WASHINGTON (March 1, 2012)—Tire retreading is a valuable industry that constitutes the first successful industrial recycling program in the U.S., experts from the Tire Industry Association and the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau told the U.S. International Trade Commission at a hearing.
The Feb. 28 hearing, “Remanufactured Goods: An Overview of the U.S. and Global Industries, Market and Trade,” was part of the ITC's ongoing effort to quantify the U.S. product remanufacturing industry and promote the export of U.S. remanufactured goods.
“The savings generated in the transportation industry using retreaded tires benefits everyone with lower costs for nearly every consumable item used,” said the testimony presented by Marvin Bozarth, TIA senior technical consultant, and TRIB Managing Director David Stevens,.
“The retreading of tires provides a savings not only on food, fuel and other goods, but the cost of our homes, roads and all infrastructures in this country,” Bozarth and Stevens said.
Using both printed testimony and a power point presentation, Bozarth and Stevens gave the ITC a succinct history of the tire retreading industry. Tire retreading dates back as early as 1904, they said, but the development of synthetic rubber in 1937, followed by the outbreak of World War II, was the real impetus to the industry's growth.
“Retreading of tires for the U.S. war effort was of strategic importance, with the military operating its own retread plants in Europe, Japan, the continental United States and eventually in South Vietnam,” they said.
During World War II, the military developed portable retreading plants that it used near the front lines, Stevens and Bozarth said. “The production and use of retreaded tires in the military continued through all conflicts, including the most current ones,” they said.
Today, 80 percent of all commercial aircraft have retreads for takeoff and landing, they said. Major shortages in the off-the-road tire market were alleviated greatly by OTR retreading, and truck tire retreaders produce nearly half the replacement tires used in the trucking industry, they said.
In addition to their usefulness in many applications, retread tires provide massive environmental and energy-saving benefits, according to Bozarth and Stevens.
“The synthetic rubber components in a new medium truck tier contain approximately 22 gallons of oil, but it takes only seven gallons to retread the same tire,” they said. “In 2011, the retreading industry in truck tires alone saved over 232 million gallons of oil.”
Besides Bozarth and Stevens, representatives of many remanufactured product companies and associations testified at the hearing. These included the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, the Remanufacturing Industries Council, the Automotive Parts Remanufactured Association, Caterpillar Inc., John Deere Reman, GE Healthcare Systems and Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc.