TOKYO-Bridgestone Corp. said it has developed three technological innovations that will allow it to design improved performance tires quicker than possible with current production methods. The technological improvements gradually will be introduced to the U.S. replacement passenger tire market beginning next year, giving dealers a ``better product to sell to consumers,'' a Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. spokesman said.
Bridgestone said its new technology includes:
A comprehensive, computerized design method capable of optimizing performance characteristics while cutting design time by 20 to 50 percent.
The comprehensive tire design method allows designers to input an existing tire design and desired target performances-such as contour, pattern pitch sequence and material characteristics-into a computer, which then calculates and assesses several new designs. The process is repeated until the design meets the target performances.
The method will cut the design cost and time, allowing Bridgestone to bring more product introductions to market, the BFS spokesman said.
A new bead that hugs the rim tighter for rounder mounted tires and better straight-line driving stability. The tire bead was designed to reduce bead-rim gaps, which can throw a tire out of round and detract from straight-line-driving stability. To help eliminate uneven spacing between the bead and rim, Bridgestone created a convex bead heel that the company said provided a better rim fit.
A new carbon black compound that, when inserted in a tire's tread rubber, reduces rolling resistance while boosting tire wear. The new compound consists of longer chains of carbon black structures, Bridgestone said.
Together the improvements make ``possible a significant enhancement in the maneuverability, driving comfort and economy of a tire,'' Bridgestone said in announcing the technology Nov. 16.
Bridgestone will incorporate the design improvements in a summer tire to be introduced in Japan early next year. A new high performance tire incorporating the technology will be imported to the U.S. from Japan sometime during the 1995 first quarter, the BFS spokesman said.
Following those two tire introductions, the technology ``gradually'' will be introduced into future Bridgestone products both in the U.S. and overseas. Eventually, the improvements could be incorporated into Firestone products as well, the spokesman said. However, Bridgestone has yet to decide whether the technological improvements will be incorporated into its U.S. subsidiary's tire making plants.
``(U.S.) dealers won't see this technology immediately in their showrooms,'' the BFS spokesman cautioned. ``But it is certainly something they can look forward to (in the future).''