Smithers Rapra boosts tyre & wheel testing through China lab expansion

The installation of new equipment at Smithers’ lab in China enables it to perform several new tests, including (pictured) wheel impact (Photo: Business Wire)

Through the installation of six new testing machines at its Tire and Wheel testing lab in Suzhou, China, rubber and plastics testing and consulting service provider Smithers Rapra has increased the facility’s ability to server tyre and wheel customers. The new equipment is said to boost capacity at the lab by 35 per cent and broadens its testing capabilities to include cleated tyre and wheel endurance testing, wheel impact, salt spray and tyre air permeation tests.

“Since the opening of our Suzhou lab in 2012, we have strived to evolve and grow with our local clients to support them with world class testing technology and service,” said Nat Leonard, president of Smithers Rapra. “This lab expansion is the latest example of our strategy to grow in line with the kinds of testing our clients request of us. We will continue to invest in new technologies and capabilities to meet the needs of the global tyre and wheel industry.”

In addition to installing new equipment is the Suzhou facility, the company expects to complete a building expansion and the introduction of a new Flat-Trac CT Plus machine at the Smithers Tire and Wheel Test Center in Ohio, USA in 2018, in partnership with six tyre companies (Bridgestone Americas, Continental Tire, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Hankook Tire and Michelin North America) who funded the investment. This expansion will enhance existing force and moment capabilities with higher wheel torque and the ability to test a wider range of tyre sizes. Smithers’ Winter Test Center in Michigan, USA, will also grow early this year through the opening of a new event centre, new track surfaces, and two rental buildings at the site.

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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