New Super Jumbo to Roll on Bridgestone Tyres
Bridgestone has reported that its aircraft radial tyres were those chosen for fitment to the first production model Airbus A380. The super sized airliner was delivered to Singapore Airlines and entered service on October 25, its maiden flight taking place on the Singapore to Sydney route. Subsequent A380 airliners shipped to global carriers will also come mounted with the tyres, which Bridgestone claims offer superb safety and fuel efficiency.
In order to accommodate takeoff and landing speeds of up to 370 km/h and takeoff gross weights of as much as 560 tons, Bridgestone manufactures aircraft tyres using what it calls its “Revolutionary Reinforced Radial” (RRR) design, a radial structure with high elastic modulus/strength cords. The construction of an RRR technology tyre includes an inner belt that minimises tyre expansion in the radial direction and an outer belt that resists external damage. By suppressing tread tension the RRR structure also reduces the possibility of damage from running over objects. Should the tyre be damaged, the structure minimises the possibility of tyre destruction through bursting or tread separation.
Bridgestone claims its aircraft tyres offer financial as well as safety benefits: Fuel economy is improved through a 7 to 10 per cent reduction in the weight of the elastic modulus/strength cords used in the tyre’s leading-edge belt. Additional savings come in the form of an increase in the number of takeoff and landing cycles between tyre replacement, something made possible by the tyre’s lighter weight and the improved abrasion resistance brought about courtesy of the minimised tyre expansion permitted by the leading-edge belt construction.
At present all new Bridgestone aircraft tyres are manufactured at the company’s Kurume Plant in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, however Bridgestone is now in the process of building a production facility for aircraft tyres at its Tokyo operations. This expansion will double Bridgestone’s current aircraft radial tyre production capacity by the end of 2011. In addition company also has aircraft tyre retreading facilities in Europe, North America and Asia, including Japan.