Yokohama Rubber has announced its decision to “beef up” the fourth phase expansion of its Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co., Ltd. tyre production facility in order to increase production capacity from current 3 million to 5.1 million passenger car tyres a year. Planned investment in the phase four expansion as a whole is approximately seven billion yen, and production in the expanded facility is scheduled to begin in January 2011.
Falken Tire Corp. is back in the medium truck tyre business in the USA, Tire Review reports, once again becoming the North American distributor for Ohtsu brand medium truck radials. Falken will take over marketing, sales and distribution of the Ohtsu brand as of 1 March, 2010. The Ohtsu brand is owned and produced by Sumitomo Rubber Industries, which also controls the Falken brand.
A pair of Isle of Wight adventurers have crossed a third of the world – from the UK to Mongolia – on a single set of Avon Tyres. Ross Smallcombe and Seb Cnossen, whom together are Team Mighty Wight, travelled 8,230 miles on the Mongolian Rally on Avon’s ultra-durable CR322 rubber, taking in some of the world’s toughest terrains, including potholed, unmade roads, waterways and off-road areas.
Liftmaster (previously known as Ranger Products UK) recently announced that the company is expanding is Commercial Workshop Equipment department. Kevin Howard, a founder member of MAHA UK, has accepted a position with the Alton based company to promote its commercial vehicle test equipment.
National Tyre’s staff members Ted Midgley and Dan Taylor have been named as the winners of Avon Tyres’ Best of British promotional campaign. Dealers from across the UK were encouraged to display posters featuring the Aston Martin DBRS9 racing car from the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, and invited to enter a draw for the prizes. National Tyres’ Harrogate branch got the nod, and Midgley and Taylor presented with exclusive watches.
2009 saw the launch of a radically new technology for acquiring true tyre carcass temperature. BERU f1systems announced their DigiTyre Infrared Tyre Temperature and Pressure Monitoring System (IRTPTMS) as the first opportunity to monitor internal tyre carcass temperature. The system offers excellent resolution (0.25ºC) and accuracy (0.5ºC) across an extended temperature range (-40 ºC to 215ºC). The wheel sensor transmits pressure, air and tyre temperature at 1Hz, via antennae to the ECU. The introduction of slick tyres in 2009 meant engineers were keen to gain a greater understanding of accurate tyre temperature unaffected by heat soak.
The emergence this year of the FS40LT four post alignment lift, distributed exclusively by Pro-Align, has reportedly created “a wave of interest in the UK market.” Fresh from winning the NTDA innovation prize for its Hunter SmartWeight system at this year’s TAFF awards, Pro-Align are now offering what the company calls specialist alignment lifts.
“The FS40LT has been developed by Provac, Hunter’s distributor in France,” Pro-Align’s Paul Beaurain explains: “Utilising years of alignment experience, they have brought together the best features to make an extremely high specification ramp, providing…the ultimate alignment service, at a price that’s no more expensive than a standard four post alignment lift.”
The use of simulation technologies by tyre manufacturers and race teams to improve performance is not new. The perennial challenge is validating tyre models to the required level of accuracy to allow a reliable simulation of reality. To gather the vast amount of data required to make a tyre model, manufacturers can acquire tyre performance during the race and then desktop simulation tools can help to validate it – but this is often not enough. The challenge is compounded now that data for thermal modelling is required in conjunction with structural models. Driver-in-the-loop simulators, such as Cruden’s latest generation 6DOF Hexatech model, allow experienced racing or development drivers or to inject a significant dose of reality; data based on actual feel.
Scorpion has released its latest exhaust design, a cat-back system for the Audi S3 2.0t Quattro model introduced in 2007. While the S3 is already fast car in its original guise, Scorpion believes that the addition of its latest system will noticeably improve mid-range grunt and throttle response, plus give the car the sound that punters want.
HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of Transaid, joined leading figures from within the UK transport and logistics industry yesterday (29 October 2009) for a celebratory buffet lunch and presentation. The event, hosted by Barclays in Canary Wharf, was held to recognise the input industry volunteers have given to the Transaid Professional Driver Training Project in Zambia.
Guests heard from several professional volunteers who have been seconded to the project over the past year, including John Cook, sponsored by Norbert Dentressangle, Nigel Williams, Training Instructor for Michelin and Jon Aspden, Regional Driver Trainer for Bibby Distribution. Each spoke of their personal experience of Zambia and how they contributed to the project, in addition to how much they learned while on their placement.
In the past ten years Qingdao Qizhou Rubber Co. Ltd. has striven to expand its business in export markets and to facilitate this invested approximately US$14 million in the construction of a OTR tyre new factory in 2003. Since the completion of the facility in Qingdao (Shandong Province) in September 2004 the OTR tyre specialist Qizhou has been able to produce around 100,000 tyres per annum. Central to the company’s range is the “Marcher” brand, through which the manufacturer of the “world’s largest OTR tyres” (59/90 R63) is represented in most corners of the globe and in the original equipment market, delivering to, as an example, LeTourneau Technologies for fitment to its dump trucks. The US firm utilises crossply “Marcher” OTR tyres in size 70/70-57 84PR with a L4 tread; deliveries to Australia and North America are made and even involve the largest available LeTourneau dumpers, disclosed Qingdao Qizhou export manager Gavin Liu.
On 15 October EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon initialled a free trade agreement (FTA), which the EU calls “the most important ever negotiated between the European Union and a third country.” Estimated to be worth a total of 19 billion euros in new trade for EU exporters, the agreement is designed to remove virtually all tariffs between the two economies.
However, it is a bilateral deal. And European carmakers, apparently fearful of being swamped by imports of more economically priced Korean cars in an already depressed market, were the first to call for a rethink through industry body ACEA. However this appears to have been too little too late and according to the commission, the initialling signals the end of negotiations. The current “stable legal text” will be formally presented to EU Member States in early 2010. So what does this mean for the European tyre (and associated product) markets?
JK Tyre & Industries Ltd., maker of JK Tyre, Vikrant and Tornel, today (30 October) inaugurated what is reputed to be the country’s first radial truck and bus tyre manufacturing plant. The project doubles the radial tyre capacity at JK’s Mysore site from 400,000 to 800,000 a year, at a cost of 3.15 billion rupees (£40.445 million; 45 million euros; US$67 million). A further expansion of OTR capacity in Mysore, involving an investment of 1.2 billion rupees (£15.395 million; 17.178 million euros; US$25.484 million) is scheduled for completion in early 2010.
The English language version of Yokohama Rubber’s CSR Report 2009 has gone online. A visit to the company’s website (http://www.yrc-pressroom.jp/env_en) will yield the annual document in PDF format. The company has also added a site report summarising CRS activities at each of its domestic and overseas production sites and affiliates.
North American retreader Snider Tire joined the Michelin Retreading Technologies (MRT) network of servicing dealers earlier this year. The company has now furthered its involvement with Michelin with the opening of an MRT truck tyre retreading facility in the town of Bluffton, Indiana. The new plant, which brings the total number of MRT facilities in the US to 81, will service two of Snider Tire’s ‘Tire and Retread Asset Control System’ (TRACS) locations: Bytheville, Arkansas, and Cambridge, Ohio. TRACS refers to Snider Tire’s cradle-to-grave tyre and retread solution for trucking fleet customers.