GRI Tires – Performance by Design
GRI, the high-grade speciality tyre manufacturer based in Sri Lanka, has embarked on a major investment to quadruple production capacity while maintaining a sustainable supply loop.
From farms to warehouses to construction sites and ports; GRI offers high-performance speciality tyres that have always exceeded customer expectations. A Sri Lankan company with offices in 9 countries and sales in over 50 countries around the world, GRI has established a sound global footprint.
GRI has focused its innovation on designs and compounds, developing new tread designs and advanced compounds that give a higher performance for the same cost. This has enabled GRI to serve customers better, creating demand for its products in both solid and pneumatic speciality tyres and resulting in an expansion of production capacity.
Having built a strong reputation in industrial material handling solid tyres since 2002, GRI has in recent years expanded its scope to include a range of agriculture and construction tyres. To this end, a new factory equipped with the latest technology was built in Sri Lanka, commissioned in 2018, with this being the first stage of a major capacity expansion project. Since then, over 200 new speciality tyres have been launched in the new production plant.
“GRI utilizes premium-quality pure natural rubber from Sri Lanka, which ranks among the top five natural rubber product nations in the world. We also use other advanced raw material components to produce high-grade speciality tyres,” says Dr Mahesha Ranasoma, the company CEO.
He points out that the tyres are all manufactured in Sri Lanka and sold in international markets, with the key territories being the United States and Europe. “These markets are mostly serviced by our distributors but we also have our own subsidiaries to foster closer relationships with our clients.”
Sustainable at the core
GRI ensures its commitment to sustainability and environmental protection by the way the company develops new products, generates its power, builds its tyres, recycles waste, and manages its water systems.
Sustainability and environmental protection are embedded in everything we do,” says Dr Ranasoma. “GRI’s commitment to sustainability is evident at our plants. We use biomass boilers instead of traditional furnace oil boilers, and an environmentally friendly ‘dry’ production process that ensures low material wastage and no emission of gases, or liquid disposal. Green policies on water management have resulted in innovative ways to harvest rainwater and an efficient wastewater management system.”
While natural rubber is a renewable commodity, in an industry where demand is disproportionately large, sustainability in sourcing is of foremost importance. GRI sources pure natural rubber from Sri Lankan farmers and plantations around the island nation.
This natural rubber, which is sourced from smallholder rubber farmers in Sri Lanka to build GRI’s high-grade agriculture tyres, which are eventually fitted on the machinery of farmers across the world, creates a unique value chain that begins and ends from one farmer to another.
This is the principle of the company’s GREENX Circle, a global farmer ecosystem connecting natural rubber farmers with crop farmers worldwide. Through this initiative connectivity and collaboration are fostered between the two farming ecosystems while placing emphasis on sustainability principles.
While enhancing the opportunities for rubber farmers in Sri Lanka, and helping to implement sustainable practices in rubber tree farming and tapping to improve productivity and yields, the value to crop farmers around the world is also significant – they get agricultural tyres produced using the finest natural rubber that minimizes soil compaction and helps produce higher yields.
“This unique initiative is really important to us. The GREENX Circle is conceptually a unique proposition to help farmers be environmentally sustainable, connecting natural rubber farmers and crop farmers, the two key farming communities in our supply chain,” says Dr Ranasoma. “This is also a good example for others. Hopefully, more companies will follow to include the concept of sustainability in their supply chains.”
Foundation for further expansion
While the coronavirus pandemic has affected the company just like everybody else, it has also proved GRI’s resilience in standing up to the crisis. GRI continued its operations to fulfil its commitments to customers, demonstrating its capability as a reliable supplier.
Emerging from last year on a firm footing, GRI began 2021 on a positive note – the company laid the foundation stone for the second phase of a US$100 million project with a new manufacturing facility in Badalgama, Sri Lanka. The facility will expand its speciality tyre production factory inaugurated three years ago, in order to meet growing global demand for its branded products, and is expected to be completed by December 2021. GRI’s mandate to embed sustainability as a part of all its operations is reiterated in its new production facility.
“The new manufacturing facility, again equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, is set to quadruple GRI’s current production capacity, bringing it up to 750,000 tyres per year and a total capacity of 100 tonnes per day. The new factory will focus on agricultural tyres with a large share dedicated for advanced radial agriculture tyres,” explains Dr Ranasoma.
“Furthermore, GRI is the only manufacturer in Sri Lanka with radial agricultural manufacturing capability. We will also be doubling employment and will build the GRI team up to 500 employees across areas such as production, engineering, quality assurance, advanced technology, and research and development,” he continues.
“Global demand for high tech, extremely high-performing tyres is increasing. The new facility, which is planned to be completed at the end of this year, is not the end. It is only a further step in our longer-term expansion plans,” concludes Dr Ranasoma.