Nokian Tyres has invested heavily in a new, state-of-the-art test centre for Nokian Heavy Tyres, upgrading the testing capabilities to a new level with added automation and capacity. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many phases of the construction process were managed remotely. Source: Timberbiz
“This kind of flexible problem-solving has been typical for the whole construction project, and it has kept us on schedule. Hats off for the whole team that made it possible,” Nokian Development Manager Matti Kaunisto said.
In the tyre product development process, testing is essential as it proves (or disproves) the design calculations and gives important data back to designers. That’s why the new, 4000m
facility is a vast improvement in terms of testing quantity and quality.
“For example, the drum testing capacity grew significantly,” R&D Director Kalle Kaivonen from Nokian Heavy Tyres said.
“The product development and OEM collaboration are much more efficient. Thanks to the added capacity, the earlier bottlenecks in testing have been eliminated. And there is plenty of room for future investments still.”
Another important factor is testing quality.
“The new machinery enables us to gather more data and analyse it better, as the integration with the product development is more solid than before,” Mr Kaivonen said.
The purpose of the facility is to provide answers. The whole testing process from installation to measurements and 3D scanning, from pressure testing to section-cutting is optimized to provide quality data efficiently for different information needs.
“Different kinds of tests and analysis can be ordered by a product development team, customer service or by a machine manufacturer, for example,” Mr Kaivonen said. “We can provide them with extremely broad range of different analysis and in-depth information.”
Besides product development, the tyre testing facilities are needed for manufacturing quality control but also for customer service.
“In a rare occasion, there can be a tyre failure, abnormal noise or some such problem in the field that needs to be thoroughly figured out,” Mikko Pukkila from Nokian Heavy Tyres’ technical customer service said.
“In these cases, tyres can be inspected and analysed in the test centre. The feedback from the field gives us important understanding of the tyre lifecycle.”
In 2018, Nokian Heavy Tyres announced a massive undertaking: to increase the production of commercial tyres up to 50% and more than double the number of new products by investing heavily on production and product development. The total investment will be approximately EUR 70 million.