|Bridgestone New Product Introduction and Demonstration
Evaluating Product at Phoenix International Raceway
by Jim Bennett
One of the key objectives of the UNIT-T AQ technology is to "Provide more consistent performance as the tire wears especially in wet conditions." Phillip Pacsi used multi-media to illustrate how EPO (Extended Performance Optimization) and EPC (Extended Performance Compound) and a Dual-Layer Tread are used to accomplish this objective.
A new EPC (Extended Performance Compound) compound was introduced to reduce friction-related rubber hardening and creating more consistent wet acceleration, braking and handling. The main benefit is to extend consistent tire performance over the useful life of the tire.
The Dual-Layer Tread uses two types of rubber in the tread to expose high-grip rubber as tire wear progresses to provide more consistent overall performance. At the 50% tread wear level the higher-grip rubber starts being exposed. At the 70% level the mounded shape of the base layer ensures broader amounts of high-grip rubber become exposed. Again, consistent and predicable performance over a tire's is a key benefit.
Finally, continued improvement in optimizing tire content surface is enhanced by using Flat Force Blocks and Neural Networks is used to improve handling stability.
Bridgestone's staff further explained development of these technologies was based upon on-going customer surveys. In the United States, the top 5 considerations in selecting tires are wet surface grip 49%, dry surface grip 27%, tire life 26%, fuel economy 15% and comfort 5%. This is based on 589 respondents. International responses were larger and differed except wet surface grip was number one in all major markets such as Japan 72% and Germany 79%.
Dated: February 12, 2001