Traditional subjective testing methods now enhanced by instrumental and more objective testing
The new Sweden Proving Ground (SPG) has the space and facilities to give Bridgestone the capability to use objective winter tyre testing, as conducted at the company’s state-of-the-art European summer tyre proving ground (EUPG), located in Aprilia, Italy - around 30 km South of the Technical Center Europe .
Precision of quantified testing
Objective testing measures vehicle movement quantitatively, enabling engineers to calculate the tyre grip force in contact with the frozen surface. The data provides the platform for much more precise tyre design.
“Our investment in SPG provides Bridgestone engineers with the data-driven analysis they need for class-leading winter tyre development” explains Fernando Baldoni, General Manager of Tire Research at Bridgestone Europe.
Traditional winter testing has been largely based on ‘subjective’ handling, supported by laboratory simulation and benchmarking, in which the test driver evaluated vehicle behavior. Typically, the driver allocated scores on a ‘feel’ basis for steering, cornering and overall grip for each tyre tested in any specific condition.
Contact forces identified
Objective testing measures vehicle handling quantitatively. GPS-based and optical sensors on the car relay data on the vehicle dynamics, which are simultaneously compared to actual steering angle information. Engineers can see longitudinal and lateral movements, yaw (spinning speed), and compare the tyre angle with the vehicle body angle. Subjective driver feeling is not excluded from the mix; it can provide valuable insights into understanding vehicle dynamics.
The result of this data-based approach is that engineers can understand vehicle behavior and analyse which parts of the tyre design work well, and which parts need improvement, based on quantified tyre forces on the frozen surface. The tyre-snow contact force can be measured, providing the essential ingredients for high-quality winter tyre design and development.
“Bridgestone’s winter proving ground is more than an icy test track… it’s an engineering centre at the heart of winter tyre technology development” says Fernando Baldoni.
About Bridgestone Europe
Bridgestone Europe (BSEU), with European headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, is a key regional subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of tyres and other rubber products. Bridgestone Europe operates an R&D center, 8 plants and offices in more than 30 European countries, with over 13,000 employees. BSEU’s premium tyres are sold both within Europe and globally.