AKRON—Goodyear has transferred its rubber track unit to the firm´s Engineered Products division, which is upgrading and expanding the business.
Rubber track previously was combined with farm tires—a business being sold to Titan International Inc.—and the operation was relegated to the back seat, drawing less attention than it now will receive, said Dennis Hare, recently named marketing manager for rubber tracks. With Engineered Products, it will become a higher profile line.
While it was a Goodyear tire unit, its production base was at Engineered Products´ factory in St. Marys, Ohio.
The transfer "aligns rubber track development and commercial support with manufacturing support, linking every step of the supply chain to better serve customers," Hare said.
To expand the track base, the firm is combining its rubber track and military track operations and adding additional product development, sales and manufacturing resources. To improve track manufacturing, "we´re doing work in some production cells that are not operating at the level we want so we can gain efficiencies," he said.
In addition, Goodyear´s rubber track development team will move to St. Marys from Akron to work directly with the finished product.
"We´re starting from the ground up with this business," Hare said. "We´re beginning with customer contacts and getting more engaged with our customers. We´ll apply the customer-first philosophy we use in Engineered Products."
Hare said the firm plans to streamline some equipment, extend the life of the product, analyze and improve compounds and curing time, and find ways to optimize track performance to improve quality, cost efficiencies and on-time delivery.
Input from original equipment manufacturers, distributors and end-users will play a key role in the development of the business, Hare said. "Today, every decision we make comes from information gathered in the field. We´re embracing changes that are making us a strong competitor and aggressively going after new business."
A lot of opportunities exist, especially on the OE side, according to Hare. "We´re going to expand our distribution network and we´re looking to expand our product offerings."
For instance, Goodyear sells rubber track to the construction and aggregate markets but it wants to significantly increase its presence in both.
Product applications for short rubber track include skid-steer construction equipment, while long rubber track is used on heavy-duty construction and paving equipment.
In addition to the track itself, Goodyear provides the elements that make up a complete rubber track system, including drive, idler, and roller wheels, suspension mounts and other undercarriage elements.