The project focused on the complete vehicle including the truck and the trailer. Volvo developers, together with other key suppliers, have looked at many innovative solutions to meet the project’s targets.
Dr Christian Lerner, VP commercial tire technology, BU CVT, said, “Our work with Volvo on this particular project began around three years ago. Their aim was to increase the efficiency of the truck and trailer by 50%. We were asked to develop tires applicable for usage, but on a prototype basis, so we were able to use a combination of new and existing technologies.”
The concept tires are based on Continental’s Ecoliner rubber and are said to provide a 15-20% improvement in fuel efficiency thanks to greatly improved rolling resistance. “We have optimized the combination of different components in the tire such as the interaction between the profile and compounds,” noted Lerner.
In-house software was used to optimize the tire’s shape for low wear, to better understand new compound technologies and the working conditions and operating points in order to optimize the tire’s complete package. Several iteration loops of the whole truck and trailer equipped with the tires were also conducted virtually.
Lab testing consisted of endurance tests and pulley wheel tests to ensure the tire’s structural durability. The team also conducted a series of standard test runs to assess the tire’s noise, rolling resistance and load capability.
Lerner commented, “One of the biggest challenges of this project was to bring together all the key technologies into a standard production environment. Whenever we introduce new compounds we have to review the production line plant by plant, to establish where updates are required. We might require new dosing systems or special treatments in the mixing process, for example.
“We plan to use some of the technologies used in this project in serial production for our next generation of products.”
The Volvo truck was equipped with the Continental concept tires in sizes 315/70 R22.5 for both steer and drive axles, and the trailer was equipped with 385/55 R22.5 tires.
September 7, 2016