For the 11th time, the presentation of the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence – the world’s biggest celebration of endeavour in the field of tyre development and manufacturing – was made at Tire Technology Expo in Hannover, Germany. Trophies were presented in five main categories during a gala dinner on 21st February, with the winners chosen by an independent, international panel of 31 tyre industry experts.
Among the winners were Pirelli, Goodyear, C. S.p.A, Smithers Rapra, Versalis S.p.A. and MegaRide S.r.l.
Pirelli was the winner of the 2018 Tire technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence for its strategic focus on high-value premium products incorporating the creation of Prometeon and a renewed commitment to research and development with the University of Milan resulting in the launch of the Connesso ‘connected’ tyre.
This is the first time Pirelli has captured this prestigious award since 2009 and the prize was accepted by Marco Spinetto, Pirelli’s Head of Strategic Innovation Knowledge Management team.
“The tyre industry has recognised our company’s transformation: a 145-year-old ‘start-up’ that today is a pure consumer tyre firm focused on high value products: in other words, one strategically positioned in the most advanced technical areas, and technology is, of course, our key driver, ” he said.
According to Spinetto, the launch of Connesso, a cloud-based tyre monitoring system, was one of the company’s achievements last year. Pirelli claimed that it was the only commercially available system that allowed a tyre to talk to the driver via data analysis and it did so through the cloud and an app.
Goodyear was presented the prestigious Tire Technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence in the category of ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year’.
The award given to Goodyear recognised a breakthrough in applying soybean oil in the tread compound of tyres as a replacement for traditional petroleum oil.
Over the past few years, Goodyear worked with the United Soybean Board to develop soy-based technology that would add performance to tyres. Following extensive analysis, road testing and more, this new technology advanced to the point that it is being used in two new Goodyear tyres – Assurance WeatherReady and Eagle Enforcer All Weather.
Goodyear discovered that soybean oil could improve tyre flexibility at low temperatures, helping the rubber to remain pliable in cold weather and enhancing traction in rain and snow simultaneously. Additionally, Goodyear discovered that soybean oil mixed more easily with rubber compounds used to make tyres, leading to reduced energy consumption, therefore improving the manufacturing efficiency.
Meanwhile, the Akron-based tyre and polymer testing company Smithers Rapra was awarded the ‘Tire Industry Supplier of the Year’.
The award was given in large part because of Smithers Rapra’s multiple investments in 2017, ranging from upgrades to its analytical chemistry offering, a 35-per cent increase in testing capacity in China and a partnership with global tyre makers to expanding the tyre and wheel test centre in Ravenna and adding buildings and track surfaces at the Smithers Winter Test Center in Brimley, Michigan.
The ‘Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year’ was earned by Versalis in recognition of the company’s development of BDSPs – butadiene di-block stereoregular polymers – that it claimed would enable the preparation of compounds with improved properties compared with those of today, such as tyres usable to a high level in both summer and winter seasons.
Last but not least was MegaRide, recognised for its development of the complementary thermoRIDE and adheRIDE modelling tools that allowed researchers to predict, in real time, the temperature of the different tyre layers based on telemetry data processing techniques.