KOBE, Japan — Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) is claiming a breakthrough in rubber technology that it said will allow it to extend a tire's new performance characteristics longer into the tire's life.
The technology, dubbed "Tyre Leap AI Analysis," is an artificial intelligence-based development that SRI said leverages real-world data on tire raw materials together with advanced analytical data to allow its technicians to predict more accurately the properties of compounded rubber after use.
SRI said implementing this "groundbreaking" technology will allow it to accelerate the development of "Performance Sustaining Technology," a key component of its "Smart Tyre Concept," which foresees the development of high-performance tires that provide both safety and peace of mind.
Fundamentally, the technology looks at the structure of compounded rubber — which comprises a package of materials such as polymers (such as natural and synthetic rubber), reinforcing agents (such as carbon black and silica), crosslinking agents and additives— to evaluate the myriad "interlocking" factors related to the proportions of these various materials, the structures that they form in combination and so forth.
Up to now, SRI claims there were limits to what human beings can accomplish when it comes to analyzing the interlocking factors, both in terms of the time required for analysis and the precision of analysis results.
SRI said its Tyre Leap AI Analysis technology will use advanced AI-based analysis technology to analyze (for example) electron microscope imagery of tire rubber compounds in order to achieve high-precision analysis that far exceeds human capabilities, thereby making it possible to derive accurate estimates of rubber properties from structural data found in this imagery.
Meanwhile, combining data on the individual raw materials contained in a rubber compound with data on its internal structure allows for even more precise estimates of rubber properties, SRI said.
The new technology also is able to detect structural changes that occur during use by comparing used and unused rubber.