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High-performance tyres evolve with disruption innovations

High-performance tyres evolve  with disruption innovations

India has announced plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030, expects six million electric vehicles on roads by 2020. Chinese-owned Volvo plans to launch five types of electric vehicles by 2021 to take a global lead in the race with one million units by 2025. With a sharp upswing expected in demand for electric vehicles, tyre makers have no choice but to revamp their production and manufacturing strategies. Some companies are also offering specialities like Run Flat that enables a car to continue driving after a puncture up to 80 km at a speed of 80 km per hour

By Sanjay Mathur

Smart tyres are shedding weights, and taking new shapes to drive efficiencies and safety. With proliferation of electric vehicles, manufacturers are striving for new materials and electronics to produce intelligent tyres capable of delivering exceptional properties demanded by emerging mobility demands

Tyre manufacturers are fast embracing the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) for to produce lighter, environment-friendly and cost-competitive tyres. Widespread use of robotics and artificial intelligence is accelerating the drive towards automation and innovation in global auto industry. Consequently, there are disruptions in tyre designs, materials and manufacturing processes.

Embedded electronic chips are being used to build intelligent tyres for high-performance vehicles. Smart tyres monitor tyre pressure and transmit it digitally on the dashboard along with temperature, average load, tread depth and precise readings of road conditions to optimise control of the vehicle’s dynamics.

By constantly monitoring tyre pressure in commercial vehicles, fleet operators can reduce consumption of fuel, extend tyre life, minimise vehicle breakdowns and ease their tracking.

At the same time, additive manufacturing or 3D printing is set to revolutionise vehicle and tyre production. Companies are offering sharp customisation that allows buyers to choose a car with tyres of their choice from a wide portfolio of designs and functionalities.

Electric vehicles

Smart tyres are shedding weights, and taking new shapes to drive efficiencies and safety. With proliferation of electric vehicles, manufacturers are striving for new materials and electronics to produce intelligent tyres capable of delivering exceptional properties demanded by emerging mobility demands.

India has announced plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030, expects six million electric vehicles on roads by 2020. Chinese-owned Volvo plans to launch five types of electric vehicles by 2021 to take a global lead in the race with one million units by 2025.

With a sharp upswing expected in demand for electric vehicles, tyre makers have no choice but to revamp their production and manufacturing strategies. Some companies are also offering specialities like Run Flat that enables a car to continue driving after a puncture up to 80 km at a speed of 80 km per hour.

The Seal Inside technology allows a vehicle to maintain the same pace without losing air pressure even after a puncture because an internal layer of sealant fills the hole when the troubling object is removed.

New norms

For all power and technology enhancements of an automobile, the tyre is final point of a vehicle’s contact with the road. Hence engineers have been working to reduce rolling resistance by using new-generation materials without compromising on dry and wet grip levels. A spongy material on inner lining can substantially reduce tyre rolling noise. This ensures high levels of driving safety and increases tyre life by about 10 per cent.

Euro VI emission norms in many countries mandate implementation of green technology. This means low NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels, longer shelf life, better grip on wet roads and lower fuel consumption due to reduced friction in real-world driving conditions.

Significantly, these norms also require a tyre manufacturer to refrain from using aromatic oil which is made from crude or crude derivatives. In India, carbon black soot is often used in tyre making. However, as a preferred raw material, silica is 25 to 30 per cent more costly but brings multiple advantages with it.

With upcoming BS VI norms from April 2020, tyre manufacturers will have to adhere to revised guidelines. A key improvement will be the use of more eco-friendly materials. Low rolling resistance is one factor that determines how eco-friendly a tyre may be.

If a tyre is able to roll further without making the engine work harder – and hence consuming more fuel – then it is deemed a green product. That is why low rolling resistance, without compromising the grip, is ideal for high-performance tyres.

Vehicle makers are also under pressure to switch from pollution spewing internal combustion engines to electric drivelines. This requires lighter tyres with the lowest possible rolling resistance.

Sanjay Mathur is General Manager (India), Pirelli Tyre (Suisse) S.A.

(Published in February-March 2018 issue of Tyre Asia)

 

 

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