Suzhou, China – Polymer testing and consulting firm Smithers has expanded its tire, wheel, and product testing operation in Suzhou, west of Shanghai, to support growth plans and ‘high-level services’ to global clients.
The operation has been moved into a new 7,200-square-metre building, which allows for “significant expansion of each testing group’s laboratory footprint,” Smithers announced 2 March.
At the new location, the size of the product testing lab has increased by 90%, with plans to invest in more testing equipment to further expand testing capabilities, the company added.
As part of this expansion, Smithers also added a new slip angle and camber angle tire durability machine to its Suzhou-based tire and wheel testing laboratory.
The new tire durability testing machine is able to provide dynamic camber angle and dynamic slip angle control from -5 degrees to 5 degrees, expanding the lab’s testing capabilities to meet the requirements of OEMs.
The new equipment has a maximum speed of 350km/h or 217m/h and a maximum testing load of 3,000kg.
The tire and wheel lab also expanded its IPLR chamber to accommodate truck and bus tires in addition to passenger and light truck tires, according to Smithers.
“This new space offers a significant opportunity for us to increase our service portfolio in support of our clients in Asia,” said Derek Read, VP Asia operations, materials science and engineering, Smithers.
“We are already working to determine the next steps of our plan to invest in additional testing capabilities,” he added.
The new facility also features classrooms and conference rooms to host industry partners and peers for onsite training.
Smithers established tire and wheel testing operations in Suzhou in 2011 to serve the Asian market.
The site's tire testing capabilities include endurance and high-speed tire testing, plunger/bead un-seat measurement, oven aged durability testing, rolling resistance testing, air permeation testing, government compliance, burst testing, footprint, and competitive benchmarking. Wheel testing capabilities include radial, rotary, impact, and corrosion.
The product testing laboratory in Suzhou was first opened in early 2019 and includes testing equipment for pressure, vibration, temperature and impulse.