It’s awards season – the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and of course, the Tire Technology International Awards! While the Hollywood awards shows might be slightly more entertaining, the Tire Technology International Awards are actually pretty interesting, too.
The 2015 awards, coordinated by Tire Technology International magazine, were presented in Cologne, Germany in honor of innovation and excellence in tire development and manufacturing. The judging panel included industry experts from universities, research institutes, and top tire manufacturers worldwide.
Awards are presented in several categories – these are the ones that we found most interesting:
Tire Manufacturer of the Year: Michelin
Several recent, notable achievements that contributed to this award: Michelin launched the Premier A/S tire with EverGrip technology, announced that its Tweel airless tire would be original equipment on John Deere commercial lawnmowers, and became the sole tire supplier to the new Formula E racing series.
Environmental Achievement of the Year: Lehigh Technologies
Lehigh Technologies, based outside of Atlanta, won this award for their Micronized Rubber Powder (MRP). Lehigh pioneered a technique to turn scrap tires into MRP, which can be used again in the tire manufacturing process. Lehigh says that MRP offers up to 50% savings over new rubber and oil-based materials, and that every pound of MRP saves nearly a gallon of oil and 10 kilowatts of energy. Six of the world’s top ten tire companies currently use MRP in their tires, and more than 250 million tires have been manufactured using MRP.
Tire Technology of the Year: Michelin, EverGrip
Michelin launched its EverGrip technology in 2014 on the Premier A/S tire. EverGrip promotes long tire life and safety by combining a high-traction tread compound, expanding rain grooves that get wider as the tread wears, and new shoulder tread grooves that actually emerge as the tire wears.
Tire Industry Supplier of the Year: Versalis
Versalis, Italy’s largest chemical company, helps make sustainable products for the tire industry. One example is the company’s partnership with Yulex, a guayule producer. Guayule is a desert plant used to make natural rubber. Versalis’ knowledge of solvents and extraction techniques helps Yulex convert raw plant material into latex and resins for cleaner, greener tire production.
Young Scientist Prize: Dr. Flavio Farroni
Dr. Farroni, a postgraduate at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, collaborated with Ferrari to develop a tool that simulates how tires will perform on a different road surfaces. The technology is already being used by several automotive and tire companies.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Hans B Pacejka and Dr. Roger Williams
Professor Pacejka’s long and storied career began in the 1950s at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, where he developed the first 3D car model as a student. Other achievements included developing well-known mathematical tire models that can precisely predict the behavior of tires, based on multiple factors and conditions. (For this reason, Young Scientist Prize winner Dr. Flavio Farroni was very excited to meet Professor Pacejka at the awards ceremony!) Pacejka is retired from teaching but is working on the fourth edition of his book, Tire and Vehicle Dynamics.
Dr. Williams worked on many important initiatives during his time as former director of research at Dunlop Tire in the UK, including research and development of run flat tires, tire pressure monitoring systems, and the interaction between tires and road surfaces. He is the author of around 100 research papers and holds a dozen patents.