Falken’s grip-giving technology wins prestigious tyre industry accolade

Cutting-edge technology used in the development of Falken's tyre compounds has won the Tire Technology of the Year Award at the annual Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence 2017. Following deliberations by an independent panel of 27 international tyre industry experts, Advanced 4D Nano Design technology was announced as the winner of this prestigious award category, presented on 15th February 2017 at the Tire Technology Expo in Hannover, Germany. The use of Advanced 4D Nano Design technology has resulted in ground-breaking tyre compounds with improved traction and wear life as well as significantly reduced rolling resistance. Falken models developed courtesy of this high-end materials research include the range-topping AZENIS FK510, the AZENIS FK453 RUNFLAT and latest additions to Falken's commercial vehicle tyres, the LINAM VAN01, EUROWINTER VAN01, Nordic Winter Truck Tyre SI021/SI011 and regional traffic tyres RI151 and BI851. Developed by Falken's parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), the world's sixth largest tyre manufacturer, the pioneering Advanced 4D Nano Design technology enables engineers to perform highly realistic simulations of the complex internal structures and behaviors of rubber materials across multiple scales of magnitude simultaneously. It utilises the combined capabilities of the Spring-8 synchrotron radiation facility, which is able to analyse the internal structures of rubber; the J-PARC Proton Accelerator and Experimental Facility, which analyses the behaviour of molecules; and the K computer, which is one thousand times more powerful than typical supercomputers. The SRI-patented Advanced 4D Nano Design technology allows for accurate predictions of rubber material properties for simultaneous improvements across all three of the major contradictory performance traits: grip, fuel efficiency and wear resistance. It is the fifth time that SRI has been presented with a Tire Technology International Award: the ENASAVE 97 passenger tyre scooped the Tire Technology of the Year prize in 2008, with SRI's fourth-generation runflats receiving the accolade in 2010. It has also won the Environmental Achievement of the Year Award in 2009 and 2014. This year's Tire Technology of the Year Award was collected by Mr. Kozaburo Nakaseko, senior executive officer of Sumitomo Rubber Industries, who says: “We have made great progress in terms of material innovation and the development of new manufacturing processes. This in turn has paved the way for the development of such high-performance tyres as our Falken ECORUN A-A, which achieves the maximum A-A ranking under Europe's tyre labelling system, as well as durable, long- lasting performance technology. Further, utilising advanced research facilities on the cutting edge of super photon science and a world-class supercomputer for ongoing structural analysis of rubber materials, Sumitomo Rubber Industries will continue to accelerate research. This will further our understanding of the internal structures and phenomena of rubber in greater detail so that we may succeed in developing tyres with ever greater added value." Graham Heeps, editor of Tire Technology International and chairman of the judging panel, says: “With advances such as purified natural rubber and detailed simulation of the tyre's complex chemistry, experts at SRI have established an enviable reputation in tyre technology in the past few years. Advanced 4D Nano Design pushes the boundaries of tyre science: it sheds new light on how materials interact and opens the door to improved performance and new material developments. I can't wait to see what they come up with next." Mr. Nakaseko was joined on stage for the presentation by Dr. Masato Naito, manager of research and development headquarters at Sumitomo Rubber Industries, and Dr. Bernd Löwenhaupt, managing director of Sumitomo Rubber Europe GmbH. 2017 marks the tenth edition of the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence, the world's biggest celebration in the field of tyre development and manufacturing. Awards are presented in five main categories with the winners chosen by a strong panel of independent international experts in the field.