The tyre designers work in close-knit teams alongside developers, technical pattern experts, compound developers and marketing experts to mention only the most important disciplines involved. But given that, at the end of the day, the tread pattern must satisfy very demanding technical criteria, just how much creative latitude do the designers have? At this point it becomes clear that industrial design is an integral part of new tyre development. It is a combination of design and performance requirements that determines what is possible in terms of optical variations of the tread pattern. While patterns are tested for performance in a number of development loops the design options are also taken into account.
Designs are often initially created with a pencil and a sketchpad. But IT soon comes into play and the sketches are converted into 3D CAD models for further processing. High-end computer simulations are then carried out to further optimize the tread patterns. And 3D printers are in daily use to obtain initial tactile models