New technologies improve efficiencies in tire manufacturing: New Smithers Rapra report details key trends

curata__XrJcdR2FZOFq1w2.png

The need for more automation and faster size changes in tires over the last couple of decades has led to an industry manufacturing transformation. This transformation has changed factory design and driven changes in tire building machines, process equipment and tires themselves. Some changes are the result of regulations, heightened OEM and consumer performance requirements, and new tire materials. These improvements in tire manufacturing and others are detailed in the new Smithers Rapra market report The Future of Tire Manufacturing to 2024.

Improvements in manufacturing processes have been ongoing since the first tire factories and have accelerated over the last decade – spurred by the increased focus on environmental issues. The construction of new factories will help meet growing demand and handle new equipment more easily. Advances in automation have also helped significantly, although there are still significant savings to be realized, as well as increasing environmental regulations with which to comply. These together mean that improvements in manufacturing efficiencies will continue to be a focus for tire companies.

Developments affecting tire plants and manufacturing processes are as diverse as the penetration of new vehicle powertrains, logistical burdens, emergence of new markets, mergers and acquisitions, and the increased value and scarcity of real estate.

Regional developments

Tire demand and industry growth are driving manufacturing expansion at both the regional and global level. Distribution of tire manufacturing capacity and production across the major regions of the world is shaped by local tire demand from OEM and replacement market customers and favorable costs of the production factors.

Tire manufacturers tend to establish local factories in their most important sales areas, most recently focusing on Asia, according to The Future of Tire Manufacturing to 2024. The reverse is also happening with Asian producers setting up production close to customers they consider important, such as US-based OEMs. For this reason North American tire manufacturing is showing growth while the mature European market with lose share over the coming five years. Raw material prices are very similar all over the world, but labor and energy costs vary by region or country.

Tire demand drives manufacturing

Global tire demand is the ultimate driver of tire manufacturing, with both vehicles in use generating ongoing tire wear and replacement needs, and new vehicle sales requiring OEM tires to be fitted. Overall global tire demand is expected to grow 4% per year in unit terms in 2019-24.

The global tire industry as measured by tonnage of production is estimated to be 19.25 million tons in 2019, and is anticipated to grow at a 3.4% compound annual growth rate through 2024, to 22.75 million tons.

 

This growth is being driven and shaped by a variety of economic, technology and regulatory, demographic and consumer trends at the global, regional and national level, including alternative powertrains and autonomous vehicles, improvement in materials including sustainable substitutes and changing customer requirements like greater fuel efficiency with reduced emissions. There is a continuing high-performance trend towards larger OEM tire sizes/rim diameters, as well as ongoing pressure on automakers to meet emissions and fuel economy standards for individual vehicles as well as fleets, while tire companies adapt to consumer labelling schemes in Europe and increasingly, elsewhere.

Influence of vehicle mix and design

Trends in both conventional and emerging segments of motor vehicles have a critical influence on tires requirements and manufacturing, requiring a lot of planning and flexibility. For instance, a continuing shift towards light trucks away from passenger cars in developed markets coexists with growth in developing markets in entry level vehicle segments. The shifts at the OEM level have been underway for years, as seen by the continuing high growth of higher performance vehicles as well as eco-friendly vehicles and fleets.

Changes in tire types and design

A tire’s key required or desirable characteristics include safety, reliability, wet and dry traction, snow performance/wet performance, handling, high rolling efficiency, noise and life (miles)/longevity. New tire developments are constantly occurring, and there are substantial changes every year. Tire attributes in flux include tread/shape, material types and material chemistry, among others, and that does not even include the many concept tires.

Tire makers have made their primary commitment to produce ever more technically advanced tires (e.g. with sensors to measure tread depth, temperature and provide real-time alerts to drivers), run-flat tires including self-sealing tires, self-inflating tires, air-free tire  technologies, and reduced noise or noise-dampening tire technology (important for quiet electric vehicles).

Technology impact on tire manufacturing to produce these technically advance tires includes new molds, laser carving tools, new test equipment (especially for noise), as well as material changes such as different resins, silicas, and aramid fiber.

