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Interview With A Tyre Leader_PK Mohamed_Apollo Tyres

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Mohamed is a soft-spoken and an accomplished tyre technologist with 5 decades of experience in the field of Tyre Technology and Manufacturing. When you read this passionate interview of his journey from a college lecturer to a well-known tyre technologist, you will observe struggles, challenges, achievements, dedication and loyalty; and importance of continuous education - a complete package of learning and leadership wisdom for new generation of aspiring professionals in tyre industry.

Published in: Leadership & Management

Interview With A Tyre Leader_PK Mohamed_Apollo Tyres

  1. 1. INTERVIEW WITH P.K.MOHAMED Chief Adviser - Research & Technology Member of Management Board Apollo Tyres Ltd. Tyre Technology Is An Amalgamation Of Science And Engineering.
  2. 2. P.K. Mohamed is a soft-spoken and an accomplished tyre technologist. I consider it a privilege to know him and present his leadership wisdom to you in this special edition. The above quote aptly summarizes Mohamed. You will agree with me when you read this passionate interview of his journey from a college lecturer to a well-known tyre technologist. There are struggles, challenges, achievements, lessons on loyalty and continuous education for us to imbibe in his more than 49 years' of experience in the field of Tyre Technology and Manufacturing. Mohamed’s exceptional knowledge, clarity, relevance and insight on the various aspects is awe-inspiring. I have said earlier that true leaders are few and when we find one, we look towards them as mentor and guide. Mohamed is a Fellow Member of the Rubber and Plastic Institute London, Member in the Management Board of Apollo Tyres Ltd, Industrial Advisory board of Centre for Tyre Research, USA, IRCO and Area Director of American Chemical Society Rubber Division. Mohamed is also the Chairman of Indian Tyre Technical Advisory Committee (ITTAC), Technology Environment Safety and Standard (TESS) group of ATMA and past chairman of IRI. He has several international publications to his credit. As always, I welcome your feedback on rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com. Best Regards Prasanth Warrier | Interviewer’s Note | “A leader is someone who demonstrates, what’s possible” - Mark Yarnell There are struggles, challenges, success lessons on loyalty and continuous education for us to imbibe in his more than 49 years of experience. 3 rubbermachineri rubbermachineryworld +Rubbermachineryworld1 grp/home?gid=8252803 rubbermachineri Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| (Disclaimer: All the pictures and statements in this special supplement are sourced from web or shared by respective companies. All copyrights belong to actual owner. Rubber Machinery World does not independently verify them nor will vouch for their genuineness, hence will not be liable for any misrepresented data. The images are used for representation purpose only.)
  3. 3. 4 | LEADER - INTERVIEW | “Most of my learning in rubber technology and compounding has happened during my career.” Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World | JAN 2016 (ImageSource:ApolloTyresWebsite.)
