HYOGO, Japan—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. is heralding an advancement in rubber compounding technology that it claims will yield measurable reductions in rolling resistance in truck tires.
The tire maker anticipates having a commercially viable truck/bus tire using the technology on the market within a year.
Although Toyo declined to quantify how much of a rolling resistance reduction it expects, it said the development related to its "nano balance" compounding technology, which yields a 20 percent reduction in energy loss at the point of deformation.
Toyo defines nano balance technology as one for developing ideal rubber materials with high precision through observation, prediction, function, creation and control of rubber materials at the molecular (nano) level. The firm first disclosed its work on nano balance in 2011 when it launched the NanoEnergy line of tires in Japan.
It since has set up a research and development facility at its tire factory in Perak, Malaysia, where the company plans to develop it further as a production line and incorporate its use in a new line of truck and bus tires.
Toyo stressed that using this technology in truck/bus tires fits into its corporate social commitments by offering enhanced fuel economy for trucks and buses, which it calls the "backbone of our social infrastructure."
Technically speaking, the nano technology focuses on optimizing the dispersion of fillers in rubber.
Toyo's process disintegrates carbon black in a special solution and disperses it at the molecular level in the initial compound creation process while stirring and coagulating natural rubber latex, the company said.
Improvements in the process over the past six years have yielded a processing method that achieves the "ideal state" of filler where it is uniformly and highly dispersed even in solid rubber like natural rubber.
Toyo already has released in Japan a truck tire using the technology, NanoEnergy M676, which it claims offers a 31-percent reduction in rolling resistance vs. an existing Toyo design.