Tire Technology Expo – the premier showcase for the global tire design, development and manufacturing industry – continues its spectacular growth of recent years. The 2017 event, held for the second time at the Deutsche Messe in Hannover in February, was the 17th since the show’s foundation and the biggest yet, with 280 exhibiting companies, more than 600 conference and course attendees, and a three-day visitor and delegate total that nudged the 5,000 level for the second year running.
“Remarkably, within 15 minutes of opening the doors on the first morning, it was obvious that Tire Technology Expo 2017 was going to be even better than our best-ever show in 2016,” said Tony Robinson, CEO of UKIP Media & Events and founder of Tire Technology Expo. “I’ve been delighted with the number of visitors from all over the world. The exhibitors were happy, but equally importantly, the visitors were very happy because the show was full of the latest technologies and materials that people are looking for.”
Visitor Jukka Koskinen, development manager at Nokian Heavy Tyres, said, “Every year I make time in my calendar to attend the show. I visited many companies that I was interested in and I made strong contacts – all the manufacturers were there and it’s easy to find out answers to any questions that we may have.”
Philippe Boone, engineering manager at Bridgestone, commented, “It’s good to investigate things in detail and discuss our concerns from the plant, because in this day and age we don’t really have much time to do this. We also attended the conference and it was an ideal opportunity to learn about where the industry is going.”
Exhibitors were delighted with the quality of the visitors stopping by their stands to check out the latest products, services and technologies. “We would like to build bridges between the additive manufacturing industries and the tire industry, and there was an excellent mix of people at the show, including customers, suppliers and R&D experts,” explained Augustin Niavas, business development manager at EOS.
“I was also a speaker in the conference,” Niavas continued. “I found it very exciting to learn what people are working on – I think we will definitely find a partner for additive manufacturing. I was also interested to learn about concepts of what tires will look like in 10 years and the challenges of the industry, such as how tires can contribute to the reduction of vehicle emissions.”
Exhibitor Frank Lueckgen, director for tire and specialty rubbers, global marketing of tires, Arlanxeo, said, “The combination of presentations and attendees was good – visitors were very diverse, from procurement to technical services and R&D. There were also many companies from all over the world, including the USA and Asia.
“This year we had more traffic to our stand and we engaged in some very fruitful discussions. It was particularly interesting for us to learn that many companies are working on new SSBRs, and this shows me where the manufacturers are heading. As a raw material supplier we believe we should be looking to work more with the equipment producers and we also had many discussions about this.”
Tire Technology Expo always plays host to important new product, technology and company announcements, and this year was no exception. Solvay took the wraps off its latest silica for tire manufacture, Premium SW. Winter tire test specialist, Test World, used its presentation to the Scientific and Technical Conference (joined this year by the new Business Strategy Conference) to preview the construction of three new indoor test tracks at its Ivalo, Finland proving ground. Mesnac subsidiary, TMSI, used the show to present its brand-new DFPM footprint measurement system, and Bartell Machinery Systems demonstrated its groundbreaking BeadView non-contact bead inspection system to expo visitors.
Important technology trends such as the use of virtual reality for plant planning and staff training, Industry 4.0 and the adoption of 3D printing for tire mould manufacture, also featured strongly in the exhibition. And the best that the tire industry has to offer was rewarded in the Tire Technology International Awards, presented at a Gala Dinner at the end of Day 2. Winners this year included Bridgestone, Continental and Sumitomo Rubber Industries.
Another visitor to the show, Mahmoud Assaad, senior R&D associate at Goodyear Tire & Rubber, commented, “It’s important to keep up with the latest and greatest technologies and to meet people face to face, because talking via the internet or on the phone is totally different. This year the show was bigger in general and there were more exhibitors – it met and exceeded my expectations.”