Flexsys’ Critical Role in Supporting the Tire Industry for the Long Term
September 13, 2023
Tires are a critical safety component of every vehicle, with stringent performance requirements. Amidst a rapidly changing landscape marked by growth in electric vehicles, sustainability imperatives, deglobalization and emerging technologies, the tire industry’s trajectory is intricately woven with the support of key suppliers.
We sat down with Sandip Tyagi, the CEO of Flexsys, to explore how the company is supporting tire manufacturers on their transformative journey and working to curtail emerging industry-wide risks.
Mr. Tyagi, thank you for joining us today. Could you provide an overview of Flexsys’ role in the tire sector?
Certainly. Flexsys occupies a pivotal position as a global leader in tire additives. Our history of innovation paved the way for a diverse range of specialty rubber chemicals that not only enhanced tire safety and durability but also streamlined tire manufacturing processes. Notably, in November 2021, Flexsys emerged as an independent entity dedicated to serving the tire industry. This move solidified our reputation as the world’s premier pure-play tire additives supplier.
Your role in the tire industry is clear. Could you shed light on the strategic themes that your customers prioritize and how Flexsys addresses them?
Absolutely. In my interactions with customers, three predominant themes consistently take center stage: innovation, sustainability and security of supply.
First, tire manufacturers are perpetually innovating to meet the needs of their customers while ensuring high product performance and safety.
Environmental sustainability is also a high-priority item on the agenda of every major tire manufacturer. This extends beyond the final product, encompassing the raw materials sourced, including tire additives.
Finally, the reliability of the supply chain is non-negotiable. A disruption in the supply or quality of tire additives can halt manufacturing operations, causing significant financial losses.
It is essential to the tire industry that key suppliers deliver in all three of these areas, and Flexsys as the global leader in the supply of specialty tire additives has been and will continue to increase its investments into these three critical areas to make our customers successful in a rapidly changing world.
Indeed, recent events have underscored the importance of supply chain resilience. How is Flexsys addressing this pressing topic?
The events of the recent past—the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and escalating sanctions—have heightened the urgency of supply chain de-risking. This is particularly important for critical tire additives like Insoluble Sulfur and Antidegradants, which lack functional alternatives.
Flexsys has taken decisive steps to build a customer-centric operational footprint uniquely tailored to the needs of our customers. Each of our eight world-class manufacturing facilities are strategically positioned to be close to our customers. This geographical proximity, coupled with redundancy in our plant network, ensures the highest level of supply security. Our local-for-local supply approach, combined with locally sourced raw materials, and local customer success teams, delivers unparalleled levels of customer service, supply reliability and agility.
What are the most interesting innovations that Flexsys is working on?
Since our transition to an independent company, Flexsys has been increasing its investments in research and development. One particularly promising avenue is the pursuit of a replacement to 6PPD, an Antidegradant that has been used in tire manufacturing for decades.
Developing a replacement is a complex endeavor, as there are no known alternatives to date. The complexities lie in innovating a solution that not only matches the performance of 6PPD but also adheres to stringent environmental and safety standards. To address this, Flexsys has positioned itself as the leader at the center of a collaborative ecosystem of multiple stakeholders focused on developing and testing innovative molecules. As soon as a suitable replacement to 6PPD is agreed upon and approved, the final step will be commercialization at an industrial scale. With our proven track record of innovation of next generation tire additives, we are confident that we will be successful in innovating a solution for the industry.
Sustainability is at the forefront of industry transformation. How is Flexsys aiding tire manufacturers in meeting this critical challenge?
As industry leaders, we’re investing heavily to chart a sustainable path forward for ourselves and our downstream partners. Our aspirations are aligned with our customers’, and we’re striving to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, 100% renewable electricity and the incorporation of 100% sustainable materials within our own supply chain by 2040.
Our efforts have earned us a Gold EcoVadis sustainability rating, placing us in the top 6% of global chemical manufacturers. Additionally, our commitment to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) underscores our determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with a 1.5°C pathway and help our customers do the same.
As we wrap up, could you offer a glimpse into the future of tire additives and Flexsys’ role in shaping this evolution?
My perspective is that innovation and sustainability will be inseparable in the future, and that the deglobalization era will continue to amplify the need for supply chain security. Tire manufacturers will rely on forward-thinking, environmentally conscious and dependable suppliers to navigate these challenges, and we remain steadfast in our dedication to investing in superior solutions and nurturing robust partnerships. Together, we’re forging a path toward a brighter, more sustainable future for the tire industry.