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Improved testing at Apollo

Apollo Tyres is focusing on improved test methods particularly at a virtual level in order to speed up development times and produce more competitive tires

by Rachel Evans

 

Dr Seshu Bhagavathula, Apollo Tyres’ chief technology officer, recently revealed details of investments in the pipeline that focus on improving testing. The former Daimler employee, who has been heading Apollo’s R&D activities in Enschede, the Netherlands, for around six months, says, “This is one of the main focuses for us because we believe that’s what makes a pioneer – those who test more, those who test intelligently, they are in the top tire manufacturers.

Bhagavathula continues, “We’ve invested a lot in simulation to reduce the amount of physical testing that we’re doing. We’re not there yet, but eventually through simulation, we will be able to save physical testing by 20%. We’re also situated next to the University of Twente, which has one of the fastest computers on earth, so we use their facilities.”

Since the R&D facility in the Netherlands opened in 2013, Apollo has also made large investments in the labs; four floors were available for expansion all of which are now occupied.

Further to that, Apollo reportedly plans to instate some engineers permanently at Nardo proving ground in Italy, possibly at ATP Papenburg in Germany, and definitely at IDIADA in Spain. “If we are testing in so many places it makes sense to have some R&D experts based there,” says Bhagavathula.

Meanwhile, a ground breaking ceremony for the factory in Hungary is scheduled for April 10. Costing €500m, the facility will be two times bigger than the factory in Chennai, India, and is due to come online in 2016. Apollo is currently assessing suppliers for automation inside the factory.

“We would like to automate using very clever ideas. For example, imagine a system that uses height. It starts at the top of the factory and transports everything to the bottom,” Bhagavathula explains.

March 25, 2015

 

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