Efficiency and sustainability lead the charge in the shortlisted nominations for the 2016 Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence, which have been revealed ahead of the prizegiving in Hanover, Germany, on February 17, when the winners will be announced.
Tire companies and suppliers’ efforts to make both the production process and tires themselves more environmentally friendly feature strongly among the finalists, who are being judged by a panel of 27 senior engineers, academics and other tire industry experts – the biggest panel in the awards’ history. In the Tire Technology of the Year category for example, Nokian’s remarkable Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tire for the BMW i3 scores an EU label ‘A’ grade for rolling resistance – the first time this has been achieved by a winter tire.
Among other highlights are two nominations for the resurgent Cooper Tire, which has been recognized for its work to advance the use of guayule natural rubber in tires, and for its strong financial performance in the past year. Joining Cooper on the shortlist for Tire Manufacturer of the Year is Korean company Nexen Tire, which has ambitious plans to increase its presence in the European and US markets.
“This year’s shortlist has real strength in depth,” commented Graham Heeps, editor of Tire Technology International and chairman of the judging panel. “Lower rolling resistance targets are driving the industry to new levels of sophistication and precision in the manufacture of tires. Parallel to this are moves toward greater efficiency and sustainability in tire production. All of these trends are reflected in our shortlisted nominees. We’re very much looking forward to revealing the winners at Tire Technology Expo’s new home of Hanover – a real hub of tire technology in Europe – on February 17.”
The shortlist in full:
Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year
Dream Factory extension – Cimcorp
5THR tangential mixer rotor – Kobe Steel
Slash calender – KraussMaffei Berstorff
Tire Sidewall Inspection Unit – Numetrix
Environmental Achievement of the Year
AquaJet – Water jet rubber recycling technology
Carbon Clean Tech – Recovered carbon black
ColorService – SAM-T dosing system
Cooper Tire – Advances in guayule natural rubber
Tire Technology of the Year
CrossClimate – Michelin
AirCell – Mitas
Hakkapeliitta R2 155/70R19 84Q – Nokian
High-speed rotating tire lateral stiffness measurement method – Yokohama
Tire Industry Supplier of the Year
Tire Manufacturer of the Year