  4. 4. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | 5 PRASANTH WARRIER (PW): Hello Mohamed. First of all thank you for accepting an interview with Rubber Machinery World (RMW) and sharing your thoughts. From a Junior Lecturer at Calicut Farook College (Kerala) to being recognized as ‘Best Tyre Technologist’ and a Member of Management Board of Apollo Tyres is a remarkable journey. So let me start with a personal question - What would you say was key to your success and how you reached the very top spot? What are the take away for the next generation of leaders in your inspiring story? P.K. MOHAMED (PKM): It is a fact that I started my career as a Junior Lecturer in the year 1965 immediately after passing out from college with Chemistry major. But it was not long before I realized that the challenges in the position as a junior lecturer was inadequate to meet my desires. And my mind was prompting me to look for a job in the industry to meet my aspirations and challenges. So I tried for a job in rubber and fertilizer industries and was fortunate to receive positive responses from both. My decision was to join rubber industry for the more lucrative remuneration then offered by the industry. I joined as a Supervisor in the Quality Department in Premier Tyres under J.D. Kamath. Kamath was a good teacher and guide. At that time the technical department was headed by G.K.Pillai, a well known Tyre Technologist trained in the USA under the collaboration agreement with General Tyre. The compounding department was headed by Dr. A.S. Nair, a doctorate holder from IIT Kharagpur and a well known person in the field of rubber compounding and material science. I was fortunate to be a protégé of these eminent personalities. They provided me with excellent training that enabled me to perform better and better in future. It is worth to mention that when I joined the Rubber Industry, my knowledge about Rubber technology and rubber compounding was very limited. During my academic time, I only learnt that there was a molecule called ‘isoprene’ which was the monomer of natural rubber. Most of my learning in rubber technology and compounding has happened during my Tyre Technology is an Amalgamation of Science and Engineering Interview With P.K.Mohamed, Chief Adviser - Research & Technology. Member of Management Board, Apollo Tyres Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016|
  5. 5. 6 | LEADER - INTERVIEW | career. This reinforced my belief in the benefits of continuing education in the fieldof one’s interest, through reading, interaction, active participation in the technical discussion, experimentation of one’s ideas and analysis of their outcome. Linking these observations with the theories, is an important element of learning which is essential for one’s professional growth. It is also important to acquire qualification in the respective professional field for better recognition. The successful stint in Premier saw me elevated to the position of the Manager - Compounding & Laboratory Chemist. It was time in 1976, when Apollo Tyres was looking for a rubber technologist with a qualification of LPRI (London) and with compounding background to be trained under their collaborator, General Tire International Company (GTIC) in the USA. A change seemed just right for me at that stage to further my career growth and also to support the financial needs of my family which was particularly more felt after my marriage. I applied for the position on offer and got selected. People around me and well wishers like Dr. A.S.Nair, G.K.Pillai, M.Jayashankar, I.Venugopal, and Dr. John Jacob congratulated me because then Apollo Tyres was considered to be a rising star in the industry circles. And more for the fact that it was managed by the dynamic entrepreneur, Raunaq Singh. I joined Apollo with a lot of hope and went to General Tires for extensive training in the areas of rubber compounding, fabric dipping, calendaring, and heat engineering. I returned to India and started working under William Stebins, a General Tyre Compounding Specialist. The Technology was then headed by Ceaser Pereira. Even though every individual department put in their best efforts, heart and soul for the growth of the company, the products offered by our collaborator were not meeting the customer and market requirements. Hence tyres started failing miserably. Apollo reached a situation where in all the raw material suppliers refused to make anymore supply of their products, collaborator refused to provide further technology and dealers stopped lifting our tyres. During that time Raunaq Singh installed a new management team under the leadership of Onkar Singh Kanwar, the present Chairman and Managing Director. When he took over the company, there was no credible management team and whoever was available, was having a very low morale. “The products offered by our collaborator were not meeting the customer and market requirements and hence tyres started failing miserably.” Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016|
