If the off-highway tire market were a chess game, BKT would be preparing to declare checkmate and claim its place as a global leader.
“In the game of chess, there is a unique quality that distinguishes a true champion from a mere player. It is the ability to understand that each game consists of challenges as the game proceeds. And hence, the flexibility to adapt one’s strategy till the final move,” said Arvind Poddar, BKT chairman and managing director. “Since its inception, BKT has chosen to be a main player in this game, on the global chessboard.”
During the tiremaker’s “The Game Changer” event in Mumbai from Dec. 3-6, trade media from around the globe got a first hand look at the BKT’s game changer: its newest facility in Buhj, located in India’s state of Gujarat.
BKT has invested roughly $500 million into the greenfield facility to set it’s goal into action. After careful consideration and other plants at full capacity, a location was chosen in Bhuj for its continuous land and close proximity to the Port of Mundra, which BKT already uses for exports.
The 167 acre plant officially opened in November 2015 and will manufacture off-highway tires, with special attention on agriculture and giant OTR tires, for BKT’s various markets around the world.
The tiremaker purchased 312 acres in total, with 212 acres currently being used, on barren land that needed access to water and electricity, paved roads and constructions that would withstand harsh winds, earthquakes and floods.
Currently the plant has a production capacity of 150 metric tons per day and BKT expects to produce 325 metric tons per day by the end of 2016.
Part of BKT’s vision to position itself as a leader in the off-highway tire market not only includes a factory, but also a power plant that produces 20 megawatts of power, a 25,000-square-foot research and development center, a test track, two warehouses and township area that includes homes for up to 412 workers and their families and 90 homes for single workers.
The plant currently has about 2,000 workers, and expects to double that number by the end of 2016, said Rajiv Poddar, BKT’s joint managing director.
“Without ever losing sight of BKT’s fundamental values such as the care for our people, the care for the environment, and the care for our customers, Bhuj has enabled us to play a completely new game from the perspective of exponential growth and aiming at global leadership,” he adds.
For more on BKT’s “The Game Changer” event, check future issues of Tire Review.