Tyre retreading company, Bandag is celebrating its 60th anniversary of operation and says it is re-emphasising the role it will play in shaping sustainable mobility and the increasing relevance of retreads.
bandage claims to be Australia’s sole producer of ‘pre-cured retread materials’ and the retread market leader is also .
According to Bridgestone Australia & New Zealand managing director, Heath Barclay, the the 60th anniversary is significant for any business, let alone a manufacturing business, and is adamant that the future is bright for Bandag.
“Six decades of manufacturing is a huge achievement. This milestone celebrates the history of Bandag in Australia, but also points to the continued relevance retreads play in our market, and the role they play in Bridgestone’s vision towards being a sustainable solutions provider,” Barclay said.
“This milestone celebrates the achievements of every current and former employee of Bandag in Australia, and their commitment to producing quality pre-cured tread and retreads, continuous process improvement, and supporting trucking and bus fleets in reducing their environmental impact through more sustainable product choices. This commitment is the reason why Bandag continues as a strong Australian manufacturer today.
“We’re proud to mark this occasion and look forward to celebrating many more milestones for Bandag and the role locally made retreads will play in our future.”
Throughout its history, Bandag has become known for its cost effective, cold cured retreads, and it says it continues to draw influence from the process pioneered by its founder, Bernhard Nowak. It is from Nowak’s name that the Bandag brand was derived, with the ‘BAN’ from Nowak’s initials, ‘D’ for his hometown of Darmstadt and ‘AG’, the German equivalent of ‘Pty Ltd’.
These days Bandag is part of the Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone and the retreading arm seems to have defied the odds and the trend of diminishing local manufacturing, which has left many local industries unviable. The company continues to manufacture retreaded tyres at its Brisbane plant with an emphasis on quality, and sustainability.
Bandag says its Wacol plant is responsible for producing pre-cured tread for the eight company run Bandag retread factories and 30 licensed dealers throughout Australia and New Zealand, but also is the primary producer for the Asia Pacific region, exporting to Thailand, Fiji, China, Korea and Indonesia, and a key part of the global supply chain for other Bridgestone regions, including America and Europe.
“Bandag punches well above its weight when we’re compared to the challenges and headwinds manufacturing faces,” said Greg Nielsen, Bridgestone’s general manager of retread business.
“Our success is down to our emphasis on quality and adoption of state-of-the-art equipment, ensuring we remain a viable solution for the local market. By focussing on quality, we’ve been able to stay competitive through ensuring that locally made Bandag retreads are comparable to the quality of new Bridgestone tyres,” said Nielsen.
The Bandag tread plant in Wacol is the last remaining tread production facility in Australia following, the end of car tyre manufacturing back in 2009 and iunderlines the sustainable nature of retreading.
“As much as this milestone is about Bandag’s heritage, it also highlights the role the company will play for the industry in the future, guided by the values of the recently launched Bridgestone E8 commitment, ” Nielsen added.
Bandag says its retreads use considerably less raw materials, such as rubber, oil and carbon black, to produce, as well as significantly less water and energy resources than that of a new tyre. In turn the company says that the production of the retreads also supports a reduction in carbon emissions and waste, making it a sustainable choice and long-term viable solution for operators looking to reduce their environmental impact.
“As sustainability becomes an increasingly more important factor for fleet operators, we’re proud to be able to offer products through Bandag that promote material circularity through casing re-use, waste reduction and the use of less resources and materials. Further to this, Bandag is also supporting local jobs and industry,” Heath Barclay added.
Bandag was started in Australia by Bill McNichol, the founder of Queensland Tyre Retreading Pty Ltd in the early 1960s. Having read about the Bandag process pioneered by Bernhard Nowak in a trade magazine, he sent his eldest son Gordon to Germany to secure information on the process.
With the global rights sold in 1961 to American businessman, Roy Carver, Gordon McNichol, then flew to Iowa in the USA to secure the Australian rights to the process. A draft agreement was formed giving the rights to McNichol to use Bandag equipment and supplies, and following a revision to the agreement, the right to manufacture in Australia.
McNichol imported a complete retreading plant and installed it at his former hot-cap retreading shop in Brisbane, where demand saw the operation expand rapidly with a second plant soon added in Sydney, followed by Melbourne and Cairns.
In 1970, the company consolidated its production facility into one site on 20 acres at Wacol in Brisbane’s South West where it still operates
When McNichol died in 1970, the O’Neil family owned Blue Metal Industries, took over the Australian operation in 1976, before Boral acquired the business in 1982.
Bridgestone Australia purchased Bandag’s Australian and New Zealand operations from Boral in 2000, before its parent Bridgestone Corporation acquired Bandag on globally in 2007.