This year’s Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence were announced last night (March 21, 2023) during an evening drinks reception at Hannover’s Deutsche Messe, which is hosting Tire Technology Expo 2023. The awards featured an expanded array of categories to recognize the scope of innovation and achievement that has been showcased over the last 12 months.
Now comprising 13 categories, the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence were a celebration of recent advances in tire technology and progress toward a greener and more sustainable industry, and a chance to acknowledge the personal achievements of some remarkable individuals.
The awards, which are coordinated by Tire Technology International magazine, were officiated by a panel of international journalists and industry experts.
To recognize the increasingly prominent role of sustainability in tire manufacturing, the new-look awards featured three categories focused on environmental development. Michelin’s 45% and 58% sustainable material tire designs picked up the award for Environmental Achievement of the Year – Tire Design; Continental’s invisible rubber marker technology was judged the winner in the Environmental Achievement of the Year – Manufacturing category; and Emissions Analytics’ EQUA Tyre database took home the trophy for Environmental Achievement of the Year – Industry Contribution.
Emissions Analytics founder and CEO Nick Molden was keen to champion the work of his colleagues. “We appreciate the award from Tire Technology International as a reflection of the team’s dedicated work on a topic that was previously of marginal policy interest, but which is now thrust into the limelight by the ever-growing weight of SUVs and battery-electric vehicles.”
Other new categories for 2023 included Chemicals and Compounding Innovation of the Year, which was won by Nynas’s Nytex BIO 6200 tire oil; and Materials Innovation of the Year, which saw the jury recognize Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ work on synthesized biopolymers. The good news continued for SRI in the category of R&D Breakthrough of the Year, which saw the tire maker awarded for its research into enzyme evaluation.
Goodyear picked up the award for Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year, thanks to its groundbreaking small-batch production process, used in its factory in Luxembourg. The Tire Industry Supplier of the Year award was presented to HF Group in recognition of its commitment to digital solutions and its excellent relationships across the industry. And there was more good news for Goodyear, as it also placed first in the Tire Concept of the Year category for its work on its 90% sustainable material tire design.
“Goodyear’s innovative spirit and drive for excellence helps us develop leading products and services that address our customers’ needs for today and tomorrow,” said Chris Helsel, senior vice president of global operations and chief technology officer for Goodyear. “Our teams are working on solutions and processes that have the potential to make driving safer, more efficient and more sustainable. We are excited to be recognized for this work and thank Tire Technology International for these esteemed awards.”
Hannover-based Continental was also back at the podium again to collect the Tire of the Year award for the PremiumContact 7, winning a hotly contested new category which looks set to see some fierce battles in coming years.
“Our commitment to performance, sustainability and safety runs right across our organization, and it’s fantastic that once again this has been recognized,” said Boris Mergell, head of research and development at Continental Tires, who accepted the awards in Hannover. “Winning awards for both our innovative technologies and products is a tremendous motivation for the entire team. At Continental we aim for safe, cost-effective and more sustainable mobility, while enabling vehicles to perform at their best.”
The prestigious Tire Manufacturer of the Year award remains one of the most fascinating categories, with the top tire makers separated by the finest of margins. This year, Michelin took home the prize, marking the sixth time that the French manufacturer has claimed top spot.
The Young Scientist Prize for 2023 was given to Agate Utane, a PhD student at Loughborough University. The award’s jury – which is separate to the 12 central categories – selected Agate and her work, ‘Efficient Tire-Road Friction Testing for Vehicle Handling Applications’.
As well as recognizing the impressive achievements of manufacturers and suppliers, the awards are an opportunity to highlight the achievements of remarkable individuals within the industry. One such individual is Jan Prins, winner of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement award. Nominated by many of his peers, Prins is a popular winner, and has enjoyed a highly successful career at Jaguar Land Rover since graduating from Delft University of Technology in 1990. A valued member of the tire awards jury in previous years, Prins recently began heading the judging panel for the Young Scientist Prize. His commitment to his work, and to the tire industry, as well as his relationships with his peers and colleagues, make him a worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award this year.
The newly expanded 2023 awards have served as a showcase for the incredible innovation evident across the industry.
“We felt we needed the ability to recognize and celebrate more aspects of this ever-expanding industry,” said Matt Ross, editor-in-chief of Tire Technology International and chairman of the awards. “Overhauling the categories gave us the chance to better acknowledge where the really exciting innovation is taking place. It enabled us to focus more on the environmental achievements being developed in multiple areas, and also to zero in on some areas of exciting R&D that didn’t perhaps fit our previous category structure. Judging by the caliber of this year’s shortlist, and the tough time the jury had in choosing their winners, we can expect some fascinating competitions in the coming years.”