Around in Circles

Let me just start out by saying that tires are indisputably round. Are we all in agreement? All right then, moving on... By extension, shouldn't retreads all be round as well? The folks at Marangoni Tread North Amnerica believe the answer to that is 'yes,' as I learned when I visited their Nashville, TN facility a few weeks ago. It does make perfect sense; if you're putting a new tread on an old casing, the tread should probably match the true shape of that casing before it's glued on. That's where Marangoni's RINGTREAD System comes into the story. In 1976, the Italian company pioneered the splice-less, pre-cured retread, and in 1998 it brought the technology to North America. The process itself is nothing short of amazing; on a production line that is almost completely automated, Marangoni molds circular RINGTREADS that, the company claims, will wear better and provide a smoother ride once they are glued snugly onto your casings. At the end of the line, the RINGTREADs are twisted into tight little bundles, shrink-wrapped, and sent out to tire centers across the U.S. Did I mention I'm a sucker for plant tours? Whenever I get a chance to see how something is made up-close, I'll be there. The Marangoni RINGTREAD plant was one of the most unusual production facilities I've ever seen, and their unique product and manufacturing process deserve a long, healthy life in the North American transportation market.