Innovation is disrupting every aspect of business and industry. The tire industry is no exception. New technologies include the internet of things (IoT), electric vehicles, and autonomous vehicles. Innovations are pushing tire designers to create new products with embedded technology. These new technologies are already in use and are impacting the automotive industry. How will these trends impact tire development? How will external factors like recycling, sustainability, impact the product lifecycle? What software and SaaS solutions will make your job easier?
Let’s take a look at the trends driving innovation in the tire industry.
Alexa, do my tires need air?
Tire pressure indicators are standard equipment on automobile tires. They’re useful devices as long as you don’t ignore them. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. There’s nothing worse than waking up on a cold winter morning and your tire is flat. Wide area networking (WAN) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies will extend tire pressure monitoring beyond the vehicle.
Connesso is a new remote tire monitoring technology from Pirelli. Connesso sends tire maintenance data to the vehicle’s owner via their “Pirelli Cloud” smartphone app.
Pirelli says this new technology recognizes each individual tire via an identification code. They can monitor a tire’s status from when the tire is manufactured to when it is recycled. It monitors tire pressure, temperature, static vertical load, and tire wear. It even keeps track of the number of miles each tire travels.
“Connesso is able to send data to the driver (wirelessly) about the status and maintenance needs of every tire,” said Kevin Hinton, Prestige Activation Manager at Pirelli. “The sensor is connected to the “Pirelli Cloud” and to a smartphone app. The sensor weighs just a few grams and has no effect on the physical performance of the tire.”
Source: Tire News (Canada)
IoT is also being used by Continental to track fleet tire performance. ContiConnect uses Vodafone’s IoT SIM technology to collect tire pressure data for commercial fleets. Every time a truck returns to the fleet terminal, it displays tire performance data in a web portal.
The ContiConnect systems help fleet maintenance managers view data from anywhere. This reduces the need to check the pressure of individual tires.
The service sends a text message and email alerts if a tire issue is identified.
“Fleets no longer have to rely on performing tire pressure checks on tens, hundreds, or even thousands of tires on their vehicles,” said Paul Williams, EVP, Commercial Vehicle Tires in the Americas, Continental. “With ContiConnect, they will know immediately upon returning to the fleet terminal whether any tires have low pressure. Leveraging the Internet of Things saves fleets time and money by protecting their tires, and improves safety for everyone who drives on the roadway.”
Vodafone’s IoT Director Stefano Gestaut said, “This is a great example of how IoT can make real world differences in so many unexpected places. This ensures that truck drivers experience fewer tire-related breakdowns and accidents – making the roads a safer place to be for every vehicle user.”
Tire Industry RFID Applications
Remote monitoring can also have a big impact in the tire manufacturing process. RFID tags are miniature radio transmitters. They send radio signals short distances to receivers. These tiny devices are also found in automated toll systems now used on highways and bridges. In the tire industry, RFID tags are attached to rubber or dipped mesh materials.
Processing and mixing — RFID labels attach to the big bags of chemicals and rubber.
Tire manufacturing equipment and machine parts — Stores tire identification data in a database.
Mold management — RFID tags attach to segments, bead rings, container, and molds. The tags create a child/parent relationship between the components. This relationship makes it easy to count the sequence of the segments within the mold.
Material flow within the factory — Attach RFID tags to a carrier material. Material flows are transparent and easy to locate within the factory.
Tire lifecycle monitoring — Vulcanized RFID tags monitors the complete lifecycle of the tire.
RFID tread labels — Addresses logistics challenges such as first-in, first-out and inventory management.
RFID tags also help record proof-of-delivery, store inventory, and matching tires to end-users to support the recall process.
Source: Rubber and Plastics News
Electric Vehicle Tire Trends
Plug-in electric vehicles (EV) are poised to make a huge impact on the automotive industry over the next twenty years. According to GlobalData, a data and analytics company, electric vehicles are set to bring a significant transformation to the automotive industry.
