Investment reflects strategic importance of winter tyres in Bridgestone product range
Bridgestone has confirmed the long term lease on its Swedish Proving Ground (SPG), which is located at Vidsel, less than 100 km from the Arctic Circle. The facility provides the company with an exclusive winter tyre testing facility for 14 to 17 weeks a year.
“Winter tyres are one of Bridgestone’s strategic product pillars in Europe and the sophisticated and efficient testing of winter tyre technology is essential to our future plans” says Franco Annunziato, CEO, Bridgestone Europe.
The proving ground has the space and equipment to conduct both subjective and quantitative objective testing, providing Bridgestone engineers with data-driven analysis for tyre development. Facilities consist of a range of tracks for testing ice and snow performance of passenger car, van, truck and bus tyres. Two snow handling circuits and flat snow tracks of 1380m and 550m are complemented by a high-speed track, an ice handling circuit, a snow and ice circle, and a hill track.
Weather units and sensors monitor air and surface temperatures and conditions and relay the information on-screen to offices on the site. Five snow canons and a water supply system produce artificial snow if required.
Team of engineers
Indoor facilities consist of a garage fully equipped for mounting all types of winter tyres and checking wheel alignment, a warehouse cold room at outside temperature with a capacity of 2500 tyres, and office facilities comprising engineers’ work rooms, a conference room and resting quarters for operators and guests.
During the SPG testing season from November to the end of March, Bridgestone maintains a multinational team of 7 to 9 engineers, technicians and drivers from its Technical Center Europe (TCE) in Italy. Tyre fitters and track maintenance staff are employed locally.
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.