Issue Issue 123 December 2015
Safe and quality performance sits at the heart of Reifen Hinghaus, an eco-friendly company that strives to drive innovation into the tyre industry
Founded in 1953 and widely known under its brand name, King-Meiler, Reifen Hinghaus specialises in the retreading of tyres for the automotive industry. Providing tyre solutions to a range of applications from passenger cars, through light trucks and trailers, to highly specialised racing cars for a variety of disciplines and surfaces, the company has carved itself a significant position in the market. “The stronger the market conditions have got over the years, the more the company has established its position as the most important player in the German retreading industry,” explains MD, Mark Hinghaus Kaul. “At King-Meiler there is something for everyone: individuals, business people, local communities, companies and even racing drivers.” Excellent connections to online shops like www.proreifen.com enable final consumers to order summer, winter or all season tyres fast and straight, just making the decision where to receive it – at home or at any service station. In most cases racing teams can be supported directly at the paddock of several tracks in Europe.
Germany remains the key market for Reifen Hinghaus, with close to 70 per cent of sales coming from the domestic market, but the King-Meiler brand has made significant tracks in other markets across Europe, enjoying particular strength in the Baltic regions. With manufacturing based in Germany, the company proudly displays the ‘made in Germany’ mark, standing for quality and reliability in a country internationally renowned for its automotive industry.
“One of our main advantages is reliability and involvement in research and development,” outlines Mark. “Besides market flexibility you have to stay focused on the values you stand for. For us these are safety, performance and environmental consideration.” Operating in the niche market of tyre retreading, Reifen Hinghaus continues to face the challenge of negative perceptions towards safety, and the company is keen to allay these fears by proving the quality and performance of its products, as well as by playing a key role in the industry’s innovative progression.
“Retreading tyres is one of the first and long-standing methods of ensuring environmental protection,” says Mark. “However, between our wishes for comfort and our responsibility to the environment, we are always searching for the best solution without forgetting the exceptionally important point of safety. At King-Meiler we strive to achieve all three points in one product on a par with newly produced tyres and our intention is to overcome this challenge by proving that we have high performing tyres with extraordinary safety. Most important for alleviating these fears of safety, testing organisations such as TÜV-Nord and Prüflabor Nord certify King-Meiler factory retread tyres. In order to achieve this our products have to pass tests that place higher demands than those for new tyres.” Further testifying to the quality and safe performance of King-Meiler tyres, leading German automotive TV show and magazine auto mobil ranked the company’s WinterTact tyre third place alongside other leading new and retread tyre brands.
Alongside meeting industry standards to overcome challenging perceptions, Reifen Hinghaus places a lot of focus on research and development. “There are several fields to mention when it comes to innovation,” explains Mark. “In co-operation with Lanxess, a very successful technical rubber company, we have established a symbiotic situation in the advancement of knowledge about the practical operating range of rubber, which provides us with the opportunity to find special rubber mixtures and exclusive compounds for King-Meiler tyres. These help set our factory retread tyres apart from the competition.”
Approved by this success the manufacturer has been inspired to design its own pattern for an all season tyre and let approved fabricators of the inevitable moulds manufacture it. The King-Meiler AS-1, is already published at the international market.
“As well as this we have been involved in a special project with a leading university supporting the development of tyre stabilisation. This is all about bias stabilisation and once the project is completed successfully there will be a brand-new way to overcome the physical forces that affect tyres, for instance when cornering.”
However, despite challenges, the fact that Reifen Hinghaus has occupied a significant position in the market for over six decades, playing a prominent role in the industry’s development for much of that time, only serves to illustrate its success. With this in mind it is no surprise that the company continues to invest heavily into its factory and processes as it continues to show trends of growth. Of late, and in accordance with its core value of environmental responsibility, it has installed solar panels to supply its entire energy needs and a thermal heat pump to conserve heat and prevent energy loss throughout the factory. In terms of operations a new packing machine has helped the business optimise logistics and improved its ability to serve customers directly through wholesalers and online retailers alike.
Regarding the future, Reifen Hinghaus is exemplary in its outlook. “We are focused on success within our numerous projects, in terms of how we can help protect the environment, and thus our health and how we can make tyres safer,” concludes Mark. “This will involve continuing to find new, better solutions and presenting retread tyres in the proper light that they deserve. Alongside our re-launched website www.king-meiler.com we will be hosting a number of events and promotions to help do this. Of course, whilst we always have one eye on our sales figures, at the forefront of our business, success means evolution, both for the company and its products, but also for the industry as a whole.
“As such the future for us will be centred around expansion into new markets, launching new products and supporting a variety of social schemes. Above all, we will let curiosity be our guide as we continue to develop.”
Services: Specialist in tyre retreading