Engineering winter tires

Colmar-Berg ( Luxembourg ), October 8, 2014

Where are you going, if friends of yours have a child? Right, to where the child is born and not directly to the playground! The tire manufacturer Goodyear took to it now an example and put the new winter tires Ultra Grip 9 not in the high north of Europe on snow and ice, but in the innovation and development center in Colmar-Berg before. I followed the birth invitation to Luxembourg and was able to get an exclusive look behind the scenes of Goodyear.

Homemade studded tires

If earlier ?? until the early 1970s ?? Winter was approaching, took ( if any) many car owners their old tires and beat nails in the tread. Already you could with homemade spikes conquer snowy and icy roads. But the amateurish vice modelten tires also gave problems: Goods in places not covered by frozen water the streets, attended the incorporated nails for a miserable ride and a loud and sloppy rolling. Versatility is another way.

An untapped market

This point has been most motorists do not care because it was a cheap and simple solution for the cold season. But developers and engineers were aware of this problem and versatility recognized in particular, adapted to the winter tires a hitherto untapped market. Today's winter tires are inconspicuous and somewhat obvious, but the so-everyday black round things through a complicated, lengthy and costly development process.

60 million Winter gums

So the American company Goodyear Ultra Grip began with the series in 1971 to produce winter tires for Europe. Through continuous improvement of the tires until today more than 60 million winter rubber of the series have been sold. Now Goodyear makes the Ultra Grip 9 for family growth in the compact and mid-sized car tires segment.

A new winter tire is created

Once the needs and expectations of consumers identified and the performance characteristics of the tire were defined ( the Ultra Grip 9 are especially good braking, handling and traction characteristics on snow ), the designers create first base designs of the tire. These are the engineers in the fields of mixing, materials, production, chemistry and physics as starting points for their development and testing. There are around 3,000 prototypes manufactured in various designs and specifications. The top then go to extensive testing trips to Finland, France, New Zealand and Switzerland. 50 different criteria must undergo a new tire and meet at Goodyear.

Extensive test procedure

I can take a seat next to an in-house test driver. During my Luxembourgish pilot chases a breakneck over the test site, he told me casually, what is important in his travels: road noise and comfort to various substrates, braking performance on wet and dry roads, the maneuverability and handling, as well as the impression that the tire tread with its leaves. It objectively measurable results are as important as purely subjective driver. After 15 minutes, I also measured a subjective conclusion: nausea!

the result

After over two years of development, the current tire crystallized out in the form, structure and composition. Flexible, soft 2D sipes in the center tread provide traction on snow and ice. In the shoulder blocks, a large number of 3D sipes disposed. They engage each other, when forces act on the tread blocks ?? For example, when braking. In the central region of the tire, the tread blocks have different widths. This variable arrangement of the snow can be better pushed out of the lane. A new rubber compound ?? with new resins and first time with sunflower oil ?? to improve the traction at low temperatures. The oil keeps the tire beyond smoother for longer and in addition it is better to recycle.

I 'm going to test driver

To find out if ( so nicknamed ) puts the truth in all the praise about the " Snow King," I put myself behind the wheel of a 1.4 TSI Golf - test car. After several maneuvers at the limit on wet epoxy is clear to me: Yes, the development process was successful and the winter tires that makes what he is.

Emergency braking and circuit

That is all more work than simply ramming nails in an old tire, but it is necessary for these inconspicuous black round things can best establish a connection between driver and road. The Goodyear Ultra Grip 9 is now available in widths 155 to 205 mm for rims from 14 to 16 inches and with cross sections from 70 to 55 in a total of 30 versions. Go around 50 euro per tire . (ml)