Representatives from six global tire manufacturers stood alongside Dr. Jim Popio, Smithers Rapra’s Vice President, North America, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Bridgestone Americas, Continental Tire, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Hankook Tire, and Michelin North America all partnered with Smithers to invest in the new CT+ machine and expand the facility.
“This is more than just a facility expansion,” said Dr. Popio. “It’s a service portfolio expansion for Smithers. All over the world we’re seeing increased demand for larger vehicles, which means larger tires. Thanks to the collaboration of our partners, we can help our clients grow with the market. With this new machine and extra space, we can offer our clients enhanced capabilities, increased capacity, and even more comprehensive tire and wheel testing services.”
The new CT+ tire testing system accommodates most passenger car and light truck tires on the market today, providing higher wheel torque and increased longitudinal and lateral load limits. The machine delivers accurate and repeatable measurements of tire force and moment properties under steady-state and dynamic conditions in order to create higher fidelity tire models.
In addition to housing the new machine, the expansion created space for offices, conference rooms for partner and project meetings, storage, and square footage for additional testing capabilities that are currently in development.
Guests at the open house had a chance to see the new space and the new machine in action on a tour after lunch was served. Tours were led by Smithers technical experts, giving guests a chance to ask questions about the wide array of service offerings at the Ravenna lab.
“We’re very proud of this facility, this new machine, and this partnership, and we’re thrilled that so many people came out to Ravenna to see the space and celebrate this growth with us,” said Nat Leonard, President, Smithers Rapra.
Frank Seman, Mayor of Ravenna, and Brad Ehrhardt, President of Portage Development Board, participated in the ribbon-cutting as well, making brief remarks. “This is a business based on integrity,” said Seman, who also attended the ground-breaking event in June of 2017. “I admire this company, and I’m thrilled to have them in Ravenna, Ohio.”
Smithers offers tire testing services in Europe and China as well as northeast Ohio. The lab in Suzhou, China has recently expanded its capacity by 35% in the last year.