Yokohama Rubber expands winter tyre test capabilities
A new facility for testing Yokohama winter tyres entered operation on 5 January. The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. has opened the indoor ice circle facility at its Tire Test Center of Hokkaido (TTCH) to evaluate the turning performance of car, bus and truck winter tyres on icy surfaces, a characteristic it considers, after braking performance, the “second most important tyre performance on icy roads.”
The centre is located towards the centre of Japan’s northernmost island and is the country’s largest indoor facility for testing tyre turning performance on ice. Unlike open-air proving grounds, the facility is unaffected by changing outdoor weather conditions and temperatures and its ice surface can be stably maintained. Test data is thus more accurate.
The new indoor ice circle test facility is adjacent to the existing indoor ice surface test facility and is housed in a building that is 56 metres long and wide, with a ceiling of 12.3 metres at its highest point. An ice surface of 1,960m² enables testing at turning radii of 10 to 22 metres.
Yokohama Rubber opened TTCH in December 2015 and since that time has introduced more sophisticated testing and evaluation methods to support the global expansion of its tyre business. TTCH gained its first indoor ice track facility for testing winter tyres in January 2018 and the facility was further upgraded in November 2020 with the installation of a cooling unit that enables the temperature of the ice surface to be set anywhere between –10°C and 0°C (14°F and 32°F) at a standard room temperature of 5°C (41°F).
In addition to testing winter tyres at TTCH, Yokohama Rubber conducts winter tyre testing at the Yokohama Test Center of Sweden (YTCS). TTCH handles testing of Yokohama tyres sold in various global markets and YTCS conducts additional tests to confirm the suitability and performance of tyres sold in Europe.