Behind the Scenes at the Development labs of Continental Tires.
A new Continental tire has to pass through several sections of their R&D department before going into series production. The company say that Today, a tire product development process generally lasts between three and five years and involves many indoor and outdoor tests. Continental is now presenting the various labs involved as part of a detailed Information Book that provides an in-depth insight into tire development. It begins with the Mixing Lab, where the primary ingredient, i.e. rubber, is blended with various components according to exact recipes to replicate the characteristics of the future tire. This is followed by a look at the Compound Testing Lab, Special Labs, cutting workshop, and the test labs. Finally, exhaustive tire analysis and simulation methods are used to test future series-production tires in several stages.
The teams working in R&D test all new tire prototypes then simulate their performance in different driving situations. Continental says Virtual tire development holds great potential for fast, resource-efficient testing, especially when developing tires for electric vehicles. It enables a customer to combine a tire model with a vehicle model and then test it directly on a computer or driving simulator. It also allows new findings to be factored into the ongoing development process much more quickly. The tire experts can also tap into the huge network of specialists at Continental’s automotive division. “This allows us to increase our know-how and get prototype tires ready for market faster,” explains Andreas Schlenke, head of department at passenger car tires R&D. “The first-rate technical skill of our labs and the state-of-the-art technology used bear witness to our tire development expertise and our ability to implement requests from customers for new drive technologies in a quick, innovative way.”
The Information Book also includes QR codes that can be scanned to access an absorbing selection of photographic and video material. All the material can be found on the website.