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R&D LABS

OUR R&D LABS

Tyre Design

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Three key factors come into play when it comes to designing  tread patterns  and sidewalls: firstly, new tyre models are usually successor products whose appearance must be different enough to emphasize the new and innovative aspects so they can set themselves apart from their predecessors. Secondly, the specific properties for the end user must be immediately apparent because this is helpful in presentations and sales situations. Thirdly, the design should make the tyre identifiable among competitor brands.

 

A five-person team at Hanover-Stöcken ensures that the tyres  are endowed with their characteristic design, while a colleague  in Fort Mill, South Carolina (USA) handles the market-specific development work. Two further tyre designers in Puchov (Slovakia)  complete the global team of industrial designers responsible for  all the group's brands and tyre types worldwide.

 

They may well be working on 30 to 40 products in parallel, since individual projects take an average of two to three years to come to fruition and each year Continental brings to market between 15 and 20 new and very different tyre models around the world.

Tyre_Design_2_R_D Kopie
Tyre_Design_1_R_D Kopie Kopie


 

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