  6. 6. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Quality reputation was extremely poor, financial and labour situation were miserable. But he managed the situation with his management skill, positive attitude, optimistic and aggressive approach. During that time the technical department was totally vacant and there was no chance for an external person with good background joining the company. So they identified me to steer the technical department by promoting me as a Senior manager. It was then D.V. Kohli and Kanwar gave the assignment for the development of a tyre for over-load market and get the share of this market from the Modi N-416, (then market leader in that segment with 60 per cent market share). This was an herculean task to achieve with the available expertise and man power. Despite that, I along with R.N. Krishnan, Sondh, T.R. Gopalakrishnan, Tom Thomas and Cyriac Mattam, decided to put our heart and soul; determined to achieve the goal set by our beloved chairman. We identified the weaknesses of N-416 tyres and developed a tyre with the new design concept, carcass platform, process and material technology. The project was a great success. Our company’s sales of this particular brand of tyres moved from 3,000 tyres to over 400,000 tyres per annum. This success encouraged the whole team and boosted their morale multi-fold. The increased vigour further paved the way for the development of XT-7, Amar and passenger radial tyre technology using available equipment and market a brand of tyres called Polyglass. These developments changed the overall reputation and financial status of Apollo, which lead to the expansion of company’s Perambra plant capacity from 56 MT to 106 MT per day. As the demand for our tyres further increased, the management decided to set up a plant in Gujarat with a capacity of 76 MT and the same got expanded to 350 MT with in a short time. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| “These developments changed the overall reputation and financial status of Apollo.” 10
  7. 7. Our company continued to grow from strength to strength and prospered under the leadership of Onkar Kanwar and Neeraj Kanwar. New technology products like PCR, TBR, OTR and Agricultural products were introduced successfully, which helped to expand the company from 56 MT to reach a capacity of 1600 MT day in the year 2014. Apollo Tyres also acquired plants in thr Netherlands, South Africa and India (Premier Tyres). During this journey of growth, the technology department, under my leadership developed products, processes, systems etc., to maintain the market leadership. This was recognized by the management and suitable rewards were given to all people who have worked in the technology department including myself. I consider myself as one of the luckiest person in the company because I always received full support from Onkar Kanwar and Neeraj Kanwar. And they played a vital role in developing me as one of the well- recognized technologists in the field of tyre technology. I am greatly indebted to them. My journey in Apollo Tyres was fascinating one, full of challenges which I cherished throughout my career in the company. I taught myself, several new lessons in the company and wish to share a few of them with the readers: 1. I am a strong believer of Abraham Lincoln’s words "failure is not a dead end 11 Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Apollo Tyres Display at IMME2014 (ImageSource:Autocarpro.in) “Our company continued to grow from strength to strength and prospered.”
  8. 8. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Onkar S. Kanwar Chairman & Managing Director P.K. Mohamed Neeraj Kanwar Vice-Chairman & Managing Director “I always received full support from Onkar Kanwar and Neeraj Kanwar. And they played a vital role in developing me as one of the well- recognized tyre technologists. I am greatly indebted to them.” (ImageSource:Web) 12
  9. 9. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | but it is a detour. Enthusiasm, passion, commitment, proper analytical capability, dedication, positive mind and of course expertise building through continuous upgradation of knowledge will make you an expert. 2. Please do not believe in one-time education, the success will be depended upon continuing the education through- out your career. 3. Challenges always, look insurmountable and difficult to achieve but the same can easily be achieved if you commit yourself to face them with all your beliefs and passion. 4. Individual can achieve very little but a team can achieve a lot. Team work is very critical for success. PW: As one of the first few employees, your contribution at various levels has been significant in Apollo’s rise to today’s leadership position in tyre industry. Which is the position that you enjoyed the most? Why? When I scan my memory ofPKM: achievements in Apollo Tyres, several incidences are flashing across in my mind. It is difficult for me to list all of these items here, but would like to provide a few of them for the information of the readers of this interview. I enjoyed my job in every position held, that started as the Deputy Manager, Compounding to Chief Advisor, Technology, in the span of 38 years in the company. I have already mentioned some of the interesting developments that took place in the company but wish to highlight a few major happenings that I cherish, for better understanding for the readers.“Challenges can be achieved if you commit yourself to face them with all your beliefs and passion.” Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World | JAN 2016 (Image Source: Tyrepress.com.) Image from advertisement of Apollo Alnac 4G Winter Tyre 16
