The new test track in Oragadam, near Chennai, will be used to test wet grip of tyres, as per new industry standard specification, AIS 142
Apollo Tyres has collaborated with Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC) in establishing the first-of-its-kind tyre test track in India, in a unique Government-Corporate partnership. This tyre test track has been set up in Tamil Nadu, for testing wet grip of tyres, which is one of the primary safety tests, the company noted. Apollo Tyres said it has provided the technical expertise to get the track ready for testing wet grip of tyres, as per the standard specifications.
The readiness of this test track is linked to the Government’s plan to implement ‘Star Rating’ of tyres, which is in line with the Tyre Labelling regulation in Europe, Apollo Tyres said. It added that this rating is with the objective to ensure safety, economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting fuel-efficient and safe tyres with low noise levels. A new Automotive Industry Standard, AIS 142, in line with UNECE R117 has been prepared to this effect. This standard comprises evaluation of tyres with regards to rolling sound emissions, adhesion on wet surfaces and rolling resistance, it explained.
Apollo Tyres observed that the major setback to the Government’s plan of implementing star ratings was the unavailability of approved test track facilities in India, to test traction on wet surface or wet grip. This assessment of traction on a wet surface is nothing but the relative braking performance of a tyre on a wet surface. TUV Rheinland, facilitator for automotive homologation, has certified the compliance of the new test track in line with the stipulated conditions as in UNECE R117/ AIS 142, the company said.
The company would like to further the cause of testing the tyres, and provide highest-quality tyres to customers across geographies, observed Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), Apollo Tyres Ltd. He said Apollo Tyres has associated with GARC to create this unique wet grip tyre testing track, meeting UNECE R117 standards in India, thereby upping the country’s self-sufficiency in tyre technology. This facility will not only help test the tyres for the Indian market, but also for those exported and requiring to meet the labelling requirements, Sharma added.
MV Ramachandran, Officer on Special Duty, GARC Test Facilities, said the Wet Grip test facility will help tyre makers, as well as vehicle manufacturers to evaluate performance as per AIS-142 (which is line with Rev4 of UNECE R117). This additional facility is possible with the continuous encouragement and support of the competent authority of NATRiP, he added. Ramachandran noted that the work done by the vehicle evaluation department of GARC and Apollo Tyres’ test team towards fine-tuning the ABS track to meet specific requirements, is highly laudable.
The new wet grip track, developed by GARC and Apollo Tyres, shows very good level of correlation with test tracks in Europe, noted Daniele Lorenzetti, CTO, Apollo Tyres Ltd. He said this will enable Apollo Tyres to reduce time to market its products, along with the reduction in testing costs. “We are further exploring opportunities to collaborate with NATRiP to enhance the testing capabilities to support the mid/long term challenges,” added Lorenzetti.
GARC is one of the centres established by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India (under NATRiP), and is located at Oragadam near Chennai. It has been authorised as the test agency under CMVR 126 by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. GARC has full-fledged R&D and homologation test facilities, including the test tracks, to certify all categories of vehicles, systems and components as per national and international standards.