Video Exclusives


Historical footage from Marangoni

Sentury

The Italian supplier looks back on its beginnings as a developer of tire production and retreading machinery.

Click here to watch the video


A factory tour

Sentury

Visit Continental's factory in Otrokovice where more than 21 million passenger and light freight tires are produced a year

Click here to watch the video

What do you think about Michelin's Vision tire concept? Video here.

Web Exclusive Articles

« back to listing

Interview: Tom Williams, Kenda Tires

Taiwanese tire maker Kenda Tires recently established a new tech center in the USA. We speak to Kenda’s VP of engineering who’s been tasked with developing the facility while also expanding the company’s R&D activity in Taiwan

by Rachel Evans

 

Kenda Tires only made its first vehicle tires around 15 years ago, having previously focused on bicycle tires and tubes. But via its passenger car, truck and other vehicle offerings, the mid-market tire producer has been rapidly growing. To accelerate its sales in key regions, particularly the USA, and add to its portfolio of OE equipment deals – which currently comprises fitments in China with some spare tire deals in North America – Kenda has established a tech center in North Canton, Ohio, in the US Midwest.

The operation is being led by Tom Williams (above right), VP of engineering, who was hired in March 2014 and brings to the role his experience working in the R&D departments at Firestone, General Tire and, most recently, Hankook.
 

Above: Investment has totaled around US$2m with ongoing investments planned for the future

Williams has been setting up infrastructure for the center, which was officially opened in November 2015. He’s recruited the first members of his team, which now numbers 18, however that total could rise to 70 people depending on market growth.

“The majority were hired from the local area. From an experience point of view there are many tire experts based in Akron. We also have Akron University close by,” Williams notes.

The facility’s location is said to offer other advantages, too: “We’re in close proximity to the Akron-Canton airport and there are lots of hotels, restaurants and other amenities in the area.”
 

Above: The facility has a combined total floor space of 50,000ft² and provides room for future expansion

A significant revamp of the North Canton-based building was required, during which time, Williams was based out of a partner company’s facility in Tallmadge. “We completely rearranged walls and remodeled the inside area to make an office with new furnaces, air conditioning and mechanicals,” he says.

Staff here will work in collaboration with experts from Kenda’s two other R&D centers in Yuanlin, Taiwan and Kunshan, China, with cross-fertilization of ideas, technologies and experiences.

“We’ve had lots of meetings into how we can improve the overall global R&D process and we are cross-training people; I’ve had employees over from Taiwan,” says Williams. “In my 19 months with the company, I’ve spent around eight months of that time working in Taiwan. Otherwise, I talk to my counterpart there, multiple times a month.”
 

Above: Three departments have been established at the tech center comprising research, development and testing

The procurement of equipment, which is still underway, will include a typical array of tire test equipment as well as all the necessary CAD tools. Future investments could include a force and moment tester and an indoor wear machine. Kenda is also reportedly developing its own modeling software.

December 1, 2015

 

Read Latest Issue

Read Latest Issue

Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusives

Q&A with Jeff Barna, Yokohama
The newly appointed COO discusses key trends and challenges – including his plans for the company, raw material prices, and expansion plans in the USA
Read Now

Conti celebrates 50th anniversary of the Contidrom
The German tire giant looks back on 50 years of history at its flagship test facility
Read Now

Interview: Giuliano Menassi, head of R&D, Pirelli
The R&D expert discusses how the latest technology trends are affecting the way in which R&D is conducted at Pirelli
Read Now

In it to win it
Dunlop, which is now in its second year of competition with Aston Martin in WEC, says a new regulation will enable greater transfer from track to road
Read Now

Goodyear to supply British Truck Racing Championship
Challenges tackled in truck race tire development could lead to the creation of advanced new road tire technologies
Read Now


Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightWe are building a list of leading suppliers covering all aspects of the tire industry. Want to see your company included? Contact olivia.campbell@ukimediaevents.com for more details.

فروشگاه اینترنتی فروشگاه اینترنتی سیستم همکاری در فروش کانال تلگرام چت روم دانلود فیلم فروشگظ;ه اینترنتی

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the tire technology community? We'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to rachel.evans@ukimediaevents.com

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email olivia.campbell@ukimediaevents.com