  10. 10. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | leadership position in the market. This tyre was known in the market as Hercules Loadstar. Initial production was only 3000 tyres per annum and the same had increased to 400, 000 and earned market share of more than 40% with quality leadership. This changed the fortune of the company. 2. Second task was given to me by my best friend, colleague, the then Technical Service Head, U.S. Oberoi. This happened in the year 1986. During that time Goodyear introduced a tyre called CT-169, and claimed as a mileage leader in the market place. Oberoi advised me to develop a tyre to compete with the Goodyear product and to take major market share in the load and mileage segment. We developed a tyre with innovative tread and compounding technology and embedded on Hercules “Hercules Loadstar changed the fortune of the company. Initial production was only 3000 tyres per annum and the same had increased to 400, 000 and earned market share of more than 40% with quality leadership. The positive attitude of my team members and my belief in me and my people had paved the way to develop the tyre, perfect the same, and establish leadership position.” 1. First incident comes in mind is the task given by Onkar Kanwar and D.V. Kohli in the year 1981. Kanwar was inducted into the company when the company was continuously making losses, morale of the employees were at the bottom and quality reputation of the product was poor. Then Sales Director, Kohli convinced Kanwar that the quality reputation of the company can only be revived if technology can develop a product for heavy load market and create a stiff competition to Modi N-416, the then market leader in that segment with 60% market share. I was asked to develop a tyre for heavy load market using existing man power and facilities. Even though it was an herculean task at that time, the positive attitude of my team members and my belief in me and my people had paved the way to develop the tyre, perfect the same, and establish P.K. Mohamed Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| 17
  11. 11. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | tyre technology were not tested at all. On the strength of great belief on our capabilities, and technological knowhow, Neeraj Kanwar decided to set up a new plant with the capacity of 2 million tyres per annum in Chennai. After taking this decision, he gave the responsibility of setting up plant and selection of equipment to K. Prabhakar and process and product development to myself. We had sleepless nights because we did not have a proven product, process technology and an established market. But myself and K. Prabhakar worked like a single soul, “On the strength of great belief on our capabilities, and technological knowhow, Neeraj Kanwar decided to set up a new plant with the capacity of 2 million tyres per annum in Chennai.” platform. Even though, initially we had many problems with the performance of the tyres, we as a team solved them one by one. And ultimately the tyre became the volume, quality and price leader in the Indian market. Production of this tyre increased from initial 6000 tyres to over 500,000 per annum. 3. Third task was given to me by our young, dynamic leader Neeraj Kanwar in the year 2006. This was the development of TBR tyres with excellent durability, to establish the same in the market place, and earn brand leadership similar to the global competitors. During that time all companies, except JK, were struggling hard to establish their TBR tyres in the market place. JK’s TBR tyre, JDH was very well known in the load segment and our challenge was to create a product credibly competing with JDH in the Indian market. Apollo was well known for the production of high quality bias tyres then but our knowledge and experience in truck radial 18 Apollo Chennai Plant Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| (ImageSource:Cardekho.com)
  12. 12. through improvement in product performance, brand building and marketing your products in the markets and segments where the value addition is high. It is also essential to contain the cost of raw material through innovation in tyre design, manufacturing, and usage of alternate and recycled materials, wherever the same is possible through value engineering. Other conversion cost such as labour, energy, repair and maintenance have to be controlled and wastage of material have to be minimised with the support of every team member involved in the process. PW: Today, profitability for tire producers is from falling raw material prices, which may not be a true reflection for the future. Strategically, where do you see opportunities for tire producers like Apollo to build sustaining profitability while creating more value to your customers? PKM: We are fully aware of this aspect and our Chairman and Vice Chairman are always emphasizing on this, the way you mentioned. Product cost of a tyre is highly influenced by raw material input cost. The value addition on raw material cost is very low in the developing countries like India. But at the same time it is good in developed countries. In developing countries, the value addition on raw material cost may vary between 40 to 70% but at the same time this may way vary more than 100% in developed countries. Tyre Industry is a special industry where the R&D, marketing and sale expenses are relatively high. So it is necessary to create better value addition on raw material cost 19 Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| “It is necessary to create better value-addition on raw material cost through improvement in product performance, brand building and marketing your products in the markets and segments where the value- addition is high.” | LEADER - INTERVIEW |
