TCO: The Cost of Calender vs. Calenderless Tire Manufacturing

Total Cost of Ownership: Calendering vs Calenderless

A capital investment in tire manufacturing equipment is no small purchase. Whether you’re just starting a tire production business or upgrading your equipment, it’s always worth comparing a traditional calender vs. calenderless tire production process. In this blog, we’ll explore the TCO, or total cost of ownership, of calender equipment vs calenderless equipment. 

How Do You Determine Total Cost of Ownership?

To calculate the true total cost of ownership for calender and calenderless equipment, it’s essential to know the life span of the machine. Both calender and calenderless equipment generally lasts 30 years. This assumes that both machines are receiving. This assumes that both machines are receiving adequate preventative maintenance 

Capital Expenses

Without question, capital expenses are some of the biggest investments you’ll make for your tire manufacturing business. Whether it’s an equipment or building expense, we’ll help you know what is required for both a traditional calender and a calenderless tire manufacturing process.  

Equipment Expenses: Calender vs. Calenderless

The calender and calenderless tire manufacturing process is very different, requiring a different set of equipment. (You can read more about the differences in this blog.) The chart below compares the capital equipment required for both processes.  

Calender Solution
Calenderless Solution
Textile Fabric Letoff (60" Wide)YesNot Required
Textile Body Ply Creels (qty 2 minimum)Not Required264 Spools
Steel Belt Creels (qty 2 minimum)1449 Spools240 Spools
Cap Strip Textile Creels (qty 2 minimum)Not Required
152 Spools
Pre Calender AccumulatorYesNot Required
Extruder, TCU & Die HeadNot RequiredRequired for Steel Belt, Body Ply, & Cap Strip
4 Roll Calender Line for Both Textile and Steel CordsYesNot Required
Cooling DrumsYesYes
Windup (60" Wide)YesNot Required
Steel Belt Cutter w/ Belt Edge Application, Double WindupsYesYes
Slitter with 2 x Double Windups for AboveOption AvailableOption Available
Ply Cutter w/ Cold Strip Application, 2 x WindupYesYes
Cap Strip System w/ Cooling Drums, Accumulator, up to 20 WindupsYesYes
Wide SlitterYesNot Required
Mini SlitterYesNot Required
Rubberized Calender Material Pallets/CassettesYesNot Required
Steel Belt CassettesYesYes
Textile Ply CassettesYesYes
Slitter Pre-Cut CartsYesNot Required
Cap Strip RacksYesYes

See for yourself … which requires less equipment? The answer: calenderless.  

Building Expenses

If you’re building a factory for your tire manufacturing process, you’ll want to consider warehousing and foundation needs, as well as the cost of integrating utilities such as electricity, cooling water, steam and compressed air. Because a calenderless system does not use steam, it’s one less utility system to integrate into the building requirements.  

When all is said and done, it is cheaper for small tire manufacturers to invest in a building that houses a calenderless system.  

Operational Expenses

Now, let’s explore the on-going operational expenses required of calender and calenderless tire manufacturing. In this section, we’ll look at the energy requirements, human resources and training and maintenance and repairs.  

Utilities & Energy Required

While the cost of installing utilities was documented above, it’s important to factor in the annual cost of the electricity, cooling water, steam and compressed air. Which process uses less energy? It depends. The calenderless tire manufacturing process uses less electricity and steam than the traditional calender process. However, businesses that choose the traditional calender process often consume less cooling water and very little compressed air.   

Considering the aggregate cost of energy and utilities expanded over the millions of tires produced, the calenderless tire manufacturing process costs less.  

Human Resources & Training

Tire manufacturers know the frustration of losing good employees and the challenge of training new ones. The traditional calender process requires multiple workers, but the calenderless process requires only one – allowing manufacturers to utilize workers more efficiently in other parts of the plant.  

Additionally, the training time for the calender tire manufacturing process requires 24 months, while the training process for the calenderless process is only six months.  

When it comes to human resource expenses, including the number of workers and their training, the answer is clear: calenderless tire manufacturing is most cost-efficient.  

Maintenance & Repairs


Here’s the bottom line: After considering all of these factors, calenderless tire manufacturers will meet their ROI goals faster than tire manufacturers using the traditional calender method. When using the calenderless method, tire manufacturers who produce two million tires per year will recover their ROI in just seven years, as opposed to eight years for a traditional calender process. Contact Steelastic to provide a ROI comparison using their Calenderless Tire Plant Model calculator that uses industry standard values or your specific production and cost data. 

Request a Quote

Are you ready to revolutionize your tire production process? Request a quote for Steelastic’s calenderless tire equipment. Boost efficiency, reduce downtime and unlock design possibilities. See it in action at our manufacturing facilities. Let’s shape the future of tire manufacturing together. Contact us now. 

