Future Tire: Return on innovation

At the ERJ Future Tire Conference 2018, a top-line panel of experts from the European tire industry examined the challenges of a potential technology-led revolution for the industry over the coming years.

Cologne, Germany – How should tire makers adapt their manufacturing and market strategies to address the requirements and opportunities of the emerging digital era?

The question was the theme of an expert panel discussion, tag-lined Evolution or Revolution?, at this year’s ERJ Future Tire Conference in Cologne, Germany.

Philippe Lallement, who leads the tire electronics pre-development team at Michelin, took the discussion back to the very basics of tire-manufacture and to market fundamentals.

What is certain, he said, is that there will be a huge global population increase in the coming decades, with many more people requiring high levels of mobility from their cars.

This will mean “several tens of percent” of growth in tire demand over the coming decades, said Lallement, who is based at Michelin’s Centre de Technologie in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Such growth, he added, will increase pressure on the environment and the need to minimise fuel-consumption and the amount of materials used in tires.

“So how do you put less materials in the tires, while providing, at least, the same benefits including rolling resistance and fuel consumption?” asked Lallement. “Something has to be found so that we can preserve the financial [returns] and be able to continue to provide mobility.”

Unless the latest advances in tire technology contribute somehow to delivering that goal “the tire industry will be under deep pressure,” warned the Michelin executive.

Article published in the European Tire Report 2018, a supplement in the September / October issue of European Rubber Journal magazine

ERJ subscribers can read the full report here.  If you are not yet a subscriber to our print and online publications please click here.