Tyre makers, Smithers Rapra partner on new test equipment

MTS Flat-Trac CT Plus tyre test system

Six tyre manufacturers – Bridgestone Americas, Continental Tire, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Hankook Tire and Michelin North America – and independent, third party laboratory Smithers Rapra have announced a testing partnership to introduce a new MTS Flat-Trac CT Plus tyre test system at the Smithers Tire and Wheel Test Center in Ravenna, Ohio.

The addition of this new system will also require a building expansion at the Ravenna laboratory and the addition of several technical roles to support the partnership. The expansion is expected to be completed by July 2018.

The new tyre testing system enhances existing capabilities at the Smithers Rapra tyre testing laboratory by providing higher wheel torque, as well as increased longitudinal and lateral load limits, allowing for the testing of most passenger car and light truck tyres on the market today. It is engineered to deliver accurate and repeatable measurements of tyre force and moment properties under steady-state and dynamic conditions.

“The automotive market’s shift to larger vehicles has pulled through larger tyre sizes with higher load requirements,” said Nat Leonard, president of Smithers Rapra. “This partnership, focused on enhanced testing technology, will provide each partner company with additional capabilities and capacity to support their research and development activities for larger tyre sizes. The partnership will also sell excess capacity on the machine to non-partners. Smithers is proud to be a part of this advancement and excited to enhance our internal expertise while supporting the industry with new technology.”

Tyre modelling requires a variety of force and moment data points and different load requirements to provide higher fidelity models. As the vehicle development process continues to depend on component modelling to meet validation and timing requirements, this new system will provide flexibility through its ability to test a wider range of tyre sizes.

Smithers Rapra operates laboratories in North America, Europe and China, covering a wide variety of testing and consulting services from material chemistry and product durability testing, to tyre, wheel and winter testing. Smithers’ global network of ISO 17025 accredited tyre test laboratories perform a wide variety of SAE, ASTM, ISO, UNECE and EC tests supporting raw material suppliers, tyre manufacturers and automotive OEMs.


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