translates to decision making based on verified, on-site observations. This has resulted in Bridgestone giving products that are sustainable, have a longer life and do not compromise on quality.

What is the growth trend of radials in the OTR segment? How is your product mix in terms of radial and bias tyres?
The mining industry is slowly moving towards radialisation in tyres. This is growing at approximately 20 per cent for the industry and even OEMs are preferring radial tyres especially in the mining segment. We play almost exclusively in the radial segment as such we are geared up to meet the expected increased demand for radials by the infrastructure sector.

What is the current market size of OTR tyres in India? What is your outlook on the OTR tyre market beyond 2025?
There are more than 10 lakh OTR tyres sold in India excluding the agriculture tyres, currently. The outlook for the OTR segment is bright as both the construction and mining sectors are expected to grow by 12 to 15 per cent over the next few years. Our strategy is to stay ahead of this curve and we intend to capitalise on this by growing faster through focussed segment approach and superior quality products.

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