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Calenderless vs. Calender Comparison Guide

Calenderless equipment helps produce superior quality tire components for lower cost and with a smaller footprint than calender methods.

In tire manufacturing, the tire calendering process is just “the way it’s always been done.” But it’s not the only way. A calenderless tire plant will have some clear differences in several different aspects, including cost and other factors. 

If you’re curious about going calenderless with your tire component production and how the process compares to a traditional calendering plant, read on. 


The bottom line is often top of mind. Compare startup, overhead and production costs between calender vs calenderless plants.  

Overhead Cost of Calender Tire Production

With traditional calender tire production, an appropriately sized plant requires estimated building costs of $94.5 million; machine investment of $139 million; and annual production costs of $104 million. 

Overhead Cost of Calenderless Tire Production

For equivalent production in a calenderless plant, building costs are lower due to the smaller footprint: $92.3 million. Machine investment costs are $136 million and total annual production costs are $102.8 million. 

Calenderless systems also require lower utility costs, consuming significantly less per in electricity, cooling water, compressed air and steam. 

Lead Time

Turnaround Time for Calender Tire Production

Calender production equipment typically requires 75 weeks of lead time (about a year and a half). 

Turnaround Time for Calenderless Tire Production

Lead time for the calenderless solution is shorter by nearly six months (52 weeks compared to 75).  


Operator Excellence Training Period for Calender Tire Production 

Operator training (operator excellence training period) is two years for calender systems. 

Operator Excellence Training Period for Calenderless Tire Production

For calenderless systems, operator training time is reduced from two years to six months. 


Footprint Size for Calender Tire Production

Calendered systems are larger in comparison and require additional capital equipment, resulting in greater equipment footprint. 

Footprint Size for Calenderless Tire Production

Equipment for a calenderless process occupies a smaller footprint and doesn’t require complex off-line processing, pre-calendering equipment, work in process staging areas, and other machinery.


Installation Time for Calender Tire Production

Typical installation time for calender equipment is 16 to 24 weeks and requires special planning and pours for concrete footers to bear the equipment weight. 

Installation Time for Calenderless Tire Production

For a calenderless solution, you can expect installation time of four to six weeks. 


Production for Calendered Solutions

Recouping costs on a calendered system requires high-volume production on single SKUs, and switching up lines entails cumbersome changes. 

Production for Calenderless Solutions

Calenderless systems allow you to adapt your production line as needed, including producing low-volume runs for multiple SKUs and the ability to process a wide range of materials with low changeover time. 


Return on Investment for Calender Tire Production

For a two-million-tire capacity plant, a calender process reaches profitability in about year 8. For a six-million-tire capacity, profitability is reached in year five. 

Return on Investment for Calenderless Tire Production

For a two-million-tire capacity plant, the calenderless plant reaches profitability in year 7—nearly a full year ahead of the calendered one.  

For a six-million-tire capacity, the calenderless tire plant reaches plant profitability in year five—simultaneously with the calendered plant.  

Partner With the Experts

At Steelastic, we offer rubber extrusion systems that provide many benefits over traditional calender tire production systems. For millions less in investment and annual production costs, you can produce a greater variety of products, switch seamlessly between SKUs, gain precise width, gauge, and angle control, and enjoy less than 1% scrap.  

We’ve dedicated a large portion of our facility to R&D and invite you to test our equipment with your components to see for yourself how a calenderless tire plant could be a viable reality for you, no matter what type of tire you produce. 

Start a conversation with us and explore how the Steelastic calenderless solution adapts to your needs. 

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How Tire Materials Impact Performance & Safety

Quality tire materials like the inner liner, tire ply, apex, gum edging, sidewall, belt, cap ply and tread impact performance and safety.

As tire manufacturers, you know that quality assurance is just as important for the materials as it is for the tire manufacturing process. With this in mind, we have created this blog post to explore how tire materials directly impact performance and safety. 

Inner Liner

When it comes to manufacturing high-performance tires, the quality and functionality of the inner liner play a crucial role in both performance and safety. The inner liner serves several important purposes, including ensuring air tightness, retaining air pressure, reducing noise and minimizing rolling resistance. These factors directly impact the tire’s overall performance, fuel efficiency and safety on the road. 

To achieve optimal results, it is essential to choose a reliable material for the inner liner. Halogenated butyl rubber is a common choice, selected for its exceptional properties. This high-quality, synthetic rubber offers superior air tightness, allowing the tire to maintain proper air pressure over extended periods. By reducing air leakage, tires with halogenated butyl rubber inner liners provide enhanced safety, stability and reliability to drivers, even in challenging driving conditions. 