EV tire requirements

Use of electric vehicles (EVs) is on the rise and one obvious effect of the uptake of electric powertrains is the increased complexity of tire varieties. This includes the further SKU (stocking unit) proliferation from increased variation in OE tire types and sizes. Tire wear concerns with EVs make higher wear resistance critical, since traditional tires wear 30% faster on EVs than on conventional vehicles.

EV tires require optimized footprint shape and contact pressure distribution to avoid irregular wear. Maximizing battery range requires continued reduction of rolling resistance, and the additional weight of EVs may require even lighter weight tires. Quiet electric vehicles require emphasis on noise reduction on top of existing pressure from labeling schemes.

AV tire evolution

Many EV tire changes also apply to autonomous vehicles (likely to be all or mostly electric), but the introduction and spread of autonomous driving means that further changes are emerging and will have to be scaled up alongside more traditional manufacturing.

Tire sensing and communication capabilities are emerging at OE and aftermarket levels. Various types of tire condition and wear sensors and intelligent tires are in development, with some approaching market readiness in advance of the big future shift to autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous self-steering cars will mean that tire-vehicle communication becomes more important meaning tire sensors will be needed. Connected tires will contribute to road sensing, vehicle operation, and predictive maintenance (wear/damage sensing).

Emphasis on low noise and high ride quality will increase. Reliability requirements may be higher, increasing potential market for run-flat tires and eventual non-pneumatics. As AVs become the norm, the light vehicle tire may characterized by their tall and skinny shape (for aerodynamics and other attributes), sensor technology, no speed rating (driving speeds will be programmed and limited), better ride and less NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), ultra low rolling resistance (improving fuel economy), possible run-flat technology (if it can be lightweight enough) and labeling for compatibility.

For more information about the Smithers Rapra market report “The Future of Tire Manufacturing”, visit: https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/the-future-of-tire-manufacturing-to-2024

Janine Young is a career b2b communications professional with a background in trade journalism, corporate communications and public relations. She is a member of the Smithers Rapra reports and consultancy team that publishes market reports for members of the tire and rubber industries. She is editor of the Smithers Report, a subscription news service that focuses on tire and rubber industry trends and technology.

Read the source article at smithersrapra.com

Smithers Rapra to host webinar on tire components

Brad Wurst, a technical consultant at Smithers Rapra, will deliver a webinar on radial tire components on Wednesday, May 8. The webinar, titled ‘Tire Components 101: A Comprehensive Overview of the Building Blocks of a Radial Tire’, will take place at 11:00am and will last roughly an hour.

Read the source article at Tire Technology International

Growth of EVs will influence tire design, manufacturing

curata__rAzPSFHenr1jlBu.jpeg

HANOVER, Germany — As the electrification of vehicles continues to make strides during the next decade, there will be a significant impact on the design and production of tires.

That’s the conclusion researchers from Smithers Rapra came away with in doing a research on “The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to YR2028,” a paper presented by Bruce Lambillotte, vice president of technical consulting, during the recent Tire Technology Expo 2019 in Hanover.

 

Read the source article at Tire Business

Sustainability trends and government regulation driving green tire development

curata__IjMRRdxK2bzBjja.jpeg

The green tire industry, composed of low rolling resistance (LRR) tires as well as those emerging from ‘green’ (sustainable) materials, is a fast-growing part of the tire industry. The rapid growth of the sector is partly due to growth in the tire market itself, but mainly due to society’s increased interest in sustainability.

The global green tire market is estimated by Smithers Rapra to be $81.6 billion in 2018, which would put it at around 38% of the global tire industry as a whole. Smithers’ Future of Green Tires to 2023 market report forecasts growth of nearly 11% per year in value and volume through 2023, when value will reach $137 billion.

Green tire market high level forecast by value 2013-2023

 

Sustainable tire technologies

The main driver of the global tire market is the growing middle classes and the resulting increase in vehicle ownership in the emerging economies, particularly Asia. Growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the limited availability of natural resources to meet the demands of expanding numbers of consumers are forcing industry to meet government and market demands for more sustainable products like green tires.

As a result, tire makers are pressing forward with sustainable tire technologies, including use of renewable rubbers that perform equal or better than traditional rubber. Many tire makers have entered strategic partnerships with government, researchers and bio technologies companies to advance their efforts to develop renewable rubber on a commercial scale.

