Products for Car / Van / 4x4

R&D LABS

OUR R&D LABS

TYRE CHARACTERISTICS

One of the primary tasks of the Characteristics Indoor department as a DAkkS-accredited test laboratory is to measure and  verify a tyre's dynamic rolling resistance in line with the requirements of the EU Tyre Label. Similarly, to the energy efficiency  label for washing machines and refrigerators, the EU Tyre Label assigns ratings from A to E for the three tyre characteristics rolling resistance/fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise emission. These  label ratings have to be retested not only for each new generation of tyres but also for each available product size.

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There are around twenty different test methods for car and truck tyres which precisely analyse the forces arising during tyre operation up to the absolute load limit.

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These include laser measurement; distribution of forces on the tyre during travel using pressure measurement plates; numerous loads, camber and side slip angle tests (“force & moment”); as well as static tests for testing dissipation characteristics for electrical charges which build up during travel. Dissipation resistance testing is of huge safety significance since a moving vehicle can become statically charged as it travels. The tyres provide a connection to the ground here, acting as a kind of earthing cable. If, due to its construction, the tyre has inadequate electrostatic charge dissipation characteristics, uncontrolled static discharges may occur. Particularly the highly complex “force & moment” tests with various load, camber and side slip angle settings are very demanding and are carried out on a special flat belt test rig. All the other test series are performed on roller test rigs.

 

The department also works with manufacturers to develop test methods for new steering concepts such as multi-link axles or tests for self-driving vehicles.

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The “flat spot” test is also important to end users because it provides an indication of possible out-of-roundness after extended periods of standing, as may occur with the tyres of recreational vehicles such as camper vans. The “flat spot” phenomenon may, however, also occur after an extended period of high-speed motorway driving followed by a break during which the hot tread cools as the vehicle stands and the shape of the contact patch changes, after which the tyre may feel “out-of-round” until it gets back up to running temperature.


The main customers of the Characteristics Indoor department are all of Continental's internal R&D departments which constantly have to carry out material and structural testing as well as quality tests for OE customers. The department also works with manufacturers to develop test methods for new steering concepts such as multi-link axles or tests for self-driving vehicles. Hanover-Stöcken is not the only site to have a test lab of this kind, Continental has three others: one at the Puchov tyre plant in Slovakia, one in Petaling Jaya (malaysia), and the other in Uvalde, Texas (USA).