SEOUL, South Korea—Nexen Tire Corp. has inaugurated a 613,000-sq.-ft. central research center in Seoul that will become the company's research and development hub for its R&D centers in the U.S., Europe and China.
Nexen invested $178 million throughout two years in the center, dubbed "Nexen UniverCity," which is located within the Magok Industrial Complex in western Seoul. The structure, which stands eight stories tall with two additional stories underground, houses both research and business complexes.
The workspace has been designed as an "open innovation environment" to maximize concentration and teamwork, Nexen said. The company did not say how many employees will work at the new center.
To help pave the way for smarter technology, Nexen said, the center houses R&D facilities that can predict and implement optimal performances such as original equipment versus replacement product manufacturing, artificial intelligence technology and virtual tire technique. It also features a performance research center to evaluate the performance of tires and vehicles and a material research center to analyze diverse nano and macro dimensions on various materials.
The name "UniverCity" is derived from a combination of "Nexen Universe" and "City," Nexen said, and reflects the company's core values—challenge, creativity and collaboration—and business philosophy of infinite possibilities and values.
The building includes a courtyard and multi-helix green roof and features tire tread patterns on the exterior to define the industry's attributes. It incorporates a solar power system, an underground cooling and heating ventilation system and a green rooftop to prevent thermal heat damage.
The eco features helped Nexen obtain a Level 1 building energy-efficiency rating certificate from the Korea Energy Agency.
Among those attending the recent grand opening ceremony were Nexen Chairman Kang Byeong Jung, Nexen Global CEO Travis Kang; Sohn Kyung Shik, the chairman of Korea Employers Federation; Kany Ho Gab, chairman of Federation of Middle Market Enterprise of Korea; and other executives and staff members of the Nexen Central Research Institute.
"The Magok Central Research Institute really defines Nexen Tire's growth DNA and its identity, …" Mr. Kang said at the opening. "We will carry out a pivotal and global role that will raise the value of the movement, shifting the paradigm in the tire industry by creating new changes and future values that no one has seen before."
The opening of the Magok center comes nine months after Nexen opened a combined European business/technical center in Kelkheim, Germany.
Nexen also has R&D centers in Changnyeong, China, and at its recently commissioned tire plant in Zatec, Czech Republic, as well one for North America under construction in Richfield, Ohio, north of Akron.