Finnish Nokian Tyres gets the wheels turning in Spain
Finnish Nokian Tyres will start constructing an all-new technology centre in Spain early next year
The world’s northernmost tyre manufacturer is boosting its year-round product development by opening a new, versatile technology centre for summer and winter tyres in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain during 2017. This modern development centre will be located south of Madrid and it will span approximately 300 hectares. In the future, it will be especially used for testing summer tyres with high speed ratings as well as the characteristics of winter tyres.
The final construction of the centre will be finished in late 2019, but the first stage will be completed already during 2017. This new technology centre allows for year-round product development and testing on demanding and varying tracks. The benefits will also trickle down to ordinary drivers, as their tyres will be safer and offer excellent handling.
This new technology centre further strengthens the summer tyre expertise of the company that is known for its pioneering winter tyre technology. The value of the investment is approximately EUR 16 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2017.
A comprehensive centre featuring state-of-the-art technology
The technology centre utilises state-of-the-art technology and will include a 5-kilometre oval track that circles the area.
– This oval track with banked curves enables us to test our summer and winter tyres with high speed ratings at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph). There is a demand for tyres with a high speed rating especially in Central Europe and North America, the two areas where we are currently seeking strong growth, says Antti-Jussi Tähtinen, Vice President, Marketing and Communications for Nokian Tyres.
Other test tracks will also be constructed in the centre of the oval track. They can be used to study and test the behaviour of the tyres in terms of aquaplaning, wet braking and handling. The test track is also suitable for most tyre approval tests, such as noise testing.
“We wanted to find a place in Southern Europe with sunshine, warmth and hot temperatures. Naturally, the place would also need to have good air and road connections so that the tyres, cars, test personnel and customers can easily reach it. We also intend to use the technology center for organising product launch events,” Tähtinen says.
Ivalo Testing Center “White Hell” – The northern dimension of winter testing
Nokian Tyres uses over half of its R&D costs on testing products. Sufficient test results cannot be achieved under laboratory conditions alone. Nokian Tyres tests its products in real-life environments in order to make them work flawlessly under difficult, demanding and varying conditions.
The company is deeply rooted in the north. 80 years ago, it was the first company in the world to develop and manufacture winter tyres. The company dedicates half of its year to relentless winter tyre testing. North of the Arctic Circle, it has the enormous Ivalo Testing Center, or “White Hell” to its friends, spanning over 700 hectares. The company tests its tyres around the clock in the extreme conditions of Finnish Lapland, using over twenty test tracks. The Testing Center, established in 1986, compares the handling of the tyres on snow and ice and their acceleration and braking characteristics.
Nokia, the company’s home town in Finland, has the Nokia test track in addition to the headquarters and the Nokia factory. The advanced watering system allows for wet testing even on sunny days. The continuously developing testing centre utilises high-speed photography and slush-planing tests, for example.
A video on testing in summer can be seen here
A video on testing in winter can be seen here