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Video: Toyo's Hawk — material science is 'absolutely critical'

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AKRON (Sept. 12, 2014) — James Hawk, chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc., paid tribute during his keynote address at this week's International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Akron to the technicians at his company, saying the work they do is "absolutely critical" to help Toyo meet evolving standards.  

“I appreciate everything that our technology people do,” Mr. Hawk told the ITEC audience. “The real key to what we do is design and material science. Material science today is incredible because it is right down to the molecular or the nano-technology level.

"The research is very, very significant, and I do everything to continue to support those efforts. With the new standards coming out from original equipment makers, this material science is absolutely critical.”

Mr. Hawk, a 40-year tire industry veteran who oversees Toyo’s only tire manufacturing operation in the U.S., located in White, Ga., discussed upcoming regulations that tire manufacturers will need to stay ahead of, and the importance of advanced technology and material science.

Mr. Hawk, the 2013 Rubber & Plastics News Executive of the Year, said fuel economy initiatives are only going to get stricter, and car companies have their agenda from the federal government that trickles down to tire manufacturers. That is true particularly for new hybrid models.

“Rolling resistance is a major, major criterion now, and it’s not just throwing silica or sand in the treads,” Mr. Hawk said. “It’s element analysis, mold shapes and designs at the molecular level. That’s a lot of good work that’s work going on in our industry, and it will pay off in better fuel mileage.”

Mr. Hawk outlined Toyo’s U.S. manufacturing capabilities in White, which are based on Toyo's Advanced Tire Operation Modules — a proprietary process that allows for hands-free manufacturing, which yields a highly repeatable rate.

The firm’s White facility operates 34 ATOM machines, which can produce seven to eight tires at a time. Its latest expansion is projected to bring the total to about 40 machines.

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Story based on reporting by Chris Sweeney, Rubber & Plastics News