It is in Bhuj, where BKT’s new Research & Development Center has emerged - right in the area where only 2 years ago the showpiece production site was officially inaugurated starting up a real change of pace for the Indian multinational company in the global off-highway tire market. From today on, the vision is closer and achievable: to reach the leadership.
The Center has been named “Suresh Poddar Innovation Hub” in honor of Suresh, the eldest of the Poddar brothers. It is situated within an area of 25 acres called the “Mahabirprasad Poddar Knowledge Center” (MPKC), in remembrance of BKT’s highly estimated founding father, the late Mahabirprasad Poddar.
Designed for organizing all spaces from a completely functional viewpoint, the new Research & Development Center includes the best range of equipment and software available managed by an expert team of engineers, chemists and technicians dealing with any aspect pertaining to the technological development of BKT tires: starting from designing a new tire and creating compounds to improve product performance up to implementing processes for an efficient and customized production of cutting-edge tires.
Research will focus on new materials in order to alter the course always more towards sustainable and environmentally friendly elements. Another central point are all applicative aspects and options of nanotechnologies, especially in view of creating new components.
Close to the new Center, there is a modern testing track, which allows for in-depth tire performance tests simulating real application conditions in order to obtain updated and detailed data and analyses.
The purpose is the continuous improvement of product quality and their ability to best adapt to the most differing off-highway applications.
The development of new materials and tires in line with user expectations is essential for BKT in order to remain a central reference point in the farming, earthmoving and industrial sectors - always at the forefront and anticipating market needs.
By means of innovation added to training new talents, the new Research & Development Center in Bhuj aims at becoming the number one research center in the off-highway tire sector worldwide.
BKT’s ambition and vision is to demonstrate that the company is able to compete among the big market players and to continuously grow even in the OTR and mining sectors.
"Starting from today, we will be 'innovators', providing a strong impetus to Research & Development in the Off-Highway tire sector." states Dilip Vaidya, President and Director Technology BKT. "In this role, we feel our responsibility to anticipate technological market trends. These new technologies are already partially available in the automotive and road transport sectors. Undoubtedly, in future they will also be applied to off-highway or OTR, such as driverless vehicles or remote-controlled container handling equipment, for instance. Yet, as soon as the Original Equipment Industry develops so-called smart solutions, BKT will be ready to support these vehicles with likewise smart tires - one of the reasons why the new Research & Development Center in Bhuj has been built.
"By means of this great project, we are fielding all our know-how and competencies for the purpose of enhancing the performance of the products that are already on the market, since customer satisfaction is our priority - the driving force for researching into always new solutions that make BKT products reliable, competitive, and highly technological.
"Our vision is to become a Global Research Center that wins recognition on a global scale as a place where innovation is breaded and talents are grown as our real assets.
"Investments in R&D are the key to success and essential for competing within a complex global market with rapidly evolving needs. This is why we allot 4.5% of the group’s annual turnover to Research & Development confirming our determination to be one of the leading players in the off-highway market.”
The impression gained by those who have already visited the new center is that of facing a place full of innovative and ambitious - almost futurist - capacities, another piece of puzzle to complete the great picture of the Bhuj project, a technological model to be positioned among the major sites of production and research worldwide in the field of off-highway tires.
The strategic location, the unique testing track, the research team and product developers’ expertise over decades, the equipment fleet, and not least digital technologies make it clear that a new era has started for BKT, who being a follower of the market, by means of innovation, will be in a position to compete with the big global brands - side by side.
"We have invested into the new Research & Development Center for the purpose of anticipating our users’ needs," Arvind Poddar, Chairman and MD of BKT, concludes. "This is the challenge and our promise for the years to come: this is no point of arrival, but another change of pace to enter the sphere of new technologies, and we are strong and capable of designing the future tire for our market."