The electric vehicle is one of four items that are disrupting the legacy automotive industry – joining the connected car, autonomous driving technology, and transport-as-a-service.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, as EV adoption rates are climbing throughout the world. Additionally, all three other items are set to revolutionize several fields, most notably the safety aspect brought on by the autonomous driving technology. The latest report by GlobalData titled Electric vehicles – Thematic Research report that globally, there are now only 3 million electric vehicles on the roads, this could rise to a staggering 300 million by 2040.
Source: Inside EVs
But what effect will this growth of EVs have on the tire industry?
There are many factors to consider when designing tires for EVs. Durability will be a key factor due to the weight of the battery packs. Electric motors produce higher torque wearing tires out 10-30 percent faster.
A Goodyear spokesman said people drive about 10 trillion miles a year. That’s expected to double by 2030 thanks to emerging automobile trends. These trends are favorable for tire makers. For instance, electric vehicle sales will need 57 million tires by 2020.
Durability will be a key demand because EVs are heavier thanks to their battery packs. The spokesman said they also have a higher torque going to the wheels from electric motors. EV tires will wear out 10-30 percent faster than tires on internal combustion engines.
“As we look ahead to what’s required in future mobility, we’re planning for the curve in the road ahead, and we’re working with the OEMs to be ahead of that curve,” the Goodyear spokesman said. “Our anticipation is to be on those next-generation vehicles that will come to our dealers’ stores, just like they’re coming today.”
Requirements of EV Tires
Durability — Electric Vehicles (EVs) produce more torque. Tires need to be more durable.
Weight — Electric vehicles are heavier. Sidewalls need to be stronger.
Improved efficiency — Tires need less rolling resistance to increase range between charges.
Low noise — Electric vehicles are quiet so tires need to be quiet too.
From Driving to Riding—Future Vehicle Technologies
Autonomous driving (AD) vehicles are coming. Driverless vehicles will have a major impact on the automotive industry and society. The push for AD vehicles is being led by safety advocates. Over one million deaths occur on the world’s roadways every year. Over 50% of those deaths involve human error according to the Smithers Rapra market report “The Future of Autonomous Vehicles and the Impact on Tire Markets to 2026.” Tires are a major component in the AD of the future since they maintain contact with the road. They will also contain various sensors to detect and report road conditions.
Continental’s CEO Elmar Degenhart explains: “Tires will become a key part of our sensor network in the car. On this basis, we are working on a complete system for anticipatory driving that is able to learn.”
Safety features will also be important on AD vehicles. For instance, run-flat tires will be standard on all autonomous vehicles. The report predicts tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) will be mandatory by 2026.
Source: Tire Review
Look ma, no air – future tires to be 3D printed from sustainable materials
According to Michelin, the worldwide recovery rate of tires is 70% and the recycling rate is 50%. Today, Michelin is investing in research to boost the recovery rate to 80%. They recently acquired Lehigh Technologies, specialists in high-technology micro powders created from recyclable tires. Michelin will expand their usage of micronized rubber products (MRPs). These products cut down on non-renewable materials like elastomers and carbon black.
Michelin launched the VISION program to develop a new type of tire. Their goal is to produce a 3D printed solid tire made of 100% recyclable materials.
The features of the VISION concept are:
- An airless tire made of bio-sourced and recycled products
- A connected eco-system within the tire, providing services and advice to the driver
- A bio-degradable tread that can be renewed with a 3D printer
Source: A Future VISION from Michelin
New tire technologies make a positive impact on the economy and the environment
Improvements in product design, testing, and simulation software boost the product design process. Auto and tire companies are developing products in shorter time cycles. Consumers are responding to more choices with higher spending. But unlike the industrial revolution companies are not polluting or destroying the environment. In fact, these renewable materials will have little impact on our fragile environment.
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Additional Tire and Science Resources
Digital Twin Workflows for Elastomer Durability
The Adaptive Corporation and Endurica recently hosted a discussion of recent tire testing and simulation developments. The Digital Twin add-on enables incremental/multi-step fatigue analysis workflows, as well as the calculation of remaining life.
The webinar includes a conceptual introduction to the analysis of multistep duty cycles, as well as practical applications including:
- Offshore Flexjoint
- Transmission Mount
- Tire Under FMVSS Durability Test Conditions