In a unique government –corporate partnership, tyre maker, Apollo Tyres has collaborated with Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC) to establish the first-of-its-kind test track in Oragadam, near Chennai, for testing the wet grip of tyres, a primary safety test.
Apollo Tyres provided the technical expertise to get the track ready for testing wet grip of tyres, as per the standard specifications. The company issued a statement which said that the readiness of the test track is linked to the Indian government’s plan to implement ‘Star Rating’ of tyres, in line with the Tyre Labelling regulations in Europe. This is with the objective to ensure safety as well as the economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting fuel-efficient and safe tyres with low noise levels. A new Automotive Industry Standard, AIS 142, in line with UNECE R117 has been prepared. It comprises evaluation of tyres with regards to rolling sound emissions, adhesion on wet surfaces and rolling resistance.
Satish Sharma, president, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), Apollo Tyres Ltd, said “This facility will not only help us test the tyres for the Indian market, but also the ones that are exported and need to meet the labelling requirements.”
“The new wet grip track, developed by GARC and Apollo Tyres, shows very good level of correlation with test tracks in Europe. This will enable Apollo Tyres to reduce time to market its products, along with the reduction in testing costs. We are further exploring opportunities to collaborate with the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project to enhance testing capabilities to support the mid/long-term challenges,” said Daniele Lorenzetti, Chief Technology Officer, Apollo Tyres Ltd.
The major impediment to the government’s plan of implementing Star Ratings, was the unavailability of approved test track facilities in India, to test and assess traction on wet surface or wet grip, which means the relative braking performance on a wet surface. TUV Rheinland, facilitator for automotive homologation, has certified the compliance of the new test track in line with the stipulated conditions as in UNECE R117/ AIS 142.
M. V. Ramachandran, Officer on Special Duty, GARC Test Facilities said, “The wet grip test facility of tyres will help the tyre, as well as the vehicle manufacturers, to evaluate the performance as per AIS-142 which is line with Rev4 of UNECE R117.
GARC is one of the state-of-the-art centres established by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India (under NATRiP), located in Oragadam.