A new tyre has to pass through several sections of Continental’s R&D department before it can go into series production. Today’s product development process generally lasts between three and five years and involves a host of 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 tyre development at the company. It begins with the Mixing Lab where the basic ingredient, i.e. rubber, is blended together with various components according to exact recipes in order to replicate the characteristics of the future tyre. This is followed by a look at the Compound Testing Lab, Special Labs, cutting workshop and finally the test labs. Exhaustive tyre analysis and simulation methods are used to test future series production tyres in several stages.
The teams working in R&D test all new tyre prototypes and simulate their performance in different driving situations. Virtual tyre development holds great potential for fast, resource-efficient testing, especially when it comes to developing tyres for electric vehicles. It enables a customer to combine a tyre model with a vehicle model and then test it directly on a computer or in a driving simulator, while also allowing new findings to be factored into the ongoing development process much more quickly. The tyre experts are also able to tap into the huge network of specialists at Continental’s automotive division. “This allows us to increase our know-how and get prototype tyres ready for market faster,” explains Andreas Schlenke, head of department at passenger car tyres R&D. “The first-rate technical skill of our labs and the state-of-the-art technology used bear witness to our tyre 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.