Michelin a double winner at TTI Awards

The winners of this year’s Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence were announced yesterday at a ceremony in Cologne, Germany, and Michelin has come out on top in two of the five awards categories.

The French firm was named Tire Manufacturer of the Year, beating off competition from Goodyear, Kumho and Yokohama, and also received the Tire Technology of the Year award for its EverGrip technology first used in its Premier A/S tyre, with further mention also made of Michelin’s progress with the Tweel airless wheel/tyre concept. The company prevailed over nominations for Bekaert’s TAWI (ternary alloy wire coating), the Pit Stop Line from Trelleborg and Yokohama’s achievement of aeroacoustic simulation around a rolling tyre in this category.

Apollo Vredestein picked up the Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year award on the back of its ‘Mixer 8’ tandem mixer project, which was created as part of a vast expansion project at the tyre maker’s facility in Enschede, the Netherlands. The tandem mixer for UHP compounds consists of two mixers fitted above each other and it enables silica compounds to be produced approximately twice as fast as in conventional mixers. Its efficiency is said to provide energy savings of more than 7,000GJ per year, a financial gain of almost £150,000. Other nominees in this category were 4Jet’s Scannect laser process, the new Uni-Stage TBM active guiding system from Intereuropean and the NEO-T01 fully automated tyre production technology from Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

In the Environmental Achievement of the Year category, Lehigh Technologies’ Micronized Rubber Powder won in a field of nominees that included Bridgestone’s TPMS, the Biological Odour Removal System from Mesnac and Carbon black anodes from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Judges recognised Lehigh’s 2014 milestone of producing more than 200 million lbs of Micronized Rubber Powder (MRP), a sustainable, lower-cost, high-performing and customisable feedstock for tyre manufacturing, as well as other products.

Versalis’ Elastomers business unit picked up the title of Tire Industry Supplier of the Year category, for its work contributing to sustainability through multiple innovations and partnerships, with examples including the new functionalised SSBR polymers and a new generation of neodymium catalysed BR, which are being used by tyre makers to save energy in the final products. Also nominated were Heico Tire and Rubber Group, Mesnac, and SovaMotion’s National Tire Research Center.

Two additional awards categories were also announced during yesterday’s ceremony; these recognise the winner of the Young Scientist Prize plus the Lifetime Achievement Awards for tyre modeller Professor, Hans Pacejka, and the former head of Dunlop research and development, Dr Roger Williams.

“Many congratulations to all our winners,” said judging panel head Graham Heeps. “Our double-winner Michelin has a long tradition of introducing new tyre technologies. This year, as in the past, it is Michelin’s focus on practical innovation that impresses most, from Tweel, to EverGrip in the Premier A/S, to the Formula E tyres that are a proving ground for future production technologies.”

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