Ravenna, Ohio – Smithers Rapra has upgraded the treadwear testing capabilities at its Tire and Wheel Test Centre in Ravenna for expanding its ability to provide accurate and cost-effective indoor testing for passenger, light truck and commercial tires.
The upgrade encompasses new equipment and software that can run a variety of drive profiles while supporting benchmarking and development requirements, the company said, without disclosing its investment in the improvements.
"Our goal at Smithers is to provide our clients with the most expansive set of testing capabilities, while maintaining the most accurate results available in the marketplace," James Popio, vice president - North America, Smithers Rapra, said in a news release.
"As tread development continues to grow in importance, the market has been interested in finding more controlled and efficient ways of testing treadwear characteristics. We're excited to be one of the only third-party labs to provide this valuable service to tire companies and material suppliers moving forward."
Smithers' treadwear testing equipment can induce treadwear rapidly and consistently with a combination of city and highway driving conditions, the company said. Custom-drive profiles can be developed to match the particular conditions of a vehicle and course.
Among the new pieces of equipment is a Circumferential Tread Wear Imaging System (CTWIST) laser profilometer — produced by LS Starrett Co. — that is used to measure tread loss, usually at several mileage intervals during the test. Standard reporting includes a full scan of the tread, and documentation of irregular wear (e.g. heel-toe), wear rate and average tread loss across a meridian.
Smithers maintains that indoor treadwear testing provides a more controlled, consistent and efficient alternative to on-road testing, in terms of characterizing how a tire will wear. Indoor testing can also provide researchers with the ability to run wear studies that would be difficult or cost-prohibitive to perform on roads.
Smithers Rapra last upgraded its Ravenna facility in 2015 when it brought it in line for global tire rolling resistance standards.