SRI secures ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year’ prize at Tire Technology International Awards

Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd (SRI) – the parent company of Falken Tyres – has won the ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year: Manufacturing’ category at this year's Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence. Recognising the latest advances towards a greener and more sustainable industry, recipients are decided by a panel of experts from the tyre industry and science.

SRI’s ‘Performance Sustaining Technology’, which makes use of hydrogenated polymer to extend tyre life, was recognised at the event in Hannover, Germany, with the award presented to Dr Bernd Löwenhaupt, SRI Europe’s managing director.

The ‘Performance Sustaining Technology’ suppresses the tyre wear and natural degradation that occurs over time, allowing tyres to perform over a longer period. SRI used its ‘Tyre Leap AI Analysis’, an AI Technology and ‘Advanced 4D Nano Design’ to shed light on the molecular-level mechanisms that cause tyre to age. The innovation is a key pillar of Sumitomo and Falken’s ‘Smart Tyre Concept’ used to develop tyres and peripheral services to make gains in the safety and sustainability.

"We are very honoured to receive the ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year – Manufacturing’ award at the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence," says Dr Löwenhaupt. “With the support of the government and Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, which are promoting the use of hydrogen, SRI has driven this project forward with collaboration at its heart.

“Such a partnership has enabled us to begin producing Falken tyres at our plant in Shirakawa, in a climate-neutral way by using hydrogen in combination with natural energy generated by solar power. The vulcanisation process, a crucial step in tyre production, requires steam energy at high heat and pressure. Switching the energy source from natural gas to hydrogen was a major challenge for us, but we have been able to manufacture this way for more than a year.

“We are committed to our long-term sustainability policy and consider contributing to a carbon-neutral society an important issue,” concludes Löwenhaupt. “We will accelerate our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 supporting the realisation of a sustainable society."

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