The re-emerging importance of section repairs for today’s tire industry
As early as 1950, the founder of Vulcan Industries, Mr. E. J. Alm worked on a revolutionary Vulcanizer which he perfected just in time to meet the casing shortage for retreaders, with the introduction of the tubeless tire. The Vulcan MPB Passenger Section Repair Mold for passenger tires was a huge success with over 10,000 machines sold in 40 countries around the world. Some 60 years later, Vulcan-Vulcap Industries still supplies parts for these Molds as well as new MPB’s and many other truck and OTR models which continue in operation worldwide.
Recently, the ITRA (International Tire and Rubber Association) now called Tire Industry Association (TIA) reported a growing interest in Section Repairs for both truck and OTR tires. Many calls were received by ITRA Headquarters and Training Centre from companies requesting information on how to properly repair tires with Section Repair Molds. Many of these inquiries were from companies who did not previously perform tire repairs.
Due to the high cost of labor and our North American “throw away” mentality the repair of passenger tires is declining. This however, does not apply to truck and OTR tires. Inquiries received came from areas all over the U.S. and Canada, where certain sizes of large earthmover and other OTR tires are scarce and expensive.
Even with Section Repairs on the increase, there are still many tires disposed of daily, which could be repaired and returned to normal service. This practice is costly to the end-user and environmentally unsound. Many shops miss profitable opportunities to increase their business by avoiding Section Repairs.
The tire companies are reluctant to invest millions of dollars in order to keep OTR tires in stock for immediate delivery. Section repairing is often the only way to keep millions of dollars’ worth of equipment in service until new tires are available. The goodwill earned from grateful customers, whose equipment is kept operational until replacement tires are available, is a valuable asset to any tire repair organization.
There is a lot of misconception concerning the amount of investment required to purchase the proper equipment to perform Section Repairing. On close examination it is surprising how fast Vulcan-Vulcap Section Repair Molds and Systems can be paid for and amortized. Truck tires generally can be repaired for 1/3rd of the cost or less of a new tire, while the price for a good Section Repair on an OTR tire can range from 8% to 15% of the cost of the tire. Actual repair costs for an experienced shop can be much lower, thus guaranteeing healthy profit margins.