Sumitomo Rubber Technology awarded tyre industry's highest prize

Results from Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd’s (SRI) research into producing a sustainable and reliable alternative to natural rubber from tomato enzymes, for future car tyre applications, have rewarded the company with the coveted 2023 "Tire Technology international Award for Innovation and Excellence".

SRI, Falken’s parent company, together with leading research institutions in Japan, have - over the past year - developed a process leading to further utilisation of natural rubber as a resource and therefore to the development of new rubber options also contributing to optimising general tyre properties. For this purpose, the researchers have identified part of a natural rubber synthase that plays an important role in controlling its polymer chain length. With this knowledge, it should be possible to produce a biomolecule that has better properties than natural rubber, allowing engineers to improve tyres further.

SRI also scooped the R&D Breakthrough of the Year Award, through which the jury recognises the benefits of research into a new technique to discover new key components of natural rubber, improving its yield.

The Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence rely on an independent judging panel of international journalists and industry experts, working to recognise the best new technologies and innovations from around the world and are considered the industry's highest honour. The award was presented to Dr Bernd Löwenhaupt, managing director of Sumitomo Rubber Europe GmbH, at the "Tire Technology International 2023" conference on 21st March 2023.

"We are very proud that our efforts to produce a sustainable and progressive tyre are being honoured in this exclusive setting," Dr. Bernd Löwenhaupt said. "With these awards, the jury also recognises our commitment to research and development, a process during which we may take other, at first glance unconventional paths, to get where we want to go."

This is the fifth time Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd has received the "Tire Technology of the Year Award", having previously been recognised by SRI for its "4th Generation Run-Flat Tire Technology" (2010), "Advanced 4D Nano Design New Materials Development Technology" (2017), "Sensing Core Technology" (2019), as well as last year (2022) for its "Performance Sustaining Technology".

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