Passenger car tires assume the dynamic driving forces between the vehicle and the roadway. Winter tires should provide better grip and safety, both on dry and wet road surfaces, as well as in the event of snow or ice. That is why the development of winter tires is considered a “royal discipline” in the development of tires in general. The design changes in the new winter tires mainly affect the shape of the profiles, their distribution and the side of rotation.
Serious tests should be carried out before serial production begins and the capacity of new products under all weather conditions should be checked in detail. In order to run the track tests for this purpose, depending on their complexity, the newly developed profiles are cut into the tires manually or by cutting robots. The cost of producing such small series with the usual vulcanization methods would be too high, and their production would take considerable time. Speed is a decisive criterion in this respect.
Based on the drawings and the data generated by the computer that the cutters receive from the engineers, the model with the profile details of the new tires is shaped. Partial flat plane drawings are transferred to the untreated tires, creating the new blade model. The accurately developed patterns are complex and with different depths of incision and profile. With cutting blades that heavily depending on the profile line and the hardness of the materials, the tire specialists create the intended profile. In view of the type of tire, this may take a different time. With more sophisticated winter patterns, with different thickness and depth, the specialist can work up to 40 hours. In this respect, it must be extremely accurate, because even the slightest deviation from the instructions may lead to mistakes. Employees must learn to handle robots. In this respect there is a particularly competent way of thinking. On the other hand, they must have exceptional motor skills because there are incisions that the robots cannot carry out. For this reason, only special staff are involved.
The finished tires are placed on the vehicle, which is the only way to test them. Only after the results for the actual driving characteristics – such as, for example, braking, safety in the case of so-called “Aquaplaning”, show the desired and after the test drivers give their subjective opinion about their satisfaction with the reactions of the vehicle, serial production of the product can also be started. If this does not happen, the tire engineer must comply with the necessary changes, such as begin the cut of the new prototype.
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