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12:23 PM

Goodyear Winter Press Pack 2021 - Innovative ideas

When Goodyear first develops a new winter tire, it considers both its predecessor line as well as competitor products as benchmarks, but also explores how it can use its latest innovations to exceed the expectations of customers. The latest UltraGrip Performance+ tire range features key Goodyear innovations such as Traction Protect Technology, which includes a new resin to improve the tire’s deformation and reformation capabilities to better convert braking forces into grip. Another innovation, Winter Grip Technology carries a new compound mixture which leads to better rubber elasticity at low temperatures, increasing grip on both snow and ice.

To ensure Goodyear stays ahead of the curve when it comes to market trends, it looks at the ever-changing diversification of the vehicle market, but also continues to innovate. However, a delicate balance needs to be struck to include the important properties that a Goodyear winter tire needs and the latest innovations that the consumer demands, such as SoundComfort and RunOnFlat technologies.

“Every technology Goodyear introduces is for a specific property, but our winter tires are very compatible with these kinds of technologies,” Sebastien Morin, Head of EMEA Consumer Replacement Product Development at Goodyear, explains. “This means we are able to offer such innovations in the market without any trade-off to other properties.” Goodyear has huge winter tire experience and so can combine technologies such as RunOnFlat – tires that let you drive at up to 50mph/80kmh when they have no air – with the vital elements needed for a strong performing winter tire.

Winter Grip Technology

Goodyear’s Winter Grip Technology includes a compound which enhances rubber elasticity at low temperatures, giving increased grip on snow and ice. “We have some parameters, but the rubber, in terms of elasticity level, is really key to the range of temperatures it can deal with,” says Morin. “We design a rubber according to the applications – in winter for example, we set up these parameters quite differently to the summer, which is why they perform very well under 7°C. The level of stiffness and the elasticity of the compound is completely different to a set of summer tires to fit those specific winter conditions.”

Ice demands a different technology which has high flexibility at lower temperatures, and the technology of the compound is the key feature, along with the footprint. “Goodyear designs the tire cavity – the hollow space inside the tire itself – to have a specific footprint and pressure distribution,” explains Morin. “The ice grip technology is made with a specific tire cavity and footprint together with a compound that combines stiffness with other properties. However, the pattern and the sipes – the thin slits across the tire surface that improve traction in snowy, wet or icy conditions – also play a role.”

Traction Protect Technology

Compared to its predecessor, the new Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+ SUV winter tire has a 2% shorter braking performance in wet and dry conditions1as braking forces are transmitted into grip faster. Another specific science is needed in this instance. “SUVs have more weight, more torque and wider tires,” Morin says. “What is important to also take into account is that tire size plays a role in snow performance. If you look at motorsport, vehicles in series such as the World Rally Championship use thin, rather than big tires. Therefore SUVs might have a different tread pattern than other tires. 

“We arrange the blocks so the tire footprint is at the optimum level for the torque. Our mission is to make sure that the level of performance is optimum for this kind of application. Goodyear set up a specific cavity, compound and pattern for this application that can be different to the smaller sizes of tires for smaller cars.”

Mileage Plus Technology

An important feature of the UltraGrip Performance+ SUV tire is the Mileage Plus Technology2, which gives 13% higher mileage than its predecessor. This is because of its high tread elasticity which results in fewer fractures caused by rough road conditions.

“Goodyear pays particular attention to mileage technology and is really proud of the success it has generated,” Morin states. “Our level of compound technology is extremely high.” With its huge winter tire experience, Goodyear also created the all-season tire, and its strategy to focus on winter and all-season tires is not new. “Goodyear’s simulation capabilities provide us with the maximum time to finely tune properties that could fight against one another,” says Morin. “As we do not want any trade-off, we need to use the time to improve the performance, but not at the expense of another property.”

V-shaped tread grooves

V-shaped tread grooves are the most efficient at channeling water away for aquaplaning and improving the tire’s surface grip, Morin explains. “The V-shape starts in the center of the tire, extending to the shoulder or edge. This means any water in the center of the tire is evacuated quickly from the tire surface by the grooves as it rotates, reducing the risk of aquaplaning. It also improves traction on melting snow.”

Snow helps maximize grip

The capturing of snow within winter tire tread actually helps maximize grip on snowy surfaces. “Compared to a summer tire, on a winter tire, we decouple, or separate, the tread blocks,” says Morin. “We also have blades, or sipes, inside the blocks, which the snow goes into. The block has a geometry that acts like a crampon. Snow enters the sipes and the blocks move a little bit away. This gives longitudinal grip, but for side grip, Goodyear introduced curved blades. The blades used to be straight but now we have a technology that is similar to the famous plastic children’s building blocks. When you try to move two of these toy blocks, they are locked, and it’s the same phenomenon. As the tire rotates, snow enters the sipes, and they lock the tire to the road, helping with lateral grip.”

On-going innovation is preparing Goodyear for future mobility challenges. “We are really proud of the level of technology that we have today and what we will have tomorrow to ensure that we will be considered as one of the best options for car manufacturers and also for our customers,” says Morin.

Click here to read the rest of the Goodyear Winter Press Pack 2021, and for a range of images and infographics to download.

(1) Compared to predecessor UltraGrip Performance SUV

(2) Compared to predecessor UltraGrip Performance SUV