AKRON — In marking 75 years of testing tires at the proving grounds in San Angelo, Texas, Goodyear unveiled one expansion project at the site and detailed plans for a second.
The tire maker recently added a second vehicle dynamics area—a 324,000-sq.-ft. paved pad—and is building an additional evaluation facility for off-the-road products that will include state-of-the-art equipment for testing the industry's largest earthmover tires.
The company established its largest tire evaluation center in 1944 in San Angelo and built its first test surface there in 1957. The San Angelo Proving Grounds facility, with an assortment of tracks and test labs, provides the company with the ability to conduct extensive on- and off-road testing.
"This enormous testing facility is vital to Goodyear's product development process, and we are continuing to invest in its capability to bring innovative tires to customers," Chief Technology Officer Chris Helsel said in a statement. "Countless applications in consumer and commercial tires, including the use of unique sustainable materials, advanced fuel efficiency technologies and even tires that can operate with no air have been tested at San Angelo."
The San Angelo facility covers 7,250 acres and includes 58 miles of roads and track, 14 miles of fence and more than 200 test vehicles. Associates there test approximately 20,000 tires annually, according to the company. There are 53 different test surfaces, ranging from asphalt and concrete to bricks, blocks, dirt, mud and more.
The new vehicle dynamics area is optimized for tire testing in extreme wet conditions and is a precision-engineered paved surface with a 1-degree slope to enable constant water flow across the surface. All water is recycled and reused.
In addition to significant improvements in the testing and analysis of large off-the-road tires, Goodyear recently added a 250-ton, 25-foot-tall earthmover haul truck to its fleet.
Goodyear also operates testing and proving grounds in many global locations, including Americana, Brazil; Akron; Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg; Mireval, France; Wittlich, Germany; and Ivalo, Finland.