  13. 13. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | “We as a team used all our knowledge, experience, expertise and worked in the areas of productive and non productive time and reduced the mixing cycle from 300 seconds to 180 second for a batch from master to final.” provided the right leadership to our next line leaders like T.R.Gopalakrishnan (Technology & Process Development) and C. Krishnakumar (Projects & Equipment). We commissioned this plant, developed process technology and products suitable for Indian market, and established the same in the market place. We are now doubling Chennai Plant from 2 million to 4.1 million tyres per annum. We are one of the well-known players in truck radial tyres in Indian market. My satisfaction is that, after starting and establishing the development of bias tyres at Apollo, I also had an opportunity to manage the transition from bias to radial tyre technology and establish TBR tyres. 4. Another small challenge I remember was given by Neeraj Kanwar. Kanwar after visiting a few international plants came and advised us to enhance the mixing capacity to be in line with international plants. This was required to expand our bias tyre capacity without any fresh investment in the mixing area. During that time our mixing cycle to produce one batch from master to final, was more than 300 seconds. We as a team used all our knowledge, experience, expertise and worked in the areas of productive and non productive time and reduced the mixing cycle from 300 seconds to 180 second for a batch from master to final. This helped to make huge saving on investment in man power, equipment, building and utility. I hope that I have provided enough example of challenges given by my leaders, Onkar Knwar and Neeraj Kanwar, which has helped me to keep motivated and perform beyond my expectation. Know A Leader - Machinery World 2016Rubber & Tyre | JAN 22
  14. 14. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Would you say that rubberPW: compounding has undergone change in the last decades that you have been with rubber industry? What were the drivers for this change? What role has machinery played in this change? In general, all industries arePKM: influenced by the changes happening in the environment, regulations, standards and of course the developments happening in the industries around the same business. We have witnessed major changes in the automobile industries, particularly in the environmental and legal requirements. The adoption of ABS breaking system by the automobile industries demanded higher wet and dry traction for tread compounds used for the tyres. The introduction of tyre labeling system in Europe, and in a few more countries, forced the tyre manufacturers to design their tyres with better traction, rolling resistance and reduced noise level. In truck categories of tyres, customers are demanding better mileage, durability and retreading capabilities. All these changes demanded newer raw materials and significant alterations in compound design, mixing, extrusion and curing technology. Key equipment manufacturers have responded very well to the requirement of the tyre industries and some of them developed new equipment and others modified their existing equipment to process these materials, compounds and components in the desired way. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| Extrusion Inside Apollo Chennai Plant “Changes demanded newer raw materials and significant alterations in compound design mixing, extrusion and curing technology.” 23
  15. 15. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | PW: How do you envision tyre building shaping up in the next 10 years? As a technologist, what are your expectations from a machinery manufacturer/supplier to achieve this vision? As we all know, the tyre buildingPKM: machine is one piece of equipment which is used by the tyre engineer to convert tyre layout into actual green tyre. This is a very critical process. The tyre technologist expects that this process to happen with bare minimum movements of components placed in the respective position of tyres. If changes happen as against his expectation, the performance of the tyre will have a very adverse impact. Even though tyre building equipment manufacturers have done enough development in the areas of cycle time reduction, application of component, its accuracy and repeatability, there are several areas which need attention to improve the uniformity, cycle time and accuracy of component placement. The cycle time of carcass drum is 80 to 90% more than shaping and B&T drums which determines the overall productivity of Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| “There are several areas (in Tyre Building Machinery) which need attention to improve the uniformity, cycle time and accuracy of component placement.” 24 Inside Apollo Chennai Plant
  16. 16. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | tyre building machine. Automation can be enhanced in the machine in the areas like ply zipping operation etc, to improve the cycle time. In order to minimize tyre failures in the areas of tread splice and turn up, possibilities of application of strip tread can be explored to avoid splices related failures and bead clamping device and its holding pressure can be modified to improve the performance in the bead area. All the above have to be done to realize the vision of the tyre technologist of creating the best product in his mind. PW: What new ideas are energizing the tire industry globally? How much of these ideas is facilitated by developments or improvements in machinery? PKM: I am witnessing several changes in the tyre manufacturing process to meet the challenges of tyre technology and to meet such changes, equipment manufacturers are working in tandem. Many of these changes are happening to meet the rules set by regulatory authorities, enhancement in performance requirements of replacement customers and OEMs and in processing of new material. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| Inside Apollo Chennai Plant “Automation can be enhanced in the machine in the areas like ply zipping operation etc., to improve the cycle time.” 25
