An opening ceremony took place yesterday for Bridgestone’s new racing tyre manufacturing facility in the USA. The inauguration of the Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) in Akron, Ohio provides Bridgestone Americas with the means of enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of its race tyre production. Housing a team of 60, the US$21 million plant will manufacture all Firestone Firehawk race tyres for the NTT IndyCar Series.
Following more than four years of joint research and development, Bridgestone Americas and Dow are presenting their recyclable, silicone-based tyre sealant technology this week. The partners are introducing the solution at the 2022 Silicone Expo in Detroit, USA.
Several tyre makers plan to offer tyres containing natural rubber from non-conventional sources. Bridgestone Americas has been working to commercialise guayule shrub rubber for a decade and recently announced the upcoming motorsport debut of a race tyre made with guayule rubber grown and extracted at its R&D facilities. It will introduce the new Firestone Firehawk at the Indy Pit Stop Challenge on 27 May ahead of the race tyre’s competitive premiere in August.
Bridgestone Americas has commenced an exclusive partnership with carbon capture and transformation (CCT) specialist LanzaTech NZ, Inc. to address end-of-life tyre waste. The two companies will co-develop the first dedicated end-of-life tyre recycling process leveraging LanzaTech’s proprietary CCT technology.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute has awarded Bridgestone Americas a research grant to advance its optimisation of guayule, a drought resistant, desert shrub that shows promise as a local source of natural rubber for tyre production. Bridgestone has spent more than a decade researching guayule rubber for use in tyres.
At a ceremony held in Phoenix, Arizona this month, General Motors (GM) honoured 134 suppliers based in 16 countries. The vehicle manufacturer’s 2021 Supplier of the Year awardees included five tyre makers – Bridgestone Corporation, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Hankook Tire & Technology, Maxxis Tires and Michelin North America.
Bridgestone Americas has made a minority investment in May Mobility, marking the company’s first investment in public-serving autonomous vehicles (AVs). The new partnership paves the way for the future integration of Bridgestone’s digital and predictive tyre-centric technologies into May Mobility autonomous vehicles. The partnership will also provide Bridgestone with insights into autonomous vehicle operations that improve its core tyre products and mobility solutions.
Following an investigation performed by Bridgestone Americas and third-party security advisors, Bridgestone Corporation understands that the “IT security incident” that Bridgestone Americas experienced on 27 February was the result of an “untargeted ransomware attack.”
The cyberattack on Bridgestone Americas resulted in the perpetrators gaining access to “a limited number of Bridgestone systems and threatening to make this information public.” However, the Bridgestone Americas statement released in answer to Tyres & Accessories questions on 15 March also explained that the company is: “…working around the clock with external security advisors, Accenture Security, to investigate and understand the full scope and nature of the incident.”
Bridgestone Americas has become a minority shareholder in tyre sensor and data management company Tyrata, Inc. It says this partnership will “enable Bridgestone to offer more sustainable, efficient and cost-effective tyre management practices for fleets, including last- and middle-mile delivery fleets.”
Bridgestone Americas is currently in the process of getting its systems “back online in a safe and secure manner” following what the company called an “information security incident that recently impacted operations” at the end of February. But tyre production is not yet back to normal.
Bridgestone is enhancing its tyre development capabilities in the USA with an expansion to its Americas Technology Center campus in Akron, Ohio. The project includes the construction of a new vehicle dynamics test track that will facilitate the development of future tyre technologies by allowing team members to drive prototypes first-hand and thus quickly ascertain which further enhancements are necessary. The track will also supplement tyre testing operations currently performed at Bridgestone’s Proving Grounds in Texas, Ohio, Mexico, and South America.
Bridgestone Americas has made a ten per cent minority investment in Wrench, a US-based mobile vehicle services and technology company. According to Bridgestone, the new partnership will accelerate both companies’ ability to meet the needs of car owners with best-in-class technology in the rapidly growing mobile vehicle inspection, repair and maintenance market.
Kal Tire and Bridgestone Canada have reached an agreement for Kal Tire to purchase 15 full-service GCR Tires & Service (GCR) outlets, two retreading plants and one off-the-road tyre repair shop from Bridgestone. The purchase of these locations will enable Kal Tire to serve more consumer, commercial and mining customers in the Canadian markets where it currently operates, as well as expand its footprint to include locations in eastern Canada.
Tests of self-driving trucks on public roads have been taking place in the USA for several years now, and Bridgestone Americas is partnering in a number of projects. Following on from its investments in Kodiak Robotics and Azuga, the company has announced a partnership with Swedish electric and autonomous freight mobility solutions company Einride. Bridgestone says this partnership aims to co-create “innovative and sustainable mobility solutions for electrified and autonomous Class 8 vehicles.”