Germany: Simulation technology as well as other efficiency measures are to help Continental AG achieve a 25% improved product performance by 2025, compared to a baseline of 2010.
In a keynote presentation at this year’s Future Tire Conference, held at the end of May in Cologne, Philipp Struck, head of Conti tire line development EMEA OE, said the 25:25:25 approach envisages 25% higher product performance compared to the 2010 baseline, while weight will be 25% lower, and delivery to market 25% faster.
“A performance feature that is important for us and especially for our future customers – which now includes diverse mobility groups or DMGs – is speed to market. They just expect us to be faster to market,” said Struck.
And to achieve the higher speed, Struck noted, improvements will be made in “the whole development and industrialisation process”.
To increase efficiency, Conti works towards increasing communication between customers, product management and R&D.
Mould delivery, for example, and how it can be sped up is an interesting topic for Conti, according to Struck.
Also, getting better testing technology, co-development for “on-target” production as well as optimising the supply chain are among other areas through which Conti will try to improve delivery to the market.
But one area that Struck was keen to point out was reducing time to market through simulation technology-based prototyping.
“In terms of R&D, we are looking at every step of tire development process. That means to include customer feedback in every stage of tire development,” pointed out the official.
With the increasing dominance of start-ups, innovative companies in new mobility areas – what Struck describes as DMGs – Conti is expected to deliver to the market “much faster than anything we’ve seen before”.
“What happens is that they [DMGs] do not have a strong background knowledge about tires, compared to more established companies, so they also change their mind a lot,” the official said.
This leads to a zigzag path until those companies figure out what they want, to the extent that even the tire size changes during the development of product.
“This is very unusual for a classic OEM, and this is where the need to speed up comes from,” he explained.
In response to that, Conti is focussing more strongly on simulation technology.
“We understand the demand [for simulation technology] within OEMS, and we don’t seem to be lacking in this area,” Struck noted.
While the technology doesn’t necessarily mean decreased number of lab tests, it can contribute to speeding up the development process.
“If you are good at predicting performance, you might not need to do three iterations of the prototype building and only need to do two,” Struck explained.
It is not just a computer time you are saving, it can be half a year or nine months you are saving here, Struck added.
This, said Struck, is the direction Conti wants to go.
“Having a process where we meet the customer targets precisely, with as little iterations as we need,” the official added.