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Bridgestone Brings Home Top Award: Manufacturer of the Year

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Bridgestone Brings Home Top Award: Manufacturer of the Year

The winners of this year’s Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence were named at a ceremony during the Tire Technology Expo 2016 in Hanover, Germany.

The awards are one of the highlights of the three-day event. Now in it’s 16th year, Tire Technology Expo has growth to become an expansive tire manufacturing technology exhibition and conference, with more than 260 exhibitors showcasing the latest equipment and materials covering the complete spectrum of the tire manufacturing process.

Bridgestone Corp. picked up the Tire Manufacturer of the Year award, recognized by the independent judging panel of tire technology experts for renewed investment in its research and development (R&D) and sustainable manufacturing programmes.

The company beat off competition from fellow finalists Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Nexen Tire Corp., marking the company's second win in this category, (the first was in 2008,) and the fifth trophy for the company in the awards' history.

Eduardo Minardi, executive chairman of Bridgestone EMEA said, “Everyone in Bridgestone is hugely proud to receive this recognition. R&D and innovation lie at the heart of all our activities; it is the only path that can lead us to a sustainable future.”

Graham Heeps, chairman of the judging panel and editor of Tire Technology International magazine said, “Many congratulations to Bridgestone, which has shown technological ambition in its work to advance the production of natural rubber from guayule, and in its plans to reorganize its research and development activities. Part of that reorganization will include increased collaboration with external companies.

"Bridgestone, like other tire makers, has recognized that future tires will demand innovations from outside the traditional tire industry, with materials and electronics as key areas of focus. It’s a welcome change in an industry sometimes characterised by a secretive, inward-looking approach.”

Nokian Tyres picked up the Tire Technology of the Year award for its Hakkapeliitta R2 155/70R19 winter tire for the BMW i3, which scored an EU label ‘A’ grade for rolling resistance, the first time this has been achieved by a winter tire.

“Nokian’s technology combines two of the most difficult-to-optimise functional performances of the tire and develops them into a unique product,” said judge Saied Taheri, director of the Center for Tire Research at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Juha Pirhonen, vice president R&D, Nokian Tyres, said, “We are really thankful for this significant award. We are proud to be able to offer more winter grip, more peace of mind and, in particular, more range to the ever-increasing number of electric car owners with our top-class Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tire.”

The Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year award went to the 5THR tangential mixer rotor from Kobe Steel Co. Ltd.. This special rotor enables existing tangential mixers to be converted to silica-rich compounds, instead of having to replace them with intermesh mixers.

“It took over six years to verify this rotor’s performances with lab equipment, computer simulation and production-size machines. This technology is already being operated with production machines, and it has been meeting its performance targets,” said Yasuaki Yamane, deputy general manager machinery business for Kobe Steel Co. Ltd.

The Environmental Achievement of the Year category was awarded to AquaJet for its water jet rubber recycling technology, which recycles used tires into material good enough to be reused in tire manufacture, beating competition from nominees including Carbon Clean Tech’s recovered carbon black, the SAM-T dosing system from ColorService and Cooper Tire’s advances in guayule natural rubber.

And finally, the Tire Industry Supplier of the Year award went to Mesnac, which has been runner-up in the category for the previous two years. The jury was impressed by the Chinese supplier’s commitment to R&D and its pioneering work in smart tire manufacturing.

For more information about the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence and the full shortlist and judging panel click here.

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