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Can you name this winter test facility?


Awards winners announced!

Presented on 6th February in Cologne at the 13th annual Tire Technology Expo, leading industry brands and suppliers were honoured across a variety of key technology categories.

The prestigious ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ award has this year gone to Apollo Tyres, recognising the brand’s continued expansion in the European market, underpinned by the launch of key products like the Aspire 4G, its first high-performance summer tire for Europe, and the inauguration of a new technical centre in Enschede, the Netherlands, where the company’s worldwide passenger-car R&D is combined for the first time. The brand’s financial growth is also impressive, with revenue passing US$2.5 billion for the first time in 2011/12.

Graham Heeps, Editor of Tire Technology International, said: “This is a deserved first win for Apollo Tyres. The company’s rapid growth over the past decade has been impressive, but for me it’s Apollo’s commitment to meeting the specific challenges of local markets – exemplified by the newly opened R&D centre in Europe – that really stands out.”

Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Apollo Tyres Ltd, said: “The Tire Manufacturer of the Year Award is a recognition of Apollo's tireless efforts to continuously improve upon every single detail that matters to our customers, in order to give them a safe and comfortable driving experience. At Apollo Tyres, the new reality is sustainable business practices, through which we will continue to create lasting value for our stakeholders.”

This year, the winner of the all-important ‘Tire Technology of the Year’ award has gone to Cordenka for its EcoEndurance rayon yarn. This new type of rayon allows a reduction in the amount of fabric needed – about 15% in mass terms – to achieve exactly the same performance. This provides cost savings for the tire manufacturer and results in a lower consumption of raw materials for the production of fabrics. The thinner cord diameter also means that less rubber is required, benefiting rolling resistance. Graham Heeps said of the technology: “At a time when the global vehicle industry is focused on reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, it’s appropriate that the Tire Technology of the Year Award should go to a development that will benefit a huge range of applications. It shows that the tire industry, too, has its part to play in race to reduce weight.”

Where tire industry technology is concerned, the award for the ‘Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year’, is obviously hugely important. This year the award has gone to VMI for its FLEXX Belt Maker, which makes it possible to produce high-quality belts in a flexible way, using extrusion instead of calendering. The rubberizing, cutting and splicing is all done in one succession of smooth movements, within one machine and the technology can be used for both high and low volume manufacturing.

As ever, the environment remains key to the industry agenda, so the ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year’ award is an important accolade. This year the award has gone to the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center, a brand new, eco-friendly, four-storey facility in Akron, Ohio, USA, built at a cost of US$100 million and which is home to 450 staff. The 265,000ft2 complex has been designed to reach LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification and has a multitude of eco-friendly features: bio-swales control and manage storm water run-off while recharging aquifers; a large rainwater cistern collects roof water for later ground irrigation; a vegetative roof covers some portions of below-ground laboratories, reducing cooling requirements; and native plants such as prairie grass dot the building’s landscape.

The ‘Tire Industry Supplier of the Year’ went to Test World, which in November 2012 opened the first commercially available, indoor, tire winter-testing facility, located in Ivalo, Finland. The structure offers customers more stable, predictable winter testing conditions all year round thanks to a closely controlled climate inside the 160m x 16m test area.

Click here for full details of all the winners...

Jury 2013

Klaus Baltruschat, Functional account manager, TÜV SÜD, Germany
Peter Becker, R&D director, Kumho Tyres Europe, Germany
Massimo Cialone, Materials and compounding R&D, Marangoni, Italy
Manfred Haider, Project coordinator, Austrian Institute of Technology/Tyrosafe, Austria
Graham Heeps, Editor, Tire Technology International, UK
Rudi Hein, Executive Adviser Standards and Regulations, Bridgestone Technical Center Europe, Italy
Christoph Kalla, VP marketing and R&D, Performance Butadiene Rubbers, Lanxess, Switzerland
Ray Labuda, Former head of Akron Technical Center, Hankook, USA
Federico Mancosu, R&D consultant, Pirelli, Italy
Hans-Georg Meyer, Vice president of sales, KraussMaffei Berstorff, Germany
Dr Joachim Neubauer, Standards and regulations, Michelin, France
Henning Olsson, Engineer, OptimumG
Dipl.-Inf. Oliver Scholz, Systems leader, test and measurement department, Fraunhofer Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen IIS, Germany
Prof. Dr-Ing Pim van der Jagt, Managing director, research & advanced engineering, Ford Research Centre Aachen, Germany
Harm J. Voortman, President & CEO, VMI, The Netherlands
Joe Walter, Adjunct professor, mechanical engineering, University of Akron, USA
Shunichi Yamazaki, President, Intelligent Vehicle Research Institute, Japan


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