Hankook Pulls New Truck Tyre Range Out of the Box
A new Hankook commercial vehicle radial known as the “e-cube” is being rolled out in European markets. And while at first glance the name may seem an unusual choice for a round product, Hankook Tire Europe explains the sense behind the new long-haul tyre’s given moniker: Three developmental directions have gone into the e-cube; namely energy and low rolling resistance, economy and high mileage, and environment (reduced hazardous materials and low rolling noise). These three “e” words are all equally important and thus can be represented by a three-dimensional geometric shape with equal length edges – in other words, a cube.
According to Hankook, the e-cube not only stands for a new concept in line with today’s priorities – it also represents “an environmentally friendly, economic and advanced overall solution”, a complete commercial vehicle tyre range designed to the “highest technical level”. This range is made up of steering and drive axle tyres together with matching trailer tyres, and the Korean manufacturer notes the e-cube is optimised for use in European long-haul transport. Sizes already available in Europe include the AL10 (all-position long haul) for the steering axle and DL10 (drive axle long haul) for the drive axle in sizes 295/60 R22.5, 315/80 R22.5 and 315/60R 22.5. The TL10 for trailers is already available in size 385/65R 22.5. Six further sizes will follow in 2010, including wide base steering axle tyres in size 385/55 R 22.5, and super-single trailer tyres in size 445/45R 19.5.
“Hankook is continually investing in the development of new quality products. These help our customers particularly in times such as these, in lowering transport costs while maintaining peak performance, and at the same time improving the environmental balance,” said Jin-Wook Choi, executive vice-president of Hankook Tire and European head of the company. “With the new ‘e-cube’ concept, we are catering specifically to the increased demands and needs of the commercial vehicle sector in matters of economy and environmental friendliness, although of course still to the highest safety level.”
The e-cube concept forms part of Hankook’s global “Kontrol Technology” development philosophy. For the truck sector, this has resulted in what Hankook calls ‘UMS’ (Ultra Mileage & Safety). Hankook notes that the UMS logo stamped into the tyre’s shoulder represents the company’s “mission and commitment” to very high economy, qualities Hankook opines cannot be acquired at the expense of safety.
The AL10, DL10 and TL10 have been produced using new rubber compounds designed specifically for the application and tailored for use in international long-haul transport within Europe, and therefore intended to offer particularly high mileage. Hankook elaborates that the e-cube’s tread compounds make use of high-molecular weight rubber containing long-chain molecules – these demonstrate a lower tendency to branching and therefore display fewer free chain ends. This is said to result in significantly cooler running tyres and significantly increased mileage. The base tread compound for all three e-cube patterns has also been designed for efficiency, Hankook adds. The increase in the proportion of low hysteresis compounds now makes a major contribution to significantly reducing the viscoelastic loss performance necessarily induced in the tread rubber, the manufacturer reports. Less energy is lost, thereby improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
Hankook’s new IMS (Innovative Mixing System) mixing procedure also ensures a much more even distribution of carbon particles and rubber molecules within the compound. In combination with the extension of mixing times at reduced temperatures, this results in a significant increase in the bonding rate between carbon and rubber molecules, so that e-cube tyres consequently generate less heat.
Tread designs tailored to the relevant axle position also help to reduce fuel consumption without impairing mileage or performance, states Hankook. The Hankook patented Stiffness Control Contour Theory (SCCT) design technology is said to in particular ensure greater stability and less movement in the tyre due to the even distribution of internal pressure. This results in significantly improved carcass durability in comparison to previous profiles, and promises very good retreading capability and economy.
Hankook reports that the effectiveness of the technologies used in the e-cube concept are confirmed by comparative measurements carried out by TÜV Nord in Germany. According to the measurements, a reduction in rolling resistance of more than ten per cent compared with previous Hankook and leading competitor tyres has been achieved. This corresponds to a potential saving of half to one litre of fuel per 100 km. The second important criterion for economy, mileage, has also been improved. In fleet trials by international haulage companies, the e-cube achieved up to 15 per cent better values in comparison with its predecessor.
All e-cube tyres carry the S-mark prescribed in the European Union from October 2009. Future and stricter European regulations planned for the year 2016 relating to rolling resistance and further noise reductions have already been taken into account in the development of all three tyre types. Their use as original equipment is planned.