Tokyo – The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., announced on January 30 that it has built an indoor facility to test the performance of winter tires on ice. Located at Yokohama Rubber’s Tire Test Center of Hokkaido (TTCH) in Asahikawa City, the new facility began testing tires on January 5. The January 30 ceremony commemorating the facility’s opening was attended by special guests Masahito Nishikawa, the mayor of Asahikawa, and Hitoshi Yoneshima, CEO of Kishida Gumi Co., Ltd., the company that designed and built the facility. Representatives from Yokohama Rubber included Tadanobu Nagumo (Chairman and Representative Member of the Board) and Osamu Mikami (Member of the Board and Senior Managing Officer, President of Tire Business) and Masaki Noro (Member of the Board and Managing Officer, Chief Tire Technical Officer).
The TTCH was opened in December 2015 to expand Yokohama Rubber’s tire testing capacity in line with the global expansion of its tire business, and to introduce more sophisticated evaluation methods. The new indoor facility, featuring an ice track, further enhances TTCH’s testing capabilities. Compared to outdoor test courses, an indoor course is unaffected by such external factors as the weather and outdoor temperatures, and the ice track’s condition can be kept stable. As a result, the accuracy of test data can be improved, facilitating the development of more advanced technologies. The new facility’s size—total floor area of about 2,860 square meters, at 119m x 24m, and an 8.8m high ceiling (at highest point)—makes the indoor facility suitable for testing tires used on trucks and buses as well as passenger cars.
Yokohama Rubber has positioned its winter tires as its most important product for driving global growth and therefore aims to manufacture and supply the world’s best-performing winter tires. In addition to TTCH, Yokohama Rubber has a winter tire test course in Sweden—the Yokohama Test Center of Sweden (YTCS). TTCH tests Yokohama Rubber’s full lineup of winter tires sold around the world, while YTCS conducts additional tests to confirm the suitability and performance of YOKOHAMA tires to be sold in continental Europe, Russia and Northern Europe. Together, these two test facilities contribute to Yokohama Rubber’s development of winter tires most suitable to the winter road conditions in the country or region of use.
|Exterior view of new indoor test facility||Ice track of interior|
Building size: 119 meters long, 24 meters wide, 8.8 meters high (at highest point)
Total floor area: 2,859.6 square meters
Construction: Steel-framed single-story structure
Start of operations: January 5, 2018
Name: Tire Test Center of Hokkaido (TTCH)
Start of operations: December 2015
Location: 500 Kamiubun, Kamui-cho, Asahikawa City, Hokkaido Prefecture
Site area: 906,462 square meters
Tested products: Winter tires used on passenger cars, trucks and buses (also tests summer tires from spring to autumn)
Test courses: 1km-long straight snow track able conduct tests with cars running at speeds above 100kph, flat ice track, snow and ice hill track, snow and ice circles, and a handling track