The first Tire Technology Expo to be held in Hannover was a huge success. Now in its 15th year, the show was 20% bigger than in 2015.
“In total just over 4,500 people attended the show, breaking all previous records,” commented Tony Robinson, show founder and CEO of the organiser, UKI Media & Events. “Hannover proved to be a very successful location and the show returns there for at least the next two years, with a probable five-year plan for the venue currently being reviewed.”
Exhibitors and visitors were enthusiastic about the new venue. “We’ve had a lot of visitors and the organisation at the Messe has been very good,” said Alberto Ballabio, sales manager at exhibitor, Prodicon International. “We’re always happy with the show – it’s the place you have to be because everybody’s here.”“We’ve had 40% more visitors than last year, with interest from many of the world’s leading tire companies,” added fellow exhibitor, Johoon Heo, team manager at Hansung Sysco.
Among the visitors was Claudia Faymonville, an engineering project leader for tire plants at Goodyear in Luxembourg. “This is the best fair in Europe for the tire industry,” she said. “We appreciate that everybody is in one place, and it’s very easy to talk here because we are all tire industry professionals.”
With 262 exhibitors – another record – showcasing their products and services, a wealth of product debuts awaited visitors to the Deutsche Messe’s Halls 19 & 20, with technology and innovation the watchwords as always. Among the many highlights were the new LTM thickness measurement system by FACTS for steel cord and textile calendered fabric, as well as innerliner; GACZ’s new spring vents for tire sidewalls; the continuous liquid phase mixing process for silica/rubber masterbatch that was pioneered by conference speaker, Professor MJ Wang, and is being commercialised by exhibitor, Versalis; and the news that Saurer is developing a machine to produce hybrid yarns on an industrial scale.
“What we’ve taken from this show this year is that the market for high-level technology is increasing, which is very encouraging for us,” explained Jean-Marc Creuset, Saurer’s regional sales director. “More technically demanding customers help us develop our technology and maintain an edge over the competition.”
The accompanying conference and short courses also reached record levels of attendees, with delegates enjoying presentations that included one from Koji Takagi, the managing director of Bridgestone’s Technical Centre Europe, who revealed details of the company’s impressive new DriveGuard runflat tire for the aftermarket.
Bridgestone was also one of the winners at the Tire Technology International Awards, presented during a gala dinner at the end of Day 2 in a spectacular new venue: the Kuppelsaal at the Hannover Congress Centrum. For full details of all the 2016 award winners, click here.
Engineers from vehicle OEMs also visited Tire Technology Expo to discuss the latest concepts in tire development and testing. “For me, the main benefit of being here is the opportunity to network with other visitors,” said conference speaker Jan Prins, a technical specialist at Jaguar Land Rover. “I even posted on Facebook that for me this is the highlight of the year in the tire industry, because as far as we’re concerned, everyone that matters is here.”
“The booths and conference sessions provide a very good chance to find out about the state of the art,” offered Takashi Ando, an engineer with Honda R&D in Japan. “I have an interest in simulation and we have to look at what’s happening all over the world. Shows like this are a good boost to our technical development process.”
Plans are already advanced for Tire Technology Expo 2017, which is set to build on the success of this year’s event. The show will return to Hannover on 14-16 February 2017.
Visitors were treated to a raft of new product and service announcements on day two of Tire Technology Expo, with debuts and innovations in the tire machinery, inspection and materials sectors.
Czech Republic-based Gottschol Alcuilux CZ (GACZ) has revealed at Tire Technology Expo that it is set to top a record 2015 by further increasing its output of tire mould sipes and spring vents in 2016, by 30% and 20% respectively.
In a further development, some of the production of springs for the vents will be brought in-house for the first time, initially to increase the flexibility for small-batch runs for R&D use.
“We are very satisfied with the show,” said managing director, Frantisek Vitek, “We’ve been coming to Tire Technology Expo for 10 years, so we were very familiar with Cologne, but we think the new hall is better, and the location and its infrastructure are more convenient for exhibitors and visitors.”
GACZ has also revealed a new product at this year’s expo, a spring vent to replace the normal mini-vents in tire sidewall applications. The associated rubber ‘pins’ in the sidewall have been known to interfere with the sensors used in the latest automated parking functions on new vehicles, a problem eliminated by the use of spring vents in a difficult-to-manage area of the mould. Vitek said that samples of the new sidewall vents are now with customers for trials.
One of the many new product debuts at Tire Technology Expo is on display on BST Eltromat International’s stand, where the company is showcasing its new, high-tech CS 200 inline profilometer for quality inspection of rubber webs by laser triangulation.
The CS 200 profilometer has two sensor heads on the top and two on the underside of the material web, each of which projects laser lines onto the rubber material. As a result, this inspection system covers the whole range of measuring widths up to a maximum of 1,000mm, and can thus be used for full inspection in the production of tires not only for passenger cars, but also for trucks and agricultural vehicles.