At Steelastic, we offer rubber extruders so you can manufacture the inner liner with precision and reliability. This technology not only enhances efficiency and cost-effectiveness but also helps manufacturers meet the growing demand for high-performance tires in the market. 

Tire Ply

The tire ply, also called body ply, serves a critical role in enhancing both performance and safety. Its primary role is to provide radial stiffness in order to maintain optimal tire pressure. Better tire pressure leads to improved handling, stability and overall tire performance on the road, but especially off the road for OTR vehicles 

Traditionally, the tire ply is created by coating polyester or rayon with rubber through a calendering process. While effective, this approach can be time-consuming and may present challenges in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At Steelastic, we offer an innovative solution: calenderless tire production equipment. Our cutting-edge technology eliminates the need for a traditional calendering process, streamlining the manufacturing process while maintaining the high-quality standards necessary for producing high-performance tires. 

Adopting Steelastic’s calenderless tire production has several advantages. This technology enables a more efficient and cost-effective production process, enabling manufacturers to meet increasing market demands for high-performance tires while reducing manufacturing costs. Additionally, the calenderless approach ensures consistent quality, minimizing variations in performance and improving overall product reliability. The result is a superior tire with enhanced radial stiffness, greater pressure retention and improved safety, all made possible through Steelastic’s expertise and innovative tire manufacturing solutions. 

Bead Apex

The bead-apex of a tire is another important element to ensure performance and safety. High tensile-strength steel wire in the bead-apex is used to seal the rim, stabilize the sidewall and ultimately, improve vehicle handling. By effectively sealing the tire to the rim, the bead-apex helps to maintain proper tire pressure, preventing air leakage and ensuring optimal handling and stability. Beyond rim sealing, these components also contribute to sidewall stability – a critical factor in vehicle handling.  

Having the right equipment is crucial for achieving precise and reliable bead and apex manufacturing. At Steelastic, our Apex System is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of high-performance tire manufacturing, and it can even be customized to fit into your tire production line. With our knowledge and advanced technology, we can assist you in efficiently producing a series of top-notch apexed beads in as little as 8 seconds. This means you can keep your tire production line running smoothly, without any interruptions. When you need a thorough bead apex Inspection, try our 360° Bead Apex Inspection System that ensures precise uniformity and defect-free apex beads. 

Gum Edging

The gum edging helps minimize friction and heat within the layers of the inner tire material. By reducing these factors, it helps improve the overall durability and longevity of the tire. Gum edging is commonly made of extruded rubber, which offers excellent heat resistance properties. 

For tire manufacturers in search of equipment to manufacture high-performance tires, Steelastic offers a specialized solution – the Gum Edging machine. This machine can be purchased separately or seamlessly integrated into an existing rubber extrusion line.  

Tire Sidewall

The tire sidewall improves safety by providing abrasion and UV resistance, protecting the tire from wear and sun damage. It also contributes to curbside impact protection, ensuring that the tire remains durable and resilient when encountering obstacles on the road. The sidewall material is commonly made of extruded rubber for its flexibility, strength and impact resistance.  

For tire manufacturers looking to manufacture high-performance tires, the Steelastic Rubber Extrusion System is the ideal production equipment for passenger tires, truck and bus tires, aircraft tires and more.  


The belt component of a tire provides lateral, circumferential and radial stiffness to the tire to make it easy to handle and responsive. It also contributes to the overall durability of the tire, making it suitable for high-speed driving. The belt is commonly made of steel cords, usually arranged in two or three layers.  

Traditionally, the tire calendering process has been used for producing tire belts. But at Steelastic, we’re driven by innovation. We’re proud to have created a calenderless tire component production system. As the preferred choice for tire manufacturers, we help them achieve superior performance and safety for high-quality tires.  


When it comes to durability and performance, the cap-ply tire component is crucial. Commonly made of materials like nylon and aramid, the cap-ply provides strength and resilience to the tire, allowing it to withstand high speeds and prolonged use.  

At Steelastic, we’re proud to support tire manufacturers with the Cap Strip Systems you need to manufacture cap-ply with precision and efficiency. With the help of our Cap Strip System, tire manufacturers can enhance productivity and efficiency with a lower cost investment than alternative cap-ply systems.  


Tire tread is arguably the most important material that ensures safety on the road. At Steelastic, we simplify the tread-making process with our Rubber Extrusion System, specially designed for exact and effective tread production. Steelastic’s Extruder ensures optimal manufacturing output, resulting in high-quality treads that meet the demands for improved tire performance, efficiency and safety. 

Contact the Tire Experts

If you’re looking to improve your tire production, in terms of quality, efficiency or overall profitability, it’s time to contact your friends at Steelastic. Reach out today!  

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