Tyre manufacturer Apollo Tyres inaugurated its advanced tyre testing facility at the Global R&D centre situated in its Chennai PCR plant on December 7. Cutting-edge technologies such as an imported Flat-trac machine, uniformity machine and an Anechoic Chamber are designed to help Apollo Tyres reduce new product development cycle times. The custom additions to the R&D centre would help characterise the performance dynamics and acoustic properties for both the OE replacement segment tyres and high-end passenger vehicle and electric vehicle tyres.
The advanced R&D centre will focus on developing products that align with the manufacturer’s goals of providing low total cost of ownership, high-mileage, fuel-efficiency and durability. Daniele Lorenzetti, Chief Technology Officer, Apollo Tyres pointed out that the R&D centre utilises smart development technologies such as simulation and virtual prototyping that help in understanding vehicle dynamics. The second stage is predictive testing of a product and the newly installed Flat-trac and Anechoic Chamber will enable that capability.
The Flat-trac machine, which is a key component of Advanced Tyre Testing, is used to characterise handling parameters and tyre models, measuring force and moment (F&M) properties of tyres, as per the vehicle’s dynamics. This machine is custom designed to address the tyre simulation needs of future vehicles, such as EVs and autonomous vehicles. For example, the torque stress that a tyre undergoes in an EV, incompariosn to an ICE vehicle are very different. These are accurately predicted and articulated by the machine.
Flat-trac machine at Apollo’s Global R&D Asia Centre in Chennai.
The machine replicates real-life situations, including emergency manoeuvres of vehicles such as high slip angles and high torque ramp-up. For two-wheelers, it simulates the most severe inclinations, as prevalent amongst premium motorcycle riders.
Uniformity machine and Anechoic Chamber:
The High-Speed Uniformity machine has been combined with the Anechoic Chamber at the Global R&D centre. This helps simulate the NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) properties of the tyres, which are especially critical for EVs and premium vehicles. The machine combines the study of both mechanical and acoustic comfort parameters, by building different road profiles for the tyres to be tested.
High-Speed Uniformity machine inside the Anechoic Chamber.
“We strongly focus on continuous improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of product development, and this new facility will further augment our testing capabilities for future vehicle models. We will be able to fine-tune the performance of our products by simulating closely to real-world conditions using this facility. This is aligned with Apollo Tyres’ 2026 vision, of which Technology is a key pillar.” Lorenzetti adds.
Daniele Lorenzetti, Chief Technology Officer, Apollo Tyres.
Apollo Tyres recently launched its Amperion range of EV-specific tyres, one of the unique features of Amperion tyres is the foam technology that is used in them to reduce cavity noise. Similarly, the R&D centre has been working on other add-ons and smart solutions such as TPMS and RFID analytics for fleet owners. It is also focused on sustainability solutions through bio-sourcing and recycling of raw materials.
On the sustainability front, Lorenzetti said, “Our target is to achieve 40 percent uptake of sustainable materials in all our products by 2030.” Augmenting testing procedures further helps in bringing down the carbon impact of every new product’s R&D.
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