  17. 17. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| “Mixing processes are changing from several steps of mixing to single-step; single RPM mixing to variable RPM and also to RPM down mixing.” I am witnessing a sea change in the area of mixing. The introduction of Silica filler, in combination with solution SBR and Silane coupling agent, revolutionised mixing, extrusion, building and curing technology and their equipment configuration. Earlier mixing process was known as a physical processes and today the same is known as a chemical process. The equipment manufacturers have developed tandem mixing, for mixing silica compounds to enhance its consistency and productivity. Tangential mixer manufacturers have improved their rotors design with better cooling capabilities. The configuration of rotor wings are changed to enhance distributive and disperse mixing. Special coating were given to rotors, ram bottom and walls to take care of wear and tear. Mixing processes are changing from several steps of mixing to single step, single RPM mixing to variable RPM and also to RPM down mixing. As the tyre technology is changing from optimised performance of each components of a tyre, the placement of such components accurately in a tyre has become a challenge. Thankfully the design technology is improved considerably in extrusion equipment. And today we have extruders which can assemble 4 to 6 components in a tread and extrude as single piece. In order to avoid excessive shrinkage and distortion due to poor green strength of recent materials, the 28 Image: L&T-Kobelco Make Internal Mixer Image: Tandem Mixer
  18. 18. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | 29 Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| Image: L&T Make Optima Curing Press recent materials, the handling method of extruded treads are improved. Similar changes are taking places in Tyre Building and Curing Equipment. Curing is moving from high temperature cures to low temperature cures to enhance performance, and mould venting system and lubrication system is making dramatic changes to enhance the much needed tyre appearance.
  19. 19. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | further increases when it comes to the tread design. Tread is responsible not only for providing adequate traction, mileage, and water drainage but also need to cater to other performance requirement of rolling resistance and noise. It is noticed that, several new concepts such as Natural Inflated Profile (NIP) and Tension Controlled Optimized Theory (TCOT), have been tried by several companies but the tyre technologist is yet not very successful in creating a carcass which can withstand under inflated condition and provide the same performance. This still remains as a challenge. In the case of tread, several developments have taken place to enhance water drainage & traction improvement, reduction in foot print pressure & noise and improvement in aesthetics and aggressive looks. While the pattern design methodology followed by many companies generally follow same guidelines, significant deviations are seen recently to meet the new found challenges in meeting label values in RR, traction and noise. In depth understanding is required to make significant alterations in tried and tested Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| “Tyre technology is an amalgamation of science and engineering. It is dominated by physics, chemistry, mechanical and chemical engineering. Tyre is a product which is a unique combination of steel and rubber.” 30 Tyre design is a fascinating topicPW: though few people really understand the differences in design between brands. How has the design of tyres really changed during as you witnessed it? What were the key factors driving this change? PKM: Tyre technology is an amalgamation of science and engineering. It is dominated by physics, chemistry, mechanical and chemical engineering. Tyre is a product which is a unique combination of steel and rubber. Steel is responsible to withstand all stresses experienced by the tyre and rubber is responsible for taking care of its strain. Such an intelligent sharing of stresses and strain is rarely seen in any other product other than a tyre. So it is a challenge for the tyre engineer to design a carcass of a tyre with minimal strain on material when the same is stressed by inflation, vehicle load or traction loads. This challenge
