HANOVER, Germany — Group Michelin and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. were honored at Tire Technology Expo 2019 as the top tire maker and top tire technology innovation, respectively.
Michelin was singled out for its environmental initiatives during 2108, especially for its commitment to 2048 sustainability targets, as well as for its product innovation work in areas such as tire-materials technology, according to comments made at the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence ceremony.
This marks the fourth time Michelin has won the honor in the 11-year history of the award. Other nominees were Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. and Sumitomo Rubber (SRI).
"Michelin has been driving the market with innovations and sustainability concepts for years," TTI awards judge Klaus Baltruschat, tire expert for TÜV Süd, said.
As examples, he cited environmental initiatives "such as (the use of) micronized rubber powder and clever tread pattern design that still delivers good performance even when close to being worn out."
Sumitomo took home the Tire Technology of the Year award for its sensing core development, which detects road conditions, tire load and other information without the use of direct sensors. Unlike camera or radar sensors, sensing core can calculate and detect friction, which is useful when confronted with hazards such as black ice and hydroplaning risk, the event organizers said.
The awards are given out by Tire Technology Magazine, based on the votes from an independent panel of 31 judges from many stakeholders in the tire industry.
Other corporate award winners included:
• Bridgestone — Environmental Achievement of the Year award for its high-strength rubber polymer, claimed to be the world's first polymer to bond rubber and resins at a molecular level.
• HF Group — Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year award for the company's TBM One machine, which is capable of producing tires with inflated or flat turn-up, as well as standard tire designs, among other features.
Test World / Millbrook Group — Tire Industry Supplier of the Year for its year-round tire and vehicle winter testing facility.
In addition, the event organizers honored Rudi Hein and Chidambaram Subramanian with Lifetime Achievement Award and Young Scientist Prize, respectively.
Mr. Hein was recognized for his 32-year career in special project teams at German car maker BMW A.G., particularly for his work on run-flat tire systems. He also spent a decade at Bridgestone as executive adviser on standards and regulations.
Mr. Subramanian is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Tire Research at Virginia Tech University; he was recognized for his research paper on road-surface classification using intelligent tires.