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Innovation triangle

By Tyre Asia News Bureau

It’s challenging time for tyre manufacturers as the automobile industry is speeding ahead with light-weighting technologies that offer fuel efficiency and better safety. Light-weighting, powertrain strategies, and safety—described as the innovation trifecta — will all be contributing factors to the fuel economy focus in the global automotive market, says Joseph B McCabe, President & CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, one of the world’s top leaders in business intelligence covering global automotive databases, software solutions for forecasting and revenue planning and advisory services. In an interview, he says run-flat technology, once considered a niche offering has seen increased use and become a standard in some cases.

The global automotive industry is witnessing what is called “innovation trifecta,” radical achievement that results in three successful outcomes. These are due to the accelerated emphasis on light-weighting in the auto segment.

“Light-weighting, powertrain strategies, and safety — the innovation trifecta — will all be contributing factors to the fuel economy focus in the global automotive market,” Joseph B McCabe, President & CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, told Tyre Asia in an interview. “All suppliers and vehicle manufacturers will need to consider these factors, and in some cases, there is a delicate balance among the three.”

Light weighting can be through lighter materials like Ford’s F-150 aluminium approach, stripping out over 700 lbs. However, the consumer needs to be convinced of the truck’s safety and durability. Same goes for the use of plastics, and carbon fibre.

Suppliers like the Woodbridge Group are using polyurethanes to innovate all three areas of the Innovation Trifecta. This would be the same for the tyre industry, said McCabe, whose company is one of the world’s top leaders in business intelligence covering global automotive databases, software solutions for forecasting and revenue planning and advisory services.

“Consumer expectations for improvements in tyre design are increasing,” he said pointing out that run-flat technology, once considered a niche offering, has increased in use and become a standard in some cases. Run-flats allow for the elimination of the full spare – providing a light-weighting improvement. For tyre companies, the need to improve traction performance and reduce rolling resistance for fuel economy is a delicate balance.

Another issue is the use of aluminium wheels to reduce mass, which may require strengthening the tyre sidewalls. “Regardless of the parts being supplied, all suppliers must take the Innovation Trifecta into consideration – whether they are able to directly add improvements, or contributing to a larger system based on improvements added through other technologies,” he said.

Full Article in PTA June/July issue

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