Continental reaches one million trips on its fully automated tire braking test facility
Continental has carried out more than a million trips on its fully automated tire braking test facility known as the AIBA (Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer) since 2012. The facility enables precisely reproducible test processes to check the performance of new car and van tires on different road surfaces – dry and wet – under laboratory conditions.
In the facility, unmanned, rail-guided vehicles are automatically accelerated to speeds of up to 120 km/h along a track almost 100 meters long. They are then braked autonomously on a 75-meter-long braking track. No fuel is required for this process. This is because acceleration takes place with the help of an electromagnetic linear drive borrowed from modern roller-coaster technology. The AIBA facility also eliminates the need for the many kilometers of driving that are required on normal test tracks for starting off and pulling away.
“The AIBA facility is one of the most modern braking test facilities for tires in the world. Even after being in use for more than 10 years. We can achieve a particularly high level of comparability of the test results in a fully air-conditioned, weather-independent, and fully automated environment,” explained Meletis Xigakis, Head of Global Tire Testing at Continental. “Braking is essential for road safety. That’s why we put a lot of effort into being able to analyze the performance of our tires as precisely as possible.”
Around two-thirds of all tire braking tests at Continental take place in the AIBA facility. The focus here is on prototypes of new tires, for which the interaction of new or modified rubber compounds and tread designs is validated and further optimized. But also, on checking the performance of a new serial tire. Since commissioning, developers have tested more than 130,000 tires.