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The Self Inflating Tire (SIT), a new invention of Coda Development, has scooped the prestigious Tire Technology of the Year award at the Tire Technology Awards for Innovation and Excellence 2009, which were presented at Tire Technology Expo yesterday (February 18, 2009) in Hamburg, Germany.
Coda Development's Self Inflating Tire system is primarily designed to aid fuel economy and safety. As well as benefiting drivers through the elimination of unpopular pressure checks and inconvenient tire inflation, it helps to address the serious drawbacks of incorrect tire pressure.
SIT is an integral tire feature that uses atmospheric air to inflate the tire automatically when a vehicle is in motion, compensating for natural loss of pressure, and ensuring maintenance-free, constant tire pressure over the lifetime of the tire.
"It's a fantastic, beneficial technology, yet remains a simple, inexpensive solution designed to be manufacturer-friendly," says Adam Gavine, editor of Tire Technology International. "Production costs for incorporating this component will increase only marginally compared to regular tires, but the benefits the technology provides are considerable."
Coda Development, which is based in Prague, Czech Republic, plans to develop the system further into a proven production model in joint cooperation with partners from the automotive and tire industries.
The awards are organized in association with Tire Technology International magazine, which is published by UKIP Media & Events, sponsor of this year's Gala Dinner and awards ceremony.
The five categories are:
• Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year
• Environmental Achievement of the Year
• Tire Technology of the Year
• Tire Industry Supplier of the Year
• Manufacturer of the Year
VMI won the award for Tire Manufacturing and Design Innovation for its MAXX technology, a tire-building machine that operates quite differently to other technology. The device is a two-drum machine for radial car tires that works according to the single-stage building process. It combines a high level of flexibility with a substantially higher output and a better green tire quality, and can build tires in rim sizes from 13in to 24in.
The award for Environmental Achievement went to Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), which has embarked upon an ambitious medium-term strategy to start selling tires that include no petrochemical materials by 2013. In addition to their green ingredients, the tires will have optimal rolling-resistance characteristics. In 2008, SRI launched tires in which petrochemicals account for a mere 3% of raw materials, compared with 56% for its ordinary tire ranges. The remaining 97% consists of oil-free materials such as steel wires, vegetable oil, fibers from plant cellulose, and natural rubber. The 3% of petrochemical content will be replaced with natural alternatives to create anti-aging properties.
Standards Testing Laboratories (STL) scooped the Tire Industry Supplier of the Year award. A leading independent testing facility, STL has been expanding its capabilities for the tire industry. Its latest development has been to add equipment to perform SAE J2452 or rolling resistance coast-down tests in addition to SAE J1269 single-speed tests. This work is important for meeting future international regulations, as well as stringent California legislation.
The keenly contested Manufacturer of the Year award was won by Pirelli. Research was a key motivator for Pirelli in 2008, with the aim of creating innovative materials and ecological benefits. To progress these aims, Pirelli has teamed with two respected research institutions. An agreement signed between Pirelli's Silvio Tronchetti Provera Foundation and the University of Shandong in China will result in advances in ecological tire research.
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