“If tire makers don’t want to leave anything to chance in production, and no longer want to rely on controlling the quality of the rubber webs at individual points or randomly, the CS 200 inline profilometer is the quality assurance solution of choice for them,” said senior project manager Martin Ohlendorf.
BST Eltromat is also highlighting improvements in its CCD CAM 100 high-performance camera for web guiding and future inspection tasks. Machine operators are now guided step-by-step by the intuitive operating menu on the touchscreen monitor, making their work much easier. Also, thanks to the newly developed mechanical fine-adjustment system, all three axes of rotation of the CCD CAM 100 can be set independently of each other in just a few minutes.
The tire and speciality rubbers (TSR) business unit at Lanxess has introduced the company’s new functionalised SSBR and NdBR grades at Tire Technology Expo. As noted by tire and rubber specialist Dave Hardy, one approach for improving existing tire rubber compounds is identifying functionalised rubber that can help further optimise the interaction between polymer and fillers. Following the market launch of successfully functionalised SSBR rubber grades under the name Buna FX, a number of new variants are currently being tested at Lanxess.
This topic was also the subject of a discussion presented at the conference today by product developer Thomas Ruenzi. The presentation was titled In-chain and chain-end functionalised SSBR and NdBRs for green tire applications, and expressly moved beyond chain-end functionalised rubber to include variants with functional groups that are distributed along the polymer chain. By their very nature, Ruenzi explained, the density of potential anchor points in these rubber grades is higher than in the standard chain-end functionalised variants. In a complex study, Lanxess chemists ascertained the properties that silica compounds obtain from the new, differently functionalised SSBR rubber.
First-time exhibitor, Pneumofore, is turning a spotlight on its UV H vacuum pumps at Tire Technology Expo. “We are family owned and like to meet our customers face-to-face,” said company owner and president, Daniel Hilfiker.
Unlike the liquid-ring vacuum pumps typically used in the tire industry, the Pneumofore design is air-cooled and based on rotary vane technology. By eliminating the water consumption required by the usual pumps, the need for water chilling is also removed. This is claimed to result in a 40% energy saving compared with the liquid-ring alternative, resulting in substantially lower operating and lifecycle costs for the user.
The company already produces and supplies vacuum pumps to tire manufacturers including Goodyear, Bridgestone and Michelin for use in tire moulding applications, and expects the positive feedback from existing customers to generate further business. Pneumofore says its UV H pumps are noted for helping to speed up tire production and reduce defects. The company is also a major supplier to other industries, including glass moulding and vacuum packaging.
Apollo Vredestein Consulting is exhibiting at Tire Technology Expo this year to showcase its popular tire technology training courses for suppliers, which are run six times a year and updated annually with the latest developments. “We are very open with our course participants,” said project manager, Richard Engberson. “About 50% is learning theory from our experts in the classroom on topics like compounding or extrusion, and 50% is spent seeing the process – it’s a unique view ‘inside the kitchen’.”
Meanwhile, new curing presses and TBMs have raised the annual capacity at Apollo Vredestein’s Enschede factory in recent years from 5m to about 6.3m currently, with a further increase to around 7m on the way. That figure will be almost doubled by Apollo’s new Hungarian factory, due to start production in early 2017, which will have an output of around 6m PCR tires. The increase will pave the way for the company’s first OE fitments in Europe, which are due just under two years from now. An ‘OE readiness’ process is already under way at the company to ensure that the vehicle manufacturers’ requirements will be met. It’s thought that the first OE deliveries will come from Enschede, with production then moving to the new facility in Gyöngyöshalász, Hungary.
This is the first year that Trinseo has exhibited its wide range of rubber solutions at the show, including developments in its next-generation rubber portfolio. This provides new solutions to address multiple key tire properties, principally rolling resistance, wet and dry grip, improved abrasion resistance and good handling. Visitors to the stand are also learning about updates in the company’s neodymium BR (Nd-BR), which it is developing. Meanwhile, two of Trinseo’s key R&D leaders have presented recent findings in the development of functionalised synthetic rubber and high-cis polybutadiene rubber in conference presentations.
Trinseo’s global business director of synthetic rubber, Samer Al Jabi, is excited to be part of Tire Technology Expo, “Today, one of the most important trends we see come out of customer collaboration, and the market in general, is the need for more sustainable products,” he said. “Our development efforts are always in line with this market demand, especially in the field of sustainable transport. Tire Technology Expo is a great platform for us to showcase our R&D commitment to our customers. We are their partner in innovation, who designs and develops rubber technology to help them upgrade their lines of tires and address global trends and regulatory standards.”
Tire Technology Expo opened its doors today to its biggest audience ever.
It’s been a fantastic first day for Tire Technology Expo 2016, which opened its doors this morning at the Deutsche Messe, Hannover.
“We’ve used the words ‘bigger and better’ a few times over the years,” said Tony Robinson, show founder and CEO of the organiser, UKI Media & Events. “I expect people sometimes wonder whether the show really is bigger and better, but this year’s event is our biggest ever! We’ve increased its size by about 20% over 2015, with more exhibitors than we’ve ever had before – a total of 262 exhibiting companies.
