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Profile: Pirelli Cinturato All Season

Pirelli has decided to launch its first all-season tire for Europe, featuring a full silica mix with a new generation polymer in order to achieve a constant modulus in a wide temperature range

by Rachel Evans

 

According to a recent study, the all-season tire market is rapidly expanding across Europe, with sales expected to more than double between 2013 and 2018. For that reason, Pirelli decided to tap into this market and has introduced the Cinturato All Season tire. Of course Pirelli continues to promote the use of winter tires in extreme weather conditions, but expects that the all-season market will eat into some space in the summer market.

One of the key features of the tire is what Pirelli dubs Seal Inside technology, which protects against punctures. The study also showed that 90% of those asked were worried about getting a puncture and were aware that 50% of roadside callouts are due to punctures. The core component of the technology is a special layer of sealant that forms an airtight seal that wraps around the object penetrating the tire. When the object is removed, the sealant plugs the hole.

Paolo Canegrati, tire testing manager, explains more, “This layer is the first component to be put on the drum during tire building. Some of our competitors use this technology but it can cause a big problem for the dealer. We protect the sealant with a film so it does not affect the mounting of the tire.”

The sealant adds up to 500g to the weight of the tire, depending on the size and thickness.

The Cinturato All Season has a much larger temperature operating range (performing at its best between -2ºC and 30ºC) than a summer tire, achieved through the use of silica and the latest-generation polymers. It was particularly important to ensure optimal distribution of the silica within the compound during mixing, notes Pirelli.

Due to the tread pattern, noise is reduced inside and outside the vehicle. Engineers opted for a directional pattern and in the center there is a very high density of sipes. “This is much closer to the design of a winter tire in order to improve snow performance,” notes Canegrati. There are also 2D sipes in the center of the tread, which can open to capture the snow. On the shoulder there are fewer sipes.
 



Testing took place at several facilities across Europe including IDIADA in Spain, Arctic Falls in Finland and Fiat’s Balocco proving ground, which is close to the Pirelli R&D headquarters in Milan. The test protocol for this tire closely replicated that of previous products: “We started focusing on evaluation of noise and rolling resistance,” Canegrati says. “We always test mileage on real roads while the other disciplines are tested on proving grounds. We consider braking, aquaplaning, noise, comfort, straight and lateral performance, and wet and dry handling.”

Some additional tests focused on the Seal Inside technology: “We ran tests indoors simulating a puncture and outdoors to verify the sealing characteristics.”

The team used vehicles in the A, B and C segments (as per Pirelli’s target audience) and equipped them with a range of sizes; the Cinturato All Season will be available in 21 sizes, three with the Seal Inside technology. Vehicle models covered include the Fiat 500, Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. To understand the limits of the tire, benchmarking was done against winter and summer products, and other all-season competitors.

Diagrams illustrate the temperature operating range of the Cinturato All Season compared when a summer and a winter tire

Pirelli’s Seal Inside technology maintains tire pressure in the event of a puncture by objects up to 4mm in diameter


 

 

 

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