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|Diamonds Are Forever In the "why didn't I think of that" stakes, the Green Diamond concept
may be one of those ideas we wish we had thought of. Impregnating tyre compounds with materials which enhance
traction, or improve conductivity is nothing new. Brass wires have been incorporated into tread compounds to reduce
static electricity, walnut shells added to give traction on indoor surfaces, so why not diamonds to improve the traction
of tyres? Of course we are not talking about diamond studded tyres but why not impregnate the tread compound with
industrial diamonds which are cheap and plentiful, which would give enhanced traction in all slippery conditions, whilst
allowing the tyre to be used in normal conditions as a conventional all season tyre?
The idea is not new, it started some 40 years ago, but it is only since the creation of New Industries, a business
development project, in 1995, that the Green Diamond Tyre has seen any commercial progress with a patented
production method. New Industries was formed by a group of firms and businessmen who had been looking for
opportunities to invest, and who had identified Green Diamond technology as having great potential in the tyre business.
To cut the story short New Industries needed to form a partnership with another business in the tyre retreading market
to ease the creation of a suitable tyre-building machine. That partner was Dacapo, and two years ago New Industries
and Dacapo began working together to develop Green Diamond Tyre.However, after some time it became apparent that
the Dacapo end of the agreement was not quite meeting expectations and New Industries bought Dacapo. Subsequently,
Fridrik Vigfusson was press-ganged from the investors' group, into the position of General Manager.
Fridrik says," We have a product which we believe in. It has great potential, and we collaborated with Dacapo
to market Green Diamond, supporting that marketing with sales of specialised equipment. It soon became obvious that
we needed to take control of the equipment operation and that was why we bought Dacapo.
"As far as the organisation of the firm is concerned, we will be retaining the sales and service staff, but the
international management and marketing of the business will be handled by myself. I am based in Iceland, but I see
myself spending a lot of time in the UK, at least one week every month, perhaps over several visits. "We see the UK as
a base, but the real market must be in Europe where we have already had some good responses to the product."
The retread industry is in dire need of a lifeline, yet you are marketing a product through the retread industry.
How do you see this market developing? How can Green Diamond succeed where others have failed? "The problem
with many people in the retread industry is that they see only one element, cheap, cheap, cheap. If you sell retread
tyres on price, you will surely fail."Retread tyres are the most economical use for used tyre casings, but manufacturing
retread tyres is not a cheap process. So how can you expect to survive with a relatively expensive product and a low
price? No, if anyone in the retread business is to survive they must sell on quality, environmental aspects and image. It is
difficult but we must try to ignore the temptation to sell cheap tyres. "The Green Diamond is not a cheap tyre, but it
is a good tyre. We have endorsements from users throughout Scandinavia, Switzerland and North America. One New
York taxi driver told us that they were the best tyres he has had on his cab. We asked him how he could say that since
there had been no snow or ice, and hardly any rain. His response was that his conventional tyres were always spinning
on the white paint markings on the road, but not the Green Diamond tyres. Of course it is an anecdote but a good one,
|More Than Just A Product|
|Green Diamond is a technology rather than a product in itself. The Green Diamond technology can be applied to any tread
pattern and will, according to Vigfusson, give any tyre increased traction in slippery conditions without adversely affecting
summer, or dry road adhesion. In the extreme case of studded tyres, traction is developed in even the iciest of conditions
by the increased grip created by the studs. However, in many countries the use of studded tyres is illegal, or carries a
penalty in taxation. This is as a result of the increased road noise and road surface damage. This can be remedied by
using Green Diamond technology tyres. The tyre tread of a Green Diamond remould incorporates thousands of ultra hard
carbide granules. As the tread wears down the surface continuously presents a new set of carbide granules to the road
surface, ensuring improved traction over conventional tyres, even down to below the legal minimum tread depth. New
Industries claim that the Green Diamond tyre has an extended life span too. In the USA the tyres have a guaranteed
mileage lifetime of 40,000 miles. However, Fridrik Vigfusson is at pains to explain that the Green Diamond is most definitely
not to be seen as a winter tyre. "The Green Diamond technology can be applied to any tread pattern, so a Green Diamond
tyre can be an all season tyre. Unlike winter tyres or studded tyres they can be used all year round with no detrimental effect
on handling or performance in the drier months. "The current operation is targeted at building the Green Diamond
presence in the remould market. Vigfusson's remit is to find retreaders who buy into the concept and who will make it
their own top quality product in their own market. There are already manufacturers producing Green Diamond remoulds
in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. Talks are being held in the UK and it is hoped that the right manufacturer
will be found to take on the technology here in the coming months. The tyres have been tested and approved for road use,
and test in Sweden have shown that compared to studded tyres the Green Diamond tyres cause 93% less road surface wear,
whilst noise tests place Green Diamond tyres on a par with conventional tyres. "Once we have established the product
in the market place we will be prepared to sell pre-cured Green Diamond tread to the retread industry, and who knows,
the new tyre manufacturers may be interested too. "The Dacapo element of the business is about facilitating the
manufacture by making sure the correct equipment is available to Green Diamond customers. There are two key
products which New Industries will be offering the trade. The upgraded Orbitread 200 and 2001. The old tyre builders
have many good components which will simply never wear out. These are retained to keep the costs down, whilst the
control systems, motors, gearboxes, operator interface, temperature control system are all revised to create a "new"
machine. Add on options further enhance the build quality and the machines are prepared to accept future upgrades..
This is backed by worldwide availability of spare parts. The Dacapo 200 is a built-in 3" cold feed extruder with am 18.5kW
extruder motor with a soft starter. The Dacapo 2001 is a built-in 3" plastiscrew extruder with an 18.5kW extruder motor
and soft starter, roller die and improved two-zone temperature control system, electric roller die motor and no hydraulic
system. Both have a range of available options including balance control to minimise the imbalance in the build tyre.