 

Government regulations and economic drivers

Drivers of adoption of green tires are regulatory with increasing pressure on vehicle makers to reduce vehicle emissions and meet rising fuel economy targets. This pressure is driving development of LLR tires and their growing OE market penetration. Growth of alternative vehicle powertrains (hybrid and electric), as well as the evolution to shared/fleet vehicle use, and autonomous vehicles are pushing green tire adoption with continued gains in rolling resistance reduction a requirement.

The replacement market for green tires has also grown through better consumer education and awareness provided by the European Union’s consumer tire labelling scheme that rates tire rolling resistance and other performance variables.

 

Key materials for green tires

Green tires are optimized to achieve the lowest possible rolling resistance by means of fillers such as highly dispersible silica (HD silica or HDS), improved carbon blacks or nanotechnology. HD silicas are playing an important role in green tire material consumption, but improvements in elastomers (e.g. functionalized) and fillers (carbon black) and other inputs such as oils and fabrics are also important.

Rising in tandem with green tire unit demand, raw materials consumption for green tires demand is estimated at over 17.8 million tons in 2018, growing to 29 million in 2023, according to Smithers Rapra’s “Future of Green Tires to 2023” market report. Elastomers, fillers and fabrics are the dominant categories by weight, and growth will be led by sustainable ones such as natural rubber and rayon fabric, with synthetic rubbers showing the least growth.

 

Green tire market materials consumption 2013-2023 by volume (‘000 tons)

 

Biobased rubber for greener tires

Biosourcing of synthetic rubbers and other ingredients, the expansion of natural rubber availability, and biological alternatives to natural rubber are key areas of attention too. In the area of biorubber, Cooper Tire and Rubber and its consortium partners, including Clemson University, Cornell University, PanAridus and the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, completed a five-year $6.9 million Biomass R&D Initiative (BRDI) grant called “Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule” in 2017.

The grant team studied the feasibility of using guayule in tires versus Hevea natural rubber and produced concept passenger car tires in which all natural and synthetic rubber was replaced by guayule-based natural rubber. Cooper says it could use guayule rubber in tire production tomorrow if enough material was available to meet its production needs at a competitive price.

 

The electric and autonomous vehicle market

Hybrid and electric vehicles are a natural market fit for green tires. Besides being naturally aligned, the requirements of these vehicles, such as high torque and acceleration, and the need for maximized energy efficiency to extend battery range, will increasingly place demands on tire makers. Drivers of these vehicles are also more likely to stay with LRR tires when replacing them, regardless of price.

Tire development for autonomous vehicles will be increasingly focused on reduced rolling resistance and high reliability. There will be closer attention paid to non-pneumatic and intelligent tire options that eliminate or manage tire pressure and reliability issues.

 

Market challenges

There are other aspects of the green tire market that make it attractive, as well as challenging. The availability and pricing of natural, synthetic and biosourced materials can be unpredictable, and it is not clear how quickly many of the greener technology options can progress from concepts and pilots to commercial scale.

All of the major tire companies are committed to green tires, although rates of market uptake vary depending on local regulations and preferences. The drive to reduce emissions, improve fuel efficiency and accommodate new transportation models is shared by governments and tire companies alike.

For more information from Smithers Rapra on the green tire market, visit https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/green-tires-to-2023.

 

Smithers to open new product testing lab in China

SUZHOU, China—Smithers Rapra will open a new 4,000-sq.-ft. product testing laboratory in Suzhou.

The facility will provide air leak and burst, cleanliness, material properties, salt spray and pressure, vibration and temperature testing, according to a Smithers news release.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Smithers Rapra introduces rubber compounding webinar series

curata__8dxo27kNidF9Wkf.jpeg

AKRON — Smithers Rapra will run a free four-part series on rubber compounding led by Christine Domer, general manager of Smithers’ analytical and physical testing labs.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Smithers Rapra: Motorcycle tire demand spurred by trends in emerging markets and technology

curata__IjMRRdxK2bzBjja.jpeg

Rising incomes in emerging markets have led to the rapid growth of motorcycle ownership, particularly in Asia, resulting in a strong increase in motorcycle tire sales. Growth is being driven by the increasing number of households in industrializing regions that are now able to afford motorcycles.

