Smithers Rapra breaks ground on tire testing facility expansion

30 years after the original Force and Moment partnership was born, Smithers and six tire industry partners are taking cooperation to the next level by investing in a new MTS Flat-Trac CT Plus Tire Test System with robust capabilities and the capacity to test larger tires.

Smithers Rapra Tire Testing Facility Expansion Groundbreaking

Smithers Rapra, in partnership with top global tire manufacturers, has taken its next steps along a continuous path of strategic investments and technical leadership. On June 7, 2017, a group of tire representatives, Smithers leaders, and local politicians broke ground on a facility expansion at Smithers’ Tire and Wheel Test Center in Ravenna, Ohio, to make way for a new piece of testing equipment. The new MTS Flat-Trac CT Plus Tire Test System is a shared investment between Smithers, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, Goodyear, Hankook, and Michelin.

“The automotive market’s shift to larger vehicles has pulled through larger tire sizes with higher load requirements. This partnership, focused on enhanced testing technology, will provide each partner company with additional capabilities and capacity to support their research and development activities for larger tire sizes,” said Nat Leonard, President of Smithers Rapra.

The new tire testing system will accommodate most passenger car and light truck tires currently on the market thanks to higher wheel torque and increased longitudinal and lateral load limits. It is engineered to deliver accurate and repeatable measurements of tire force and moment properties under steady-state and dynamic conditions, leading to higher fidelity models.

Priority access to the new testing system will be given to the six partners, but non-partners will be able to purchase testing time as well. The expansion project is expected to be complete by July 2018, and several technical roles will be added to support the new system.  Ravenna Mayor, Frank Seman, and Bradford Ehrhart of the Portage Development Board expressed the city and county’s gratitude to Smithers Rapra for the continuous creation of family-sustaining jobs in the community. The company first acquired the Ravenna lab in 1975.

“Smithers is proud to be part of this advancement and excited to enhance our internal expertise while supporting the industry with new technology,” says Leonard. “We’re approaching 100 years of service in the tire industry,” added Mike Hochschwender, President and CEO of The Smithers Group, “and we’re committed to continuing that legacy with this new partnership.”