Toyo Tires Group to Use its Proprietary Technology to Meet the World’s Most Stringent Requirements in Europe
Relationship between Rolling Resistance and Wet Grip Performance
More and more countries and regions are introducing new laws and systems requiring better fuel efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions from automobiles in the midst of changing climate, population increase in developing countries, and a need for more mobility resulting from economic expansion.
The role of tires is also becoming more important in improving fuel efficiency. Reducing the friction (rolling resistance) between tires and road surface will allow tires to roll easier so that vehicles can run further with same amount of fuel. Less friction means better fuel efficiency, but this generally means a weaker grip, lowering the tires’ ability to stop. This makes a big difference especially on wet roads. When designing fuel efficient tires, we must maintain good wet grip while reducing rolling resistance.
In Japan, the industry established a self-regulated “labeling system” in 2010 with ratings for rolling resistance and wet grip performance. Only tires that meet certain ratings in both categories can be labeled “fuel efficient”.
In Europe, there is a strict regulation requiring all tires for passenger vehicles sold within the EU to be labeled with ratings for rolling resistance, wet grip, and noise levels since 2012. Starting in 2018, companies will no longer be able to manufacture any tires for the EU if they do not meet certain level of performance in these categories.
At Toyo Tire & Rubber, we continue to improve our overall technical capabilities by designing high-performance tires for the European market with most stringent requirements. We can improve the standards in other countries and regions by making these high-performance tires available to the rest of the world.
The Labeling System in Japan (left) and in the EU (right).
Developing “Nano Balance Technology” through Technical Innovations
Our company has been working on advancing our proprietary tire design platform technologies such as “Nano Balance Technology”, a rubber materials design platform technology developed in 2011, and “T-Mode”, a simulation technology developed in 2000 that can analyze both tire performance and vehicle’s motion.
Nano Balance Technology was drastically improved in 2016 to enable us to design tires with even better performance. Nano Balance Technology allows us to evaluate rubber at the molecular level (Nano-level Research/Observation), simulate performance (Nano-level Analysis/Prediction), design functionalities (Nano-level Material Design), and produce rubber with a precise control (Nano-level Production Control). This enables us to develop ideal rubber for high-performance tires. Nano Balance Technology enabled us to create our flagship brand of fuel-efficient tires, “NANOENERGY”, and improve the fuel efficiency of other tires for passenger and commercial vehicles.
With an advancement of Nano-level Research/Observation, we are able to accurately observe internal structure and deformation of rubber and study what happens and how energy is lost when tires touch the road surface while moving. It also enabled us to create a simulation model that can closely replicate actual rubber composition and measure tires’ rolling resistance and grip performance.
We are able to design and produce raw materials at Nano-level with a precise control so we can deliver high performance, high quality tires.
Technology that shows the impact that uneven road surface has on rubber’s internal structure (Nano-level Research/Observation)
Simulation Technology that Measures Viscoelasticity of Rubber
Simultaneously Achieving Excellent Rolling Resistance and Wet Grip Performance
“PROXES Sport” is our premium sport tire that was released in Europe and Japan in 2017. They are made with new formulation of rubber materials developed using advanced “Nano Balance Technology” to achieve superior rolling resistance and wet grip performance.
We were able to analyze road contact pressure on tires and evenly distribute the pressure. This improved wet grip performance (reduced breaking distance) by 7% compared to our existing products (PROXES T1Sport) and obtained “a” rating, the highest wet-grip rating per the Japanese labeling system, in all tire sizes. We reduced the rolling resistance by 23% compared to our existing products. The tires offer superior performance in other areas such as better dry and wet handling, comfort, and longevity. These performance characteristics are all necessary in high-end sport tires.
Performance comparison on tire labels