“In the early days, it tended to be an exhibition for tire manufacturing machinery and equipment, whereas the conference was more about the chemicals, materials and science of tires. The biggest difference now is that it is a complete exhibition – the exhibitors represent the full range of chemicals, materials and other ‘tire ingredients’, as well as the machinery.
“This show is truly the biggest and best Tire Technology Expo that we’ve ever run – fantastic in scale, very busy from the minute we opened the doors this morning and with a really good conference and short courses going on, which have reached record levels of attendees.”
A packed conference room on the first morning enjoyed presentations from three keynote speakers: Professor M J Wang from the EVE Rubber Institute in China; Continental’s executive VP, Christian Kötz; and Koji Takagi, the managing director of Bridgestone’s Technical Centre Europe, who revealed details of the company’s impressive new DriveGuard runflat tire for the aftermarket.
Tire Technology Expo runs until Thursday, February 18 in halls 19 & 20 at the Deutsche Messe, Hannover, Germany. To register for a free exhibition pass, click here.
Test system specialist, Alfamation, is at Tire Technology Expo celebrating record growth. The Italian company’s revenue doubled in the fiscal year ending June 2015, and is on track for further growth in this, its 25th year in business. Its staff has also doubled in the past two years, from 30 to more than 60.
Alfamation’s patented Automatic Defect Recognition (ADR) software is proving particularly popular and is continuously being improved. A key feature is its ability to automatically convert pixels to millimetres on the x-ray images of finished tires. Sales manager, Carlo Rizzi, predicts that in the near future, software will become the most important part of any inspection system.
The company has also launched a new version of its x-ray machine, which offers 16-bit resolution. A single, standard Camera Link serial cable provides connectivity to a PC, replacing the previous parallel link. In addition, improved electronics have reduced the amount of noise in the data collected. The new machine reached the market in the spring of 2015 and has already been installed at a number of customers’ facilities.
Exhibiting this year in the enlarged chemicals and materials area of Tire Technology Expo, Stephenson Alkon Solutions is responding to increased demand for its premium powder anti-tacks for tire compounds. The Leeds, UK-based company has recently appointed a new sales and marketing director and expanded both its technical team and its product range to meet increased interest, particularly from Asia.
Stephenson has recently restarted its business in India with a new partnership put in place to succeed a joint-venture that had previously ended. The company already had its own distributor and warehouse in China, and has now added a new distributor covering southeast Asian markets such as Vietnam and Thailand. And although Leeds remains the hub for R&D and manufacturing for now, future investment in China or elsewhere in Asia is being considered: “To be competitive in those markets, you have to consider manufacturing there,” said product manager, Matt Payne.
Among many exhibitors revealing exciting new partnerships on Day 1 of Tire Technology Expo 2016, PPG has announced that the US Department of Energy (DoE) is providing funding to support a US$1.25m collaborative project with Bridgestone Americas. It will focus on improving the fuel efficiency of truck and bus radial tires using PPG’s Agilon performance silica.
The project’s goal is to deliver prototype tires to the DoE that help trucks and buses achieve fuel-efficiency improvements of 4-6% while maintaining or improving tear strength and tread wear. Research and development work for the project will be completed at PPG’s Monroeville, Pennsylvania, facility.
Anup Jain, PPG vice president, specialty coatings and materials, said, “We are excited to partner with Bridgestone on this important project. The DoE funding validates what our preliminary research has already shown – that Agilon performance silica has great potential as a next-generation filler to help increase truck tire fuel efficiency.”
FACTS has launched its LTM thickness measurement system, the latest in its broad portfolio of web thickness measurement systems, at Tire Technology Expo.
The LTM is said to accurately measure both steel cord and textile calendered fabric, as well as innerliner. Its post-calender scanner provides closed-loop thickness control and can be used alone or in conjunction with FACTS’ On Cal-3 on-calender gauges to provide the optimum control response and accuracy.
The company’s SME scanning thickness profile measurement system, along with the On Cal-3 and LE fixed-point thickness measurement gauges, are also being showcased. FACTS also has a full line of calendering peripherals such as automatic mill knives, servo trimming systems and servo-controlled low-profile bubble piercers.
Event partner, Rockwell Automation has disclosed details of its new collaboration with Michelin. It has been awarded a four-year contract to equip all the Michelin Group’s factories worldwide. This covers the installation of industrial automation, power, control, industrial software and services. The Michelin Group will use these solutions to gradually leverage performance of its industrial assets, and to design new capex machines.
“We’re honoured to receive this preferred partner agreement. It caps a 35-year relationship with Michelin marked by innovative collaboration. Thank you to Michelin for being a great customer and partner,” said Thomas Donato, Rockwell Automation’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Rockwell Automation’s global resource network includes an account team near Michelin’s headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and offices near Michelin plants in Greenville, South Carolina, and Shanghai, China. These support day-to-day operations and provide service to Michelin’s manufacturing facilities.