Nokian Tyres breaks ground for the new technology centre in Spain
Nokian Tyres has started the construction of a new testing and technology centre at in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain. The first test tracks will be completed next year, and the technology center is expected to be fully operational in 2020.
Nokian Tyres currently operates two test centers in Finland – Ivalo and Nokia. Adding the third testing facility and technology center in Spain’s warmer climate allows for year-round testing of summer, all-season and winter tyres. The aim is to develop tyres that are safer, more functional and eco-friendlier than before. The main focus is on summer and all-season tyres with a high speed rating; there is especially high demand for them in Nokian Tyres’ growth markets in Central Europe and North America.
“We have been planning the new center for a long time in cooperation with the local authorities and other partners. Now is the time to take the next step and start building a technology center for the future that offers versatile opportunities for accelerating product development and growing our product range,” said Hille Korhonen, President & CEO for Nokian Tyres.
The vast three-hundred hectare testing area will have more than ten different test tracks that will be used to study the durability and performance of tyres with the modern testing technology. Circling the facility is a seven-kilometer oval track for testing tyres at speeds of up to 300 km/h. Furthermore, the tracks allow for performing many of the approval testing required from tyres, such as wet grip and rolling noise tests.
In addition to testing, the technology center aims to accelerate sustainable product development and innovation. Already in 2017, Nokian Tyres was involved in starting a research project that studies the utilization of the guayule plant for more environmentally friendly tyre manufacturing. The guayule plant can survive under dry and barren conditions and is seen as a potential replacement for natural rubber. For local farmers, it is a possible alternative to less profitable grain farming.
The project will employ about 200 people during construction and up to 40 new positions once complete. Additionally, it will have a significant indirect effect on the employment of the transport, services and logistics industries.