A 126-hectare area of barren desert with a handful of withered and windswept shrubs, no water, and no electricity – this is how the area around BKT’s newest plant looked before it created a real showpiece out of nothing thanks to a US$500m investment: a self-contained production plant representing the state-of-the-art for both industrial equipment and infrastructures and facilities for employees.
The site is located in Bhuj in the State of Gujarat, India, about 100km from the Pakistan border and 60km from the Port of Mundra on the Arabian Sea. After the start of construction in January 2011, an 8km-long pipeline for drinking water as well as 13km of electricity lines were laid. The first tire rolled off the production lines in March 2012, though the entire project will be completed by the end of 2016.
After reaching a daily production of 150 tons approximately 50% of the maximum production capacity the BKT Bhuj plant was inaugurated at the beginning of December 2015 in the presence of numerous guests from all over the world, including iVT International. Several events took place involving customers, distributors and partners. During the opening ceremonies, guests had the opportunity to look at the production units provided with modern compound mixers, complex equipment for the production of steel rings and new vulcanizing presses for large tire sizes.
The tires currently produced in Bhuj include 22 sizes of the Maglift solid tire and various measures of Liftmax LM 81 tire, both for forklifts, in addition to Portmax PM 93 in size 280/75 R 22.5 for straddle carriers, and the giant Earthmax SR 45 Plus tire for dumpers.
The Bhuj testing track, the only one in India, has been projected for testing tire performance and driving comfort on different surfaces from uniform road conditions to rough terrain. Many Indian producers have already applied for using the BKT track for their tests. Close to this facility, the new R&D center is being built for research on new polymers and tread compounds. On the other side of the complex, a thermoelectric power plant covers the needs for water vapor and electricity throughout the entire site. Enormous water collection tanks provide water reserves even in droughts.
“The primary resource for the growth and success of any business is its staff,” Arvind Poddar, chairman and managing director of BKT, said. Over 6 hectares of the Bhuj site fully in line with this philosophy was turned into a small town for the employees, including 406 modern flats, a mall, a green area, a recreation center, a medical center, and a fire station. The fire brigade takes action in case of emergencies even outside the Bhuj plant. In addition, there are 90 rooms for university students who take part in an industry-university cooperation project.
Like all BKT plants, Bhuj has obtained the ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Certificate. As far as production parameters, quality control and environmental regulatory requirements are concerned, BKT adheres to the strictest international standards.
“The Bhuj production site is a milestone in BKT’s growth,” Lucia Salmaso, managing director of BKT Europe, said, “not only for its high levels of technical and quality standards, but also because it is the BKT plant that is situated at the closest distance to a port a decisive factor to speed up delivery time. Likewise, this is a great benefit for companies that have chosen BKT tires as original equipment.”
Alluding to the game of chess, Poddar illustrated BKT’s philosophy in the inauguration speech as follows: “There is a unique trait that distinguishes a true champion from a mere player: the versatility to adapt his/her strategy to the challenges entailed in each game. One move after the other, BKT has created and reached its objectives. Thanks to the new Bhuj production plant, the company is now ready to change the game acting as the ‘game changer’ on the global chessboard.”
January 8, 2016