Goodyear says sustainability important to tyre business

17 April 2013 18:23  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN FRANCISCO (ICIS)--Sustainability is not a fad, but is going to be increasingly important for tyre makers and the petrochemical companies that supply them with raw materials.

Speaking Wednesday at the International Institute for Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) Annual General Meeting, David Woodyard, global manager for sustainability at Goodyear, said that there are about 50 chemicals that go into making tyres and each one of them is under scrutiny somewhere in the world.   

One of the biggest issues facing the tyre industry is rolling resistance, a measurement of how much energy is used to overcome the resistance between a tyre and the road surface. Woodyard said that, on average, about 4% of all global oil consumption in the tyre sector is consumed just to get over the resistance between the road and tires.

“That’s a big number,” Woodyard said. “So there is a lot of work going on to improve this.”

Rolling resistance standards differ all over the world, but because tyre labelling is mandated in more and more markets, it is an increasingly important issue, Woodyard said.

“It’s fairly easy to make a tyre with low rolling resistance, but what’s hard is making it turn and stop at high speeds,” he said.

Low rolling resistance is a “major driver of our products today", not because it is important to consumers, but because it is being regulated, he said.

Goodyear is also focused on developing products with “safe eco attributes", he said.

“It will be the price of entry into many markets in the future,” Woodyard said. “Some markets will be closed to you if you’re not looking at sustainability.”

By: Mark Yost
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