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Yokohama Opens Japan’s Largest Indoor Ice Circle Test Facility

Yokohama announced today that on January 5 it began operating a new indoor ice circle test facility at its Tire Test Center of Hokkaido (TTCH). The new facility is dedicated to testing winter tyres’ turning performance on an icy surface and is Japan’s largest indoor facility for testing tyre turning performance on ice.

The new facility was established to further improve YOKOHAMA tyres’ turning performance on ice, which is the second most important tyre performance on icy roads, after braking performance. Compared to outdoor test sites, the new indoor facility is unaffected by changing outdoor weather conditions and temperatures, and the ice surface’s condition can be stably maintained. As a result, the accuracy of test data can be improved, facilitating efficient development of more advanced technologies. The new facility is housed in a 56m×56m building with a ceiling height of 12.3m (at highest point), and its 1,960m2 ice surface enables testing at turning radiuses of 10–22m.

Since opening TTCH in December 2015, Yokohama Rubber has introduced more advanced and sophisticated testing and evaluation methods in support of the global expansion of its tyre business. In January 2018, TTCH opened its first indoor facility with an ice track for testing winter tyres. In November 2020, the facility was upgraded by installing Japan’s largest indoor cooling unit, which enables setting the temperature of the ice surface anywhere between –10°C and 0°C (14°F and 32°F). The newly completed indoor ice circle test facility is adjacent to the previously established indoor ice-surface test facility, which will facilitate efficient combination testing using both facilities and accelerate the development of winter tyres that deliver the highest level of safety for driving on icy roads.

In addition to the winter tyre test facilities at TTCH, Yokohama conducts winter tyre testing at the Yokohama Test Center of Sweden (YTCS). TTCH handles testing of YOKOHAMA tyres sold in various markets around the world, and YTCS conducts additional tests to confirm the suitability and performance of tyres to be sold in Europe. These two test facilities contribute to Yokohama Rubber’s development of tyres most suitable to the winter road conditions in the country or region of use.