August gathering at ATRC 2017

The fourth Asian Tyre & Rubber Conference (ATRC 2017), Asia’s most premier conference on tyres, held in Chennai, India, on June 16-17, 2017 was a resounding success, bringing together the cream of the global tyre and rubber industry leaders and professionals for a threadbare discussion on topical industry issues.
The two-day deliberations held at Hyatt Regency, Chennai, focussed on the imperative need to invest in cutting edge manufacturing technology that sustains the industry as well as environment.
Organised by Asian Business Media (ABM), publishers of Tyre Asia, Rubber Asia and Auto Parts Asia, the conference was attended by about 200 delegates from India and abroad.

Inaugural ceremony

The inaugural function commenced with a moving tribute to late John Powath, former Chief Executive Officer of ABM, who was responsible for the emergence of ABM as a leading publisher of magazines relating to rubber, tyre and allied industries and organiser of many keenly-awaited global rubber industry events such as India Rubber Summit & Dinner(IRSD), Asian Latex Conference (ALC), Asian Tyre & Rubber Conference (ATRC) and Asian Retread Conference (ARC).
Welcoming the gathering, Antony Powath, President, ABM, said ATRC 2017 is designed in such a way as to help the tyre companies interact with the top suppliers to the industry from all parts of the world and to showcase the latest technology available with them.
In his Opening Address, Harm Voortman, CEO, VMI, Holland, stressed the need for development of new sustainable tyres that are both fuel- efficient and environment-friendly. The trend towards safer,
higher-performance tyres is leading to a need for new manufacturing technologies.
The high price of raw materials calls for more efficient use of materials in the production of tyres. Mounting tyre wastes are posing a grave environmental hazard and threat to human health. Retreading is one of the ways to make the tyre industry more sustainable, he added.
Inaugurating the two-day conference, Satish Sharma, Chairman of Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) and President – APMEA, Apollo Tyres Ltd, said huge investment in infrastructure development in India bodes well for the tyre industry. There is a strong case for lightweight tyres that reduce fuel consumption and save cost.
R&D spend by the tyre industry in India has significanly gone up in the past 5 years. The transition from tube to tubeless tyres in commercial vehicle segment will lead to considerable saving in tubes and flaps. As radialisation picks up in the TBR segment, bias technology will be given its burial, he said.
Delivering the Special Invitee Address, Erich Nesselhauf, MD & CEO, Daimler India CV, said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) being implemented in India from July 1, 2017 would revolutionise the industry. Borders will disappear and there will be free movement and supply of goods across the country.
Stressing the need to optimise the fuel efficiency system, he said 3 per cent more fuel efficiency on a fleet of 1 million trucks translates to a saving of 8.4 lakh litres of fuel day by day. This benefits the envoronment enormously as buring a litre of fuel produces 2.6 kg of carbon.

Enligntening presentations

The duiscussions at the conference centred round the conference theme: “Breakthrough Technology for Sustainable Future.” There were six technical sessions spread over two days which were chaired by industry veterans like P K Mohamed, Chief Advisor, Apollo Tyres Ltd, Vijay K Misra, Technical Director, JK Tyre, India, Ravin Kurian, Senior Manager R&D, MRF Ltd, M P Kanjolia, Senior Vice President Technical, JK Tyre, P J Xavier, Executive Vice President R&D, MRF Ltd, and Juban Thomas, Vice President -Vehicle Dynamics & Testing, CEAT.
The technical sessions saw enlightening presentations by industry experts. The galaxy of speakers includeded Mike Norman, Sales Director Asia, VMI, Holland; Veli-Matti Hakala, Sales Director, CIMCORP, Finland; Edoardo Salaorni, Commercial Director, Marangoni, Italy; Dr Ir.Gerard Nijman, Head of Extrusion Process Engineering, HF Group, Germany; Dr Mohamed Hassan, R&T Executive Director, Mesnac, China; Jayant Wad, Rhein Chemie, LANXESS India; Pradeep Kumar, Head of Design & Development, Apollo Tyres Ltd.; Ashoke Karmokar, Central Research, Bridgestone, Japan; Riaan Diener, Vice President Global Services, VMI, Holland; Ananda Caldera, Executive Director, Global Rubber Industries, Sri Lanka; Dr. Dieter Barz, COO, Altracon, Germany; Colin Clarke, Director Technical Sales, Schill & Seilacher-Struktol, Germany; Jan-Marc Kop, Sales Director, Inmess, Germany; Rajiv Budhraja, Director General, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), India; Devdas Suvarna, Managing Director, Bainite Machines, India; Peter Haan, Head Global VMM Tyre, Siemens, Germany; Hauke Paul, Sales Director, Electronic Systems Electronic Systems Spa, Italy; and Jonathan Darab, Director, Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS), USA.

Networking opportunity

The conference attracted a cross-section of industry stakeholders including top executives, Technical Heads, R&D Heads, Scientists and Engineers, among others. The conference presented an ideal platform to share ideas and engage in networking opportunity unrivalled within the tyre manufacturing sector in Asia.
Summing up the two-day event, Zachariah George, Chairman, ATRC, said it was a matter of great satisfaction that ATRC 2017 could bring together some of the best minds in the global tyre and rubber industry. Great care was taken in the selection of the theme, the profile of the speakers and the choice of the papers to give maximum value addition to the participants, he added.
Vijay Kurian Abraham, Vice President Marketing, ABM, who proposed a vote of thanks, attributed the success of ATRC 2017 to the presence of outstanding leaders for the inaugural function and an excellent lineup of speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise.
An evening of music and dance, followed by dinner, on the first day of the conference provided welcome relief to the participants from the day-long serious deliberations.
The conference won wide accolades from participants for its impeccable organisation, outstanding profile of speakers and high quality of presentations.