In a joint project between Falken’s parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries and Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University, Japan, a new sensor to measure tyre wear has been developed which is expected to help engineers to create longer lasting tyres.
This ‘Miniature Energy Harvester’ is a sustainable technique. It uses the rotation of a tyre to generate electricity and supply power to peripheral sensors installed in the tyre without relying on batteries. The technology enables the calculation of a tyre’s contact patch and wheel rotations, and harvests stress levels based on amplitude changes induced by tyre rotation. The data obtained can then be extrapolated to determine tyre wear.
At the same time, the research team has developed a technique to measure the tyre contact patch by installing several miniature energy harvesters in each tyre and reading into the data they gather. These new technologies open the door to different applications and provide information that can be incorporated into future tyre developments.
“This new Energy Harvester technology is a big step towards the implementation of our sustainability policy, it supports us in developing tyres with an optimised contact patch and thus longer life,” said Dr Bernd Löwenhaupt, managing director at Sumitomo Rubber Europe GmbH.
“As part of the ‘Driving Our Future Challenge 2050’ climate change pledge, we are developing innovative solutions for increased safety and less environmental impact in order to actively shape the transformation of mobility,” he added.