Japan's Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has agreed to work with Bridgestone Corp. and Continental A.G. toward further development of ``support ring'' run-flat tire technology and help create a global standard for run-flats.
Japan-based Bridgestone and Germany's Continental began working together in mid 2002 on run-flat technology, agreeing to cooperate on two complementary run-flat systems the companies had developed independently. One is a self-supporting run-flat tire and the other the support ring system, which employs a light-weight metal ring inserted into the tire and helps hold the beads in place while providing load-bearing support.
Yokohama initially will work with Conti and Bridgestone on the support ring technology, obtaining a license from the two partners to produce the rings and develop the technology further, Bridgestone said.
Conti expects to put its support ring system into production by late 2002. It is designed to fit both passenger cars and sport-utility vehicles with higher-aspect-ratio tires. The support ring can be reused, subject to usage conditions, and it is suited for use on summer tires as well as winter tires.
Since Yokohama has its own self-supporting tire technology, it won't participate in that aspect of the Bridgestone-Conti collaboration, Bridgestone said.
Bridgestone and Continental said the addition of Yokohama as a partner will help speed up progress in establishing a global standard for run-flat systems. The companies have been negotiating their three-way collaboration since mid-2002, and their managements expect to conclude a formal agreement by year-end.