Top expertise and the latest technological know-how
Tire testing is a sum of many components
Nokian Tyres tests its tires in Ivalo using the latest technology that is utilised by professional and experienced personnel.
The Testing Center is continuously operated from mid-November until May. Tire testing performed on snow and ice requires stable conditions and precise track maintenance.
One of the people accelerating and braking on the different surfaces and tracks of the Testing Center is test driver Janne Pynnönen who works in Ivalo for at least three winter months each year.
" Even though we have the latest technology and the most precise instruments, nothing can beat a human in the end."
– All tests are performed in a fixed order, and the conditions must be as stable as possible. Even though we have the latest technology and the most precise instruments, nothing can beat a human in the end.
– You can only find the best tires in the set by driving and feeling them, Pynnönen emphasises.
Pynnönen is happy with the facilities that Nokian Tyres has in Ivalo.
– We have the best equipment here, and the testing methods are constantly improving. The versatility of the Ivalo Testing Center especially benefits Nokian Tyres’ own product development.
Between the road and the tire
Product Development Manager Juha Pirhonen from Nokian Tyres feels that the co-operation and interaction with the test drivers is very important.
– The experienced drivers and their professional skill are an essential part of product development. A high-quality result is created by combining peak human expertise with the latest in technological know-how.
For example, a high-speed camera is nowadays used to study the characteristics of studs in winter tires.
– A high-speed camera can be used to analyse stud behaviour under braking, for example. These results allow us to make the structure and shape of the stud even more functional, and to increase the safety characteristics of the tyre, Pirhonen says.
The high-speed camera is an important tool in the battle against aquaplaning.
– Using this method, we can safely put the engineer between the road and the tire, Pirhonen says laughingly.
– After analysing the results, we will know a lot more about the interaction between the tire and the road: how the different structure and tread models work under aquaplaning, and how the shape of the tire's contact surface changes under actual driving conditions when compared to a stationary tire.
– Furthermore, we will receive the necessary additional information concerning aquaplaning as a phenomenon, Pirhonen specifies.
Test driver Janne Pynnön regularly communicates with the other tire experts at Nokian Tyres, especially when the aim is to achieve the next level in the safety and usability of car tires.
– Co-operation with the project managers is perhaps the most important part of a test driver's work. I participate in the planning of the tests, complete them, and report both the objective and subjective results to product development, Pynnönen summarises.
– Fluent communication and systematic analysis of the results guarantee that we can achieve a common understanding of the test results. Only by working in this way can we draw the correct conclusions concerning the results, adds Product Development Manager Pirhonen.