COLOGNE, Germany—Continental A.G. is counting on simulation technology as well as other efficiency measures to help it achieve a 25 percent improvement in product performance by 2025, when compared to a baseline of 2010.
In a keynote presentation at this year's Future Tire Conference, held May 30-31 in Cologne, Philipp Struck, head of Continental's tire line development for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region's original equipment touted a 25:25:25 approach. The vision includes 25 percent higher product performance compared to the 2010 baseline, while weight will be 25 percent lower, and delivery to market 25 percent faster.
"A performance feature that is important for us and especially for our future customers—which now includes diverse mobility groups or DMGs—is speed to market. They just expect us to be faster to market," said Struck.
And to achieve the higher speed, Struck noted, improvements will be made in "the whole development and industrialization process."
To increase efficiency, Conti works toward increasing communication among customers, product management and research and development. Mold delivery, for example, and how it can be sped up is a topic of interest for Conti, Struck said.
Other key areas that can help tio improve delivery to market include testing technology, co-development for "on-target" production and supply chain optimization.
But one area that Struck was keen to point out was reducing time to market through simulation technology-based prototyping.
"In terms of R&D, we are looking at every step of tire development process. That means to include customer feedback in every stage of tire development," he said.
With the increasing dominance of start-ups, innovative companies in new mobility areas—what Struck describes as DMGs—Conti is expected to deliver to the market "much faster than anything we've seen before".
"What happens is that they (DMGs) do not have a strong background knowledge about tires, compared to more established companies, so they also change their mind a lot," the official said.
This leads to a zigzag path until those companies figure out what they want, to the extent that even the tire size changes during the development of product.
"This is very unusual for a classic OEM, and this is where the need to speed up comes from," he explained.
In response to that, Conti is focusing more strongly on simulation technology.
"We understand the demand (for simulation technology) within OEMS, and we don't seem to be lacking in this area," Struck noted.
While the technology doesn't necessarily mean decreased number of lab tests, it can contribute to speeding up the development process.
"If you are good at predicting performance, you might not need to do three iterations of the prototype building and only need to do two," Struck explained.
It is not just a computer time you are saving, it can be half a year or nine months you are saving here, Struck added.
This, Struck said, is the direction Conti wants to go.
"Having a process where we meet the customer targets precisely, with as little iterations as we need," he added.