In a unique government/corporate partnership, Apollo Tyres has collaborated with the Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC) to establish the first of its kind test track in India.
In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the test track will be used for testing the wet grip of tires. Apollo Tyres provided the technical expertise to get the track ready for testing, as per standard specifications.
The creation of the test track is linked to the Indian government’s plan to implement a “star rating” of tires, in line with the tire labelling regulation in Europe. Its objective is to ensure safety, the economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting fuel-efficient and safe tires with low noise levels.
A new automotive industry standard, AIS 142, in line with UNECE R117, has been prepared. It comprises evaluation of tires with regards to rolling sound emissions, adhesion on wet surfaces and rolling resistance.
Satish Sharma, president, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), Apollo Tyres Ltd, said, “Being the leaders in the Indian tire industry, we would like to further the cause of testing the tires and provide highest quality tires to our customers across geographies. We proudly associated with GARC to create the first of its kind wet grip testing track, meeting UNECE R117 standards in India, thereby upping India’s self-sufficiency in tire technology. This facility will not only help us test the tires for the Indian market, but also the ones that are exported, and need to meet the labelling requirements.”
The major impediment to the government’s plan of implementing star ratings was the unavailability of approved test track facilities in India, to test and assess traction on wet surface or wet grip.
TUV Rheinland, facilitator for automotive homologation, has certified the compliance of the new test track in line with the stipulated conditions as in UNECE R117/ AIS 142. M V Ramachandran, officer on special duty, GARC Test Facilities, said, “The wet grip test facility of tires will help the tire, as well as the vehicle manufacturers, to evaluate the performance as per AIS-142 which is line with Rev4 of UNECE R117. This additional facility is possible with the continuous encouragement and support of the competent authority of NATRIP. The work done by the Vehicle Evaluation Department of GARC and Apollo Tyres’ test team toward fine-tuning the ABS track to meet the specific requirements, is highly laudable.”
GARC is one of the state-of-the-art centers established by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India (under NATRiP), located at Oragadam near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It has been authorized as the test agency under CMVR 126 by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Govt of India. GARC has full-fledged R&D and homologation test facilities, including the test tracks, to certify all categories of vehicles, systems and components as per national and international standards.
Daniele Lorenzetti, chief technology officer, Apollo tyres Ltd, commented, “The new wet grip track, developed by GARC and Apollo Tyres, shows a very good level of correlation with test tracks in Europe. This will enable Apollo Tyres to reduce time to market its products, along with the reduction in testing costs. We are further exploring opportunities to collaborate with NATRiP to enhance the testing capabilities to support the mid/long term challenges.”