CT facility added to expanded Conti R&D centre
Continental says it has expanded its research and development centre in Hanover-Stöcken and installed a new facility that can inspect the insides of passenger car and commercial vehicle tyres more quickly and efficiently. The advantage offered by the LINAC (Linear Electronic Accumulation) computer tomography facility, says Conti, is that it enables internal tyre components to be tested under conditions that replicate on-road driving conditions.
“With our new CT scanning facility we can simulate driving situations such as braking, accelerating and entering curves so exactly that we can observe the internal components of a tyre under the conditions which affect them most,” explained test centre director André Baumgart. “In addition, the scanning can be carried out even more efficiently, so that we can test around 1,400 passenger and commercial vehicle tyres annually.” The newly completed facility was installed at a cost of 1.4 million euros.
The non-destructive method of analysis offered by the LINAC unit is a rich source of information for Continental’s research and development work, as it is the only method that allows the performance of individual components in real-life conditions. Explaining its advantages further, Continental points out that particular stresses affect each individual component of the tyre – such as when the steel cords in the casing change their positions relative to another, for example. This can either positively or negatively affect the tyre’s handling. By simulating and observing the changes that occur in a tyre while driving, Continental says its tyre developers now have the opportunity to design the best possible new tyres for the road, tyres designed to optimally respond to the forces placed upon them.
LINAC can be utilised for multiple applications. For example, Continental says the facility can be used to precisely analyse how a tyre fits onto a rim and to simulate driving conditions; lateral forces of up to three tonnes or wheel loads of up to six tonnes can be created, and wheel alignment can be adjusted up to five degrees. “We are not only testing standard situations here, however,” Baumgart added. “For us it‘s also important to be able to observe the behaviour of the components when exposed to too little tyre pressure or vehicle overloading.” Baumgart stressed the importance of testing products to ensure a high level of safety even when operating outside of normal ranges: “This new facility will make a good contribution to our safety objective.”