  20. 20. PW: With automation being extensively deployed in every step of tyre production today, what are the key trends happening in tire testing aspect? PKM: In my opinion, the automation in tyre industry, especially in India, is deployed selectively because the cost of automation is very high and the expertise required to make it work smoothly is also high. It is possible to manage tyre manufacturing with the above principle. The countries where the cost of capital is very high, the value addition on manufacturing cost and labour cost is low. This principle can be employed effectively to produce good quality products with accuracy and repeatability. Several developments are taking place in the internal and external | LEADER - INTERVIEW | designs to meet ever increasing performance requirements and advanced design simulation tools are of great use for the tyre designers in this process. With the usage of new materials and improvements in compound properties, tyre technologists are now trying to tune the behavior of new compounds in different designs for optimal performance in a given operating condition. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World | JAN 2016 “The automation in tyre industry, especially in India, is deployed selectively because the cost of automation is very high and the expertise required to make it work smoothly is also high.” Image: Quality Check Inside Apollo Plant 31
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  22. 22. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | testing. Forensic analysis methods have improved considerably and reached a stage where we can pin point the failure more accurately. Reverse engineering capabilities have enhanced in terms of equipment and expertise which provides accurate information to reconstruct a formulation and also identification of material. Microscopic technique capabilities have enhanced considerably to understand the physical and chemical nature of the material and its final form. Even though all these improvements are available in India, the gap is evident very much in external testing capabilities. Developing necessary facility for external testing is highly essential for the development of tyre, provide accurate information to OEM for their development and improvement of tyre performance in the areas of handling, traction characteristic and noise level. Also these types of testing are extremely essential to generate the necessary and sufficient validation results for developing simulation methods, which will soon take a significant place in testing. PW: Manufacturers find it difficult to carry hand-in-hand “superior technology” and “low-cost” expectations in rubber and tire machinery/ equipment? As a tyre producer (i.e consumer of machinery), what are your views to this dilemma? PKM: In my opinion, the tyre manufacturer is looking for high value for their investment. They are very cautious in selecting a machines because its 35 repeatability, accuracy, break down, productive & non productive time, machine mounting space, ease of maintenance and of course the price, are the critical factors which are considered prior to selecting a machine. Even though some of the manufacturers are attractive on price, they are failing in several areas I mentioned above, which may make the equipments costlier. Engineering companies are capable of designing equipment with all features needed by the tyre industry but at the same time they are lacking process knowledge which are needed for establishing the processes to produce high quality products with accuracy and repeatability. So there is an urgent need for the tyre equipment manufacturers to work very closely with the tyre manufacturer for the development of equipment which can meet all the above requirement at a reasonable cost. This may help to resolve issue raised by you. If you take any productive equipment, you may notice that the total time for the production of unit is a combination of machine and man time. There is enough scope of reducing both components of time, if adequate attention is provided. The implementation of this concept may revolutionise the process which may make both sides happier. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World JAN 2016| “There is an urgent need for the tyre equipment manufacturers to work very closely with the tyre manufacturer for the development of equipment which can meet all the above requirement at a reasonable cost.”
  23. 23. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | PW: Great! And one last question. What advice on “machinery selection” would you give to buyers in rubber and tyre industry? PKM: I have expressed my views on this aspect, while answering the previous question. To elaborate a little more I wish to inform the readers of this interview that tyre manufacturing processes are designed by the tyre, material and process technologists and hence the equipment and process conditions used for producing the tyre should match the process requirement of its compound, and components. It is also essential that the same should meet the threshold limits of temperature, pressure accuracy, stresses and strain. This can only be achieved through proper understanding of process requirement. “Tyre manufacturing processes are designed by the tyre, material and process technologists and hence the equipment and process conditions used for producing the tyre should match the process requirement of its compound, and components.” RMW P.K. Mohamed 36
  24. 24. KELACHANDRA MACHINES (MFRS. OF RUBBER INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY) Chingavanam - 686 531, Kottayam, Kerala. India. Phone Off: +91- 481-2430325. Fax: +91- 481-2430596 e-mail: km1912@gmail.com
  25. 25. KELACHANDRA MACHINES (MFRS. OF RUBBER INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY) Chingavanam - 686 531, Kottayam, Kerala. India. Phone Off: +91- 481-2430325. Fax: +91- 481-2430596 e-mail: km1912@gmail.com

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