Motorcycle tire market demand is estimated to rise to $19.4 billion in 2023, representing an annual compound growth of 6.5% from $14.2 billion in 2018, according to Smithers Rapra data.

In the report The Future of Motorcycle Tires to 2023, Smithers Rapra attributes growth to rising living standards, urbanization and mobility improvements, demographics, and technological changes. Those with disposable income are showing growing interest in motorcycles, including electric and self-balancing models and other new technologies.

The highest growth is seen in the Asia-Pacific region, driven by China and India. Data shows that by 2023, Asia-Pacific’s region share will be over 16 million units. Japan-based multinational companies such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha dominate the two-wheeler sector’s world market.

Trends in mobility

The evolution of mobility and transportation technologies, along with road conditions, play a role in customer preferences, driving patterns, tire wear, and ultimately motorcycle and tire design.

The role of motorcycle tires is complex, and they must satisfy performance and safety parameters depending on the application and type of motorcycle. There is extreme variation of motorcycle tire types depending on vehicle characteristics, intended driving surfaces, and tire construction.

Evolving tire construction

Developments in tire materials continue to include new compounds, as well as a greater range of compounds, to optimize the attributes most required by industry and to better target tires to applications, according to Smithers Rapra.

Among performance and safety attributes, grip remains the most important and is still being improved even as other attributes compete for attention. A trend towards a richer silica content is ongoing, owing to the importance of grip. Carbon black is also important, with the grades used in motorcycle tires similar to those used in ultra-high-performance and race car tires. Traditionally, all motorcycle tires were bias ply. A clear trend for motorcycles up to 400cc is the increased use of radial tires, especially seen in Asia and South America where they are equipped on more sporty motorcycles.

The impact of electrification

Electrification will initiate further tire evolution, as will the requirements of motorcycle connectivity and progressive automation, leading eventually to ‘smart’ tires. Tires will be expected to have sensors measuring and reporting pressure, temperature, grip, road surface conditions, and tire wear/condition.

Smithers Rapra market report The Future of Motorcycle Tires to 2023 offers in-depth analysis of  the economic demand and growth of the global motorcycle tire market from 2018-2023, and cutting-edge technology developments in materials, components, design, and safety attributes.

Read the source article at smithersrapra.com

Tire industry should prepare to adapt to automotive trends

curata__BsXXAsZJqp0yCWU.png

Akron, Ohio – The tire industry needs to continue to adapt as autonomous and electric vehicles become more popular, according to Jim Popio, vice president of operations in North America for Smithers Rapra.

Popio focused on developments driven in the automotive industry by ACES, or autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles in his presentation at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Akron 11-13 Sept.

Jim Popio, vice president of operations in North America for…

Read the source article at European Rubber Journal

Consumer and retail trends driving growth of tire market e-commerce

curata__IjMRRdxK2bzBjja.jpeg

E-commerce has been a key business disruptor across all industries and is forcing change, innovation and growth in the tire market. Still relatively new to the business-to-consumer replacement tire market, online tire sales sites have become significant for consumer research into tire types, attributes, reviews, pricing and availability. This trend and the expansion of e-commerce in general are leading to growth in online sales of tires, according to a new Smithers Rapra report, The Future of E-commerce for Tire Markets to 2023. (TRAC Members receive 15 per cent discount).

Across major tire market segments and geographic regions, the number of B2C replacement tires purchased online is estimated by Smithers Rapra at nearly 100 million units in 2018, or about 6.5% of the global market. This is expected to rise by an average of almost 19% per year to over 236 million in 2023, when the share will be nearly 13%.

 

E-commerce tire sales channel market 2015-23, by volume (million units)

 

Source: Smithers Rapra

 

Value growth will be somewhat higher, at 19.7% per year CAGR, from $7.1 billion in 2018 to $17.3 billion in 2023, faster than unit growth and reflecting modest price increases. While a degree of price competition within the online channel and versus offline retail will continue, the convergence of online and offline channels and the increasing importance of user experience relative to price will support higher prices in the channel over time.

