ERJ staff report (TP)
Hanover, Germany − The international jury of the Automotive Testing Technology International Award 2013 named Continental’s Contidrom, situated north of Hanover, the “Proving Ground of the Year 2013”.
Continental invested heavily in the development of its tires with a range of pioneering approaches and state of the art test facilities.
Among the key factors in the jury’s choice were the testing facilities offered by the Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer (AIBA), where the braking properties of up to 100,000 tires a year can be tested all-year round, in all weathers, on dry or wet surfaces and in fully-automated mode with no test driver involved.
The new facility is located in a hall 300 metres long and up to 30 metres wide, where a linear drive system can accelerate unmanned test vehicles to a top speed of 120 kph in just a few seconds. The braking manoeuvres take place on a variety of road surfaces provided by 75-metre sections of track which, despite weighing around 120 tonnes each, can be interchanged in a matter of minutes by hydraulic lifts.
Phil Morse, Principal of Energy Balance LLC, was among the experts on the independent Automotive Testing Technology International jury. He said: “With its ice testing facility and newly commissioned AIBA, Continental can interrogate tire performance on realistic surfaces from a vehicle dynamics perspective. This leads to better, safer tires – as well as a more efficient tire development process.”
“We are delighted at this accolade and very proud of it,” said Thomas Neddenriep who is responsible for Worldwide Tyre Property Evaluation at Continental. “As we see it, this award reflects the great expense and effort invested in recent years in expanding our proving grounds, in the construction of the Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer, and in the new buildings and facilities. At the same time, it is also a great source of motivation for the entire team, because the challenge we now face is of defending the position of the Contidrom as one of the world’s finest proving grounds in the years to come – in the best interests of our customers and of our own testing requirements.”
In the context of its long-term strategy, Continental’s Tyre Division is investing not only in the expansion of its worldwide production capacity but also in the systematic construction of high-tech facilities. The most recent step in this direction following the Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer was the announcement that a new Technology Centre for process optimisation and production of particularly demanding high-speed tires is to be built on the site of the tire plant in Korbach, Germany, at a cost of €40m. By 2018, output at the new facility is scheduled to have reached some 400,000 car tires in sizes between 19 and 23 inches.
The Automotive Testing Technology International Award for the best proving ground is presented annually. Within the expert community, nominations are submitted by readers and journalists who have been struck by the special testing opportunities offered by specific facilities. An initial selection process results in a shortlist that is subjected to a final appraisal by an independent jury.