An undefeatable commitment to offer maximum quality, the most reliable safety and the longest durability of each one of its tires has kept Cía Hulera Tornel riding high. For 50 years, its products have traveled along the roads of Mexico and the world, and that journey is far from over. Pat Whiteman reports.
In 1933 Mexico was deep in economic, political and social turmoil dominated by struggles of power, classes and territories. However, its future looked surprisingly promising. Oil and electricity opened roads; the radio linked Mexicans to the world; and the first Model T Ford started to circulate through the scarcely populated streets of Mexico City.
During this time, a family of entrepreneurs decided to create a company call “Hulera Mexicana” using 100 percent Mexican resources, labor and input products. Optimism, hard work, dedication and effort were the primary tools of its 30-plus workforce and on a tract at 16 Altamirano St. in Mexico City, Hulera Mexicana set up shop.
By the 1940s the company produced its first American and All State tires under a new company name – Hulera El Centenario. The time demanded more fuel, supplies and individual and collective transportation as well as better roads for traveling into the growing, now more cosmopolitan Mexico City.
C’a. Hulera Tornel was officially born in 1951 when the company changed names again and began making retreading materials for tire renewal. In 1959 it diversified its activities and developed a new technique to produce bicycle inner tubes. A decade later it started manufacturing its own bicycle tires.
The 1970s found the company manufacturing passenger car inner tubes of the highest quality and earning a reputation of being the best in the business for these products. It also marked the beginning of manufacturing truck, light truck and bus tires, and in 1982, after a comprehensive research and development process, Tornel launched its own line of passenger radial tires.
Whether it’s a high performance vehicle, an SUV, big truck, light truck or just about any other modern car you can think of, C’a. Hulera Tornel manufactures a tire perfectly suited to that vehicle. It does so from one of five production plants (four in Mexico City and one in the state of Mexico) with updated technological equipment, highly qualified engineers, industrial designers, and a large group of trained professionals committed to comply with the strict quality levels of all its products. This huge effort is translated into the daily production devoted to supplying tires to the domestic and international markets.
Growth, technological development, creation of new jobs and a larger market share are the main corporate objectives of C’a. Hulera Tornel and have been since it opened its doors. Tornel’s 2000 employees manufacture 19,000 tires daily, which are distributed worldwide through 280 different distributors.
“To produce a tire, several factors must be taken into consideration, such as knowledge, preference habits, needs and trends,” says Raul Tornel Ruiz of C’a. Hulera Tornel’s public relations office. “Through market research, these factors enable us to properly choose materials, processes, aesthetics and functionality, as well as the deepest analysis of the service conditions and behavior of the tires, through strict safety and efficiency margins.”
During its history, C’a. Hulera Tornel has perfected its research and studies with its own resources. This has enabled it to have a fully autonomous, 100-percent Mexican avant-garde technology. “Today, more than ever, we know that these technological advances demand more efficiency in the production of the highest quality tires with high performance and optimal behavior in normal or extreme conditions to work in the wide range of weather and road conditions,” says Ruiz.
By establishing an integral technological flow, C’a. Hulera Tornel has the basic support of its design, machinery and electronic equipment production departments where the latest technology is developed in response to the requirements, production systems and strict specifications that control the manufacturing processes of it products.
Its Technical Department is a strategic division of Tornel. Here, all the innovations in design, products, improvements, manufacturing and control methods, which keep its technology at a competitive level, are developed. To achieve this target, the technical department is supported by in-house-developed computer software and systems. This enables the calculation, specifications, process simulations and guaranteed service, as well as the veracity of the studies. This close inter-department relationship optimizes the response times to implement the new manufacturing systems and results in keeping a very versatile, dynamic, autonomous company.
Divided in two large sections, Tornel’s modern chemical laboratory employs the most qualified specialists who analyze, confirm and control the company’s raw material quality. The laboratory also establishes the reliability level of all the input product suppliers through the proper application of its process statistical control as well as the development and counseling of new suppliers. The second section controls the mixing process and the in-process materials. The physical and physical-chemical properties of the rubber used, and new raw materials and rubber compounds are also researched and developed here. Tornel’s testing laboratory reproduces physically and virtually the toughest service operation conditions through analysis and comparative testing. The strictest control testing is carried out here. These tests guarantee that the marketed products fully meet the specifications of the Mexican Official Standards (NOM) and the standards of the countries to which Tornel exports, such as (DOT) and (INMETRO) standards.
C’a. Hulera Tornel is always aware of its responsibility to take care and respect the environment and has an ongoing concern to provide large green space around its plants.
To achieve ecological compliance, Tornel monitors the production processes to find on time and without any collateral risks, any deviation which might produce any kind of emission. Secondly it researches and develops new methods, techniques, materials and procedures which help substitute obsolete processes, harmful to the environment and to execute the ecological standards in force during the operation of the manufacturing plants.
Finally, its own ecological laboratory – the first to be authorized to issue official expert opinions by the Secretariat of Commerce and Industrial Development – is operated by a group of technical experts specially trained to determine emissions and to control residual water discharges and combustions processes of steam-generating systems. All this effort is complemented with an ongoing awareness campaign and training programs for Tornel personnel and significant investment in equipment to control processes.
Tornel is focused on increasing production in the northern part of the country and recently started exporting to Central and South America including Brazil, El Salvador, Peru and Ecuador. “We have increased production over the last two years by expanding our plant and hiring over 500 new employees,” explains Ruiz. “We hope that by increasing production we can keep our costs lower and become more competitive on the open market.”
A diverse product line, exceptional best practices, state-of-the-art facilities and a highly devoted workforce have helped Tornel successfully meet the demands of today’s on-the-go world. “To achieve these goals, our new spaces are more adequate and functional facilities, our state-of-the-art equipment and machinery and our new product lines show the expansion and growth with which our company intends to meet the growing market demand on a timely basis. This is the only way, through work and more work, that will help us realize future we want to achieve,” says Ruiz.