Hanover, Germany – Pirelli C & SpA, Versalis SA and start-up firm MegaRide were among the five winners of the Tire Technology International Awards 2018.
In a ceremony on 21 Feb, on the sidelines of Tire Technology Expo in Hanover, Pirelli was announced as the tire manufacturer of the year for its strategic focus on high-value premium products.
Pirelli’s award was also in recognition of a reorganisation that led to the creation of Prometeon from the industrial tire division and a stock market flotation and its R&D efforts.
In innovative technologies, MegaRide, led by Flavio Farroni and a spin-off from the University of Naples, won for its new modelling tools.
In 2015, Farroni secured TTI’s young scientist prize for his university research. In Hannover this year, he collected the tire technology of the year trophy for the two complementary tools ThermoRIDE and adheRIDE.
ThermoRIDE provides real-time data on temperature of different tire layers while ThermoRIDE calculates power dissipated in a polymeric material.
Last year, MegaRide issued its first thermoRIDE and adheRIDE software licences to top-level motorsport organisations and tire makers, including Audi Sport, Ducati and VI-grade.
Another Italian victory came in the shape of manufacturing innovation of the year, where Versalis SpA won the award for is butadiene di-block stereoregular polymers (BDSPs).
Versalis believes its new polymers will enable the preparation of compounds with improved properties, such as “tires usable to a high level in both summer and winter seasons”.
BDSPs have a structure that displays the properties of a thermoplastic elastomer without undergoing a cross-linking process.
According to Versalis. This results in products with non-cross-linked compounds which can be more easily recyclable.
Also, UK-based consulting company Smithers Rapra received recognition for its investments in both technology and expanded expertise over the last year, winning the tire industry supplier award. This includes the addition of new equipment and facilities at its sites in the US, UK and China.
In the tightest race at this year’s awards, Goodyear’s use of soybean oil in place of petroleum oil in a tread compound – which has gone on sale in the Assurance WeatherReady all-season tire.
The innovation edged out another tread compound project by PPG and the US DOE to use silica with natural rubber to reduce rolling resistance in a truck tire.
Lifetime achievement award went to scientist Ulf Sandberg, who is one of the world’s foremost experts on tire/road noise.
This year the young scientist prize was the most competitive yet, with 15 candidates in all. Corentin Hermange won the prize for his pioneering method for simulating the highly complex aquaplaning phenomenon, developed as part of his PhD thesis.