KRAIBURG Austria – A Reliable Partner in These Times

KRAIBURG Austria assesses the course of the business year 2022 as satisfactory on the whole. Sales amounted to 92 million Euro. The growth is due mainly to the necessary increases in sales prices resulting from the drastic rises in costs. Whilst sales figures in the mould cure section were on a similar level to the previous year, KRAIBURG Austria was again able to achieve growths in the area of high-performance compounds for hot cured retreads in 2022. The Austrian company therefore continued a trend of the last few years, especially in various key markets of Central and Eastern Europe. KRAIBURG Austria also sees the successful development of the strategic partnership with important key account custo­mers as a confirmation of their quality and service.

Withstanding crises and acting flexibly
“Our branch once more proved its crisis resistance in 2022; the grim forecasts proved untrue. However, the past year was extreme in all respects and marked by several, overlapping crises,” Stefan Mayrhofer, Managing Director of KRAIBURG Austria comments. “As a result of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, we as a material supplier soon felt the massive effects in the availability of raw materials and the supply chain stability with immediate cost influences in the areas of provisioning, logistics and energy supply.” The Upper Austrian company reacted quickly and effectively: The Development team was able to change over a large number of products and compounds from Russian raw material suppliers to European providers of synthetic rubber and carbon black in just a few months. “In addition to securing the product availability for our clients, the top priority was to maintain the con­sistent quality of the materials that we deliver for hot and cold retreads at all times. The feedback from our customers tells us that we were successful here,” Product Manager Christoph Priewasser adds.

Forecast 2023 – Open questions demand creative answers
In view of the ongoing war with all its social, political and economic conse­quences, we at KRAIBURG see the situation in the European retread trade as ambivalent at the beginning of the year. “On the one hand, many com­panies took the opportunity to raise the prices of their products to a rea­sonable level in 2022 in the wake of the general increases in costs, similarly to ten years ago when the prices for natural rubber exploded abruptly,” says Sales ManagerHolger Düx. “On the other hand, many questions still remain unanswered for the coming year, despite the declining risk of a recession.” These include, above all, the omnipresent shortage of skilled labour, the future of the anti-dumping regulations and the possible effects on the import figures for non-retreadable new tyres which are already increasing con­siderably, the still pending integration of retread tyres with regard to labelling or the continuing availability bottlenecks for certain casing sizes. KRAIBURG Austria therefore predicts that 2023 will remain demanding for the branch in all respects and creative responses to the many challenges will be asked for. This is exactly what the retreading specialists are striving for everyday in cooperation with their partners.

Sustainability remains a central topic
KRAIBURG Austria sees the consistent expansion of activities in the area of environment/sustainability as a central response to the described challen­ges. The EMAS-certified company joined the “science-based target” initiative in 2022, for example. “With the aid of the Science-Based Targets, company climate goals are developed and calculated which are in harmony with the results of the Paris Climate Agreement and limit global warming to below 1.5 °C. We too want to make our contribution with appropriate goals and dedu­ced measures adapted to our environment,” KRAIBURG Austria’s Ecology Manager Gerold Schachner explains.

Parallel to this, the company has joined the GPSNR initiative (= Global Platform for Sustainable Rubber) which aims to guarantee the purchase of sustainable natural rubber. In addition, KRAIBURG Austria would like to actively invite their suppliers to pay attention to the CO2reduction of their raw materials. The preparations for obligatory sustainability reporting are also well underway. Rolling resistance and CO2 neutrality will be central criteria of the requirement specification for the compound development. “Consistent preoccupation with the central topic of sustainability for our branch is near and dear to our family business,” Stefan Mayrhofer goes on. “In the face of the rampant shortage of skilled workers, our innovation team is dealing more than ever before with automation and digitalisation options for the retread companies. We will be putting all our efforts into the projects initiated with customers and universities or research institutions this year.”

The best possible partner in terms of product and service portfolio
Parallel to this, the retreading specialist is working to optimise its product portfolio. The K708design – developed for local public transport – was suc­cessfully launched last year. A field test in 2022 confirmed its performance capability: The tread achieved a mileage of more than 50,000 miles and also features good traction properties and very pleasant running noises. A special shoulder geometry in connection with the side wall plate K-side protects the tyre against damages from contact with the kerb. KRAIBURG Austria wants to convince even more users of its performance this year.

In its first winter season, the K727 tread has already impressively proven that it can withstand even the harshest conditions of the Scandinavian winter. “The performance data collected by our customers in practice substantiated a test conducted by the certified Prüflabor Nord (Test Laboratory North) so that the K727 can be a reliable partner for further customers in the coming season,” Christoph Priewasser claims. The 3PMSF-certified K738, which has been in use on construction sites as well as on public roads since last September and has scored high marks, among other things, thanks to its special tread geometry, is also convincing. Initial feedback from the market confirms this – reason enough to win further interested parties for the revolutionary development made by KRAIBURG.

“In addition to our proven range of products, we are also working on new designs, naturally,” Christoph Priewasser arouses our curiosity. “We are currently developing a new tread for regional traffic equipped with excellent properties. We will reveal the details of this at the appropriate time.” In short: With a product and service portfolio with a stronger focus than ever on the individual needs and conditions of the retread partners, KRAIBURG Austria wishes to be a reliable, competent partner again this year for its customers and to sustainably secure and help fashion the future of the independent retreading industry in this way.

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