End-use applications

Reflecting the numbers of vehicles in use, rates of tire replacement and rates of e-commerce penetration, the passenger car and light truck (light vehicles) segment is by far the largest, at 81% of volume in 2018, followed by motorcycles (12%) and then medium and heavy trucks and buses (7%). Light vehicles have been and remain dominant in absolute value and volume terms. In unit terms, motorcycles are a distant second, but in value terms, medium- and heavy duty trucks and buses are the next most important, although a much smaller segment.

Trends driving e-commerce tire sales

 

Consumer behaviour

Consumer preferences are ultimately the main market drivers for tire e-commerce with technology and retail developments enabling the change. Consumer behaviour and retail trends behind the uptake of e-commerce in tires include price sensitivity, reduced brand loyalty, time sensitivity and, increasingly, a desire for an omni-channel, which blends features of online and offline channels (already the case to some extent due to tire installation requirements).

Fitment proliferation

Fitment proliferation, the increasing number of available tire sizes, is also contributing to the growth of tires sales via the internet. This has been driven in part by the increase in rim diameters and the greater use of high-performance tires as OEM fitments, which is putting a strain on physical showroom and inventory space. E-commerce options help retailers and customers alike with education and availability. 

Growing economies and emerging markets

General economic and demographic growth serve as top drivers for tire e-commerce. B2C replacement tire e-commerce was initially a phenomenon of developed markets, led by Western Europe, followed by the US, which still enjoy the highest penetration rates. However, Asia-Pacific has already become the largest in unit terms and is on track to pass Europe in value terms during the forecast period, due to its large population and rapidly growing tire market (mostly motorcycle tires). Greater internet penetration and e-commerce readiness in developing markets are fueling the expansion of online tire sales. Very rapid growth will come from Eastern European countries and emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil, where levels of e-commerce penetration and vehicle density are comparatively low and growing.

For more information on the Smithers Rapra market report The Future of E-commerce for Tire Markets, visit https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/the-future-of-e-commerce-for-tire-markets-to-2023

Rapid EV growth to 2028 will drive changes in tires, new Smithers Rapra report says

curata__IjMRRdxK2bzBjja.jpeg

As part of the biggest automotive industry disruption in recent history, tire makers are increasingly focusing their business strategies on serving the electric vehicle market.  Electric vehicles (EVs) will make up a relatively small part of new vehicle sales and an even smaller part of the global vehicle park by 2028, but the segment is still exhibit dynamic growth.

In its market report The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to 2028which is scheduled for release in October, Smithers Rapra estimates the number of EV passenger and light goods vehicles and the EV truck and bus segment will grow to nearly 432 million units with a CAGR of 35% over 2018-2028. This same segment is forecasted to reach nearly $33 million in value. Passenger car/light goods vehicles are forecasted to drive most of this volume and value growth.

As a baseline for comparison, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that there were over 750,000 new Battery Electronic Vehicle (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) registrations around the globe in 2016.

Smithers’ research into regional development shows that China will be by far the biggest electric vehicle market due to government policies to reduce pollution and dependence on imported oil. Most importantly, China’s government desires to dominate the industry.

Tires for hybrid vehicles will have more emphasis on low rolling resistance. Tires for plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) and especially for BEVs will need to handle greater torque generated by the battery, extra battery weight and the requirement for reduced cabin noise. Vehicle weight distribution is also likely to be significantly different, which can affect tire design.

The main drivers for tires to enhance EVs include fuel efficiency, grip, load bearing, wear, noise and vibration, overall property balance, air retention, and puncture resistance. Fuel efficiency is the most important issue. By 2025 US CAFE standards for passenger cars/light goods vehicles and trucks and buses indicate targeted MPG for car fleets should be an average 54.5. In comparison, OEMs are focused on long-range EVs that provide 200 or more miles on a single charge.

Current market influencing trends on EVs and tire development include reducing CO2 emissions, the speed of technological change, the increasing affluence and growth of the middle class in emerging/BRIC markets, urbanization, and aging populations. Also important is the greater use of sustainable materials in tire construction, increased emphasis on recycling, and growing fleet operation.

The Smithers Rapra market report The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to 2028offers in-depth analysis of the growing electric vehicle market and its influence on tire development and manufacturing.

Smithers Rapra estimates for the next 10 years the strongest growth for Mild Hybrid quickly followed by BEVs for the passenger car/light goods vehicles plus the truck and bus segment