Yokohama Gets Ready for (Next) Winter with New Tire Test Track
Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. is already preparing for the 2016-2017 winter season -- not with tires, but with a new winter tire test track.
The tire company opened the Tire Test Center of Hokkaido (TTCH) in Asahikawa City, Japan, on Jan. 20. The opening ceremony was attended by the president of Yokohama, Hikomitsu Noji, and the mayor of Asahikawa, Masahito Nishikawa.
The TTCH is located on a 9.7-square-foot site that formerly was used as horse race track. Yokohama acquired the site in March 2015.
In addition to a 1km-long straight snow track (roughly .6 miles), the test course is equipped with the following:
* a flat ice track,
* a hill track,
* a snow and ice circle, and
* a handling track.
The course is able conduct tests with passenger cars running at speeds above 60 mph, as well as braking, starting and acceleration tests with trucks and buses on a variety of road conditions, including winding and sloped roads.
The TTCH is conveniently located just 15 minutes by car from the Asahikawa train station and 10 minutes from Asahikawa Airport.
Stable below freezing winter temperatures will enable Yokohama to test the performance of its winter tires under severe winter conditions from the end of December to the end of February. During the rest of the year, the company will use TTCH to test summer tires.
To date, Yokohama Rubber has tested its winter tires on self-owned courses in Japan and rented courses in Sweden. However, global expansion of the company’s tire business has increased the number of items that must be evaluated and required increasingly sophisticated evaluation methods.
Yokohama's winter tire testing needs have outgrown the capacity of its existing T*MARY (Takasu Motoring and Researching Yard) winter tire test course in Takasu Town, in Hokkaido’s Kamikawa County. The new TTCH facility is nearly four times the size of T*MARY.