In Vipal Know Your Tyres, July 20216 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 9, 2021

Vipal retreads is a household name in New Zealand trucking circles. In this first of a technical series by Vipal Rubber, we find out more about the company, a global force in tyre tread products for the transport industry.

Vipal Rubber products are known worldwide. Treads, repairs, products for tyre retreading and machinery (and even motorcycle tyres) are familiar to those in the transport segment. Still, not everyone knows the size and structure of the company. What started in a small tyre patch factory in the city of Nova Prata, southern Brazil, has become, over the years, one of the most important manufacturers of products for tyre retreading and repairs and a world reference in technology and innovation in the segment.

After 47 years, Vipal is the absolute leader in Brazil and Latin America, exporting to about 90 countries on four continents.

The numbers represent this magnitude. With its main markets – the United States, Europe and South America – the brand has 11% of the world commercial tyre market, 35% of the retreading market in Latin America and 40% in Brazil. It achieved this position with serious and continuous work, which prioritises technology, innovation and quality above all else. With more than 300 authorised retreaders, Vipal is the only company globally with a complete product line for retreading and repairing all tyre types. It offers solutions developed with its own technology, based on constant investment in research. To supply the world market, Vipal has four manufacturing units, representing a production area of more than 183,000m2, an installed capacity of more than 19,000 tonnes per month and a workforce of 3000 employees.

It also has 13 central distribution centres (CDCs) strategically distributed worldwide, enabling it to serve all continents.

The CDCs are in: Sydney (Australia), Valencia (Spain), Nova Gorica (Slovenia), Felixstowe (England), Los Angeles, Norfolk, Miami, Tlalnepantla (Mexico), Funza (Colombia), Santiago (Chile), Perez (Argentina), Feira de Santana and Nova Prata (Brazil). In addition, Vipal has a local commercial and technical team, offering total support and the best solutions in each region where it is represented.

The Vipal Rubber production facility in Feira de Santana, Brazil.

In New Zealand, Vipal is supported by three manufacturing plants in Auckland, Hastings and Christchurch.

A proof of Vipal’s constant investment in improvement and expansion was realised in 2020 when the company started production in its newest manufacturing facility, located in Perez, Argentina. The modern factory, which has the latest technology used by Vipal in all its manufacturing units, had an investment of US$20 million (about $28 million). Vipal’s first plant outside Brazil, the Perez unit, produces pre-moulded strips for retreading tyres, and supplies the Argentine and export markets. It also has a distribution centre with a total space of 15,000m2, supporting the storage of 1000 tonnes of products.

Vipal’s technical structure also enables it to invest in developing specific products for better performance in the different regions in which it operates. This is because, among other factors, it includes the Research and Technology Centre in one of its factories, where new technologies applied to products are developed. With a research centre made up of 13 laboratories and a highly qualified technical staff, the centre combines knowledge with practice, carrying out more than 50 different types of tests and generating more than 28,000 annually.

Vipal’s innovation and knowledge differential also condition it to produce its own machinery. Vipal Machinery was created in 2015, and it was a New Zealand company that acquired its first international unit, a machine for retreading commercial and agricultural tyres. The unit was 100% developed by Vipal whose main objective is to bring state-of-the-art technology to its partners, offering them optimisation of energy resources, labour and use of physical space. Currently, Vipal Machinery is also part of dozens of partner renovators in North America, Central America, South America and Europe.

Combining experience with technical knowledge, Vipal has always invested in the dissemination of knowledge, which it does through its corporate university. Univipal aims to technically train clients and partners and offers distance-learning courses for technical and commercial teams and onsite training, onsite business management courses and practical classes, which mobilise professionals from the most diverse locations on the planet. This entire structure is reflected in excellent products, which are a quality reference in Oceania and worldwide.

The Vipal Rubber production facility in Nova Prata, Brazil.