India-based JK Tyre & Industries set up a state-of-the-art R&D center, the Raghupati Singhania Centre of Excellence (RPSCOE) in Mysuru, in 2018 and the company has further plans to procure additional equipment to further ramp up its R&D infrastructure. The Mysuru test facility houses laboratories for tire testing, ranging from static to highly dynamic tests, and also has the capability to conduct regulatory through to performance level tests. Tire Technology International spoke to Dr Rabindra Mukhopadhyay, director, R&D, JK Tyre & Industries, to find out more about the company’s new capabilities.
With the facility capable of carrying out tests to national and international standards such as AIS, ECE and SASO, Mukhopadhyay highlighted, “The rolling resistance measurement facility is aligned with European reference laboratory to carry out RR test as per R117 and obtained Candidate Laboratory status. We are continuously upgrading our test facilities that includes modernization of existing equipment and new equipment to meet the emerging needs of OEMs.”
Though JK’s facility is fully equipped with measurement instruments and test engineers, the company also uses state-owned testing centers under NATRiP (National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project) across India for vehicle level evaluation, as per OEMs’ and its own requirement to perform both subjective and objective vehicle level tests (NVH and vehicle dynamics). “We are also exploring possibilities to develop dedicated test track or joining hands with established test track agencies to cater to our outdoor test requirements,” said Mukhopadhyay.
The tire maker also performs product performance evaluation test at overseas facilities. “We use overseas testing facilities extensively for various product applications, like Finland- and New Zealand-based sites to develop winter tires. We will shortly debut ultra-high-performance tires, and ATP Germany’s test tracks for conducting high-speed test, crossing 300 km/h, are being used,” noted Mukhopadhyay.
“Similarly, for our various requirements and certifications, Idiada facilities in Spain and China are regularly being used. In addition, for UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading), we also use Smithers’ testing laboratories in the USA. We consider it as an ongoing activity and it is prudent to utilize international facilities based on the needs.”
Commenting on trends in the Indian tire sector, Mukhopadhyay added, “In the current technology arena, a major and continuous improvement is happening in terms of simulation and predictive technology as well as sensors and connected mobility technology. Therefore, with the development in the infrastructure, automobile industry and the expectations of customers, there will be continuous improvements in this field.”