From a technology standpoint, the work that Nakaseko has been involved in at Sumitomo has pushed the boundaries of understanding regarding the interaction of reinforcing silica within rubber compounds.
The research leveraged the amazing capabilities of Japan`s Spring-8 synchrotron radiation facility to visualise filler-rubber interaction on a molecular scale. This has already led to the introduction of an advanced range of fuel-efficient tires on the market.
And in the battle for skills – an issue voiced by delegates and speakers during the two-day Future Tire conference – Nakaseko showed that the tire industry really is at the cutting edge of materials science and, as such, can attract the best young talent.
On the sustainability front, Nakaseko went on to detail another important innovation at Sumitomo, the development of ultra-pure natural rubber as an alternative to synthetic rubber in tires.
Above all, the presentation brought a new degree of openness to the tire industry, where the major players are traditionally extremely tight-lipped when it comes to revealing any details about their development work.
In Essen, Nakaseko’s insights into ground-breaking work at Sumitomo set a new standard for tire-makers in explaining research that will likely underpin tire technology in future.