Retreading a Growing Trend

The Quest for the Perfect Spine Label

Re-tread company Vacu-Lug needed a barcode label that could take the heat

For a growing number of businesses, retreading their fleet of vehicles is a more cost effective and more environmentally friendly way of maintaining their fleet than purchasing new tires.

As the industry continues to recognize the benefits of re-treading, the demand for fleet management packages increases with companies looking for a partner that can meet all their tire needs. Combined with the fact that re-tread tires cost 20% less than new budget tires on average and can last just as long means that demand is on the increase.

One company that has long been promoting these benefits is Vacu-Lug a UK based re-tread business that distribute approximately 200,000 tires annually and is the UK’s sole distributor of Yokohama and Westlake  commercial, industrial and earthmover tires. They service fleets of every size, shape and type – providing a complete range of re-tread tires from 16” to 49” rim size.

What makes them so successful is their focus on delivering comprehensive, compliant and cost-effective managed tire services.

Their mission – ‘to produce a first-class retread tire in a safe and efficient manner’ and using tracking systems throughout the manufacturing process is critical to achieving that.


Tracking the tire through its retread manufacturing process is essential to enabling Vacu-Lug to maintain a complete history of each tire. Barcode technology enables Vacu-Lug to do this as their Plant Manager, Brian Barron explains "The barcode enables us to log every action in the system to tell us where each tire has come from and the type of operation for which it is destined, it also helps us identify issues as diverse as production deviations and instances where additional training may be required."

This isn’t any normal plant though, with the tire going through extreme processes a barcode label in this environment needs to be extra resistant.

"Re-treading involves taking a worn casing and completely renewing the tread and sometimes the sidewall rubber. The rebuilt tire then goes through a curing process where the new rubber is vulcanised and a new tread pattern in formed. The barcode label is used at the beginning of the process right through until the tire reaches the storage area – to track each part of the tire's process," Brian explains. "Towards the end of production the tire goes through a curing process the tire is placed within a press and cured for up to 95 minutes at 150 ° – during this the internal part of the tire is inflated to maintain the tire's shape. In the past we have had problems with the barcode label at this stage. The label was either falling off or was stretched so much that it cracked and was unreadable."

Losing the barcode information or being unable to read it at this late stage in the production process means the data that has been recorded is lost – which includes material batch numbers, operator and machine detail and inspection data.



Computype worked with Brian and his team to test various types of label to make sure it not only withstood the heat but also the stretching on the tire. "The challenge was to provide Vacu-Lug with a label that had a durable image after 95 mins in the heat," says Shane Wilson, Product Development Engineer from Computype. "We worked with our adhesives and materials to create a label that was flexible enough for the rubber flow but strong enough to stay on the tire."

Now successfully in place, Vacu-Lug are using Computypes bead labels.

Brian said "Working with Computype has been a revelation. From initial contact to the first order delivered they were professional throughout. Computype went out of their way to understand our processes and requirements and delivered the perfect solution for our application."

For more information on Vacu-Lug please visit