Smithers Rapra held its second ever tire conference – Traction 2015: Driving the Tire Industry Forward - last month in Nashville, TN, bringing together more than 130 tire industry executives from more than 80 organizations from Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.
Themes emerged over the course of the 2+ day event including how to overcome obstacles such as: the lack of clarity on varying design / testing methods from country to country and insights on what the future holds for the tire industry and innovation. Jim Ricapito of FedEx – one of the speakers at the event - noted that “the exposure to the complexities faced worldwide was extremely interesting.”
“The mission of Traction 2015 – as set by our President and CEO Michael Hochschwender – was on how to ‘innovate regardless of the obstacles.’ By offering direct access to industry leadership and insights from the most-connected individuals throughout the supply chain, this event truly delivered honest and impactful discussions of our current and future realities,” said conference director Andrew T. Smaha.
The entire supply chain was represented from suppliers to OEMs and everyone in between; attendees came from Bridgestone Americas; Caterpillar; Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.; CTP Transportation; Eastman Chemical Company; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co; Hallstar; JSC Cordiant; Kumho Tire; Kuraray America; Lanxess; Michelin; Orion Carbons; Pressure Systems International, Inc.; Roetzel; Solvay and many other organizations, just to name a few. George Gillespie of Gillespie Automotive enjoyed meeting “businesses from all parts of the tire fabrication business.”
David Benko, fellow of materials R&D for Goodyear Tire and Rubber, was one of the 30+ industry experts who presented at Traction 2015. On identifying tire industry megatrends, Benko shared with the audience that “Gross domestic product in emerging markets and the drive for innovation in developed markets will determine the tire industry of the future. It’s high-value-added technologies like silica and polymers, and the fuel efficiency improvements of green tires, that are changing the industry.” The tire industry veteran also addressed the eventual use of tire labeling in the US, and customers that are more informed by the Internet, as changes that will impact the way tires are made and sold.
Robert Preston of J.D. Power summed up his experience at Traction 2015 as “great speakers and topics, executed with the highest level of professionalism.”
Smithers Rapra’s Traction conference and exhibition will next take place in the Spring of 2016, alongside our globally renowned Carbon Black conference and exhibition. Check back at www.tractionsummit.com to get information on show dates and locations.
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