One of the key elements in the EcoPoint3 technology is that Sailun has eschewed the traditional Banbury rolling mill blender where “solid” latex has its additives added and mixed.
Sailun Step Up to the Market
Sailun was only formed 20 years ago in Qindao as a technology and testing platform for tyres. It has developed and grown in the past two decades and is now in the top 20 tyre manufacturers in the world, out of around 400.
With seven production facilities (four in China, two in Vietnam and one in Cambodia), Sailun has developed to hold a presence in the global market with dealerships throughout the world, taking its tyres into competition with long-standing producers. European sales have reached a stable 7 million tyres per year.
However, Sailun is not satisfied with being just another tyre manufacturer, and it has plans to grow and develop its technology. At the presentation of its new EcoPoint3 at The Tire, Cologne, the company made some dramatic statements about its technology.
Sailun has taken the view that to make gains over the competition; it isn’t just enough to rely on price. There also has to be a performance advantage, and that advantage when chasing the market has to be twice the level of the competition. To this end, a range of Sailun tyres made with EcoPoint3 technology was tested widely in Germany.
EcoPoint3 tyres offer a lower rolling resistance compared to market-leading benchmarks, this offers fuel consumption benefits in internal combustion engine vehicles, but in electric vehicles, the tyres have been shown to provide an equivalent fuel consumption saving of around 20 per cent and a 30 per cent higher mileage.
EcoPoint3 Resistant to Heat Build-Up
EcoPoint3 suffers from lower hysteresis due to a reduced heat build-up in the tyre, resulting in lower wear and tear.
One of the critical elements in the EcoPoint3 technology is that Sailun has eschewed the traditional Banbury rolling mill blender where “solid” latex has its additives added and mixed. Anyone who has ever visited a rubber plant will be familiar with the smells and the sounds of the roller mill popping bubbles in the elastic rubber and may have seen the latex turn from grey natural colour to black as the carbon black, and other additives are mixed in.
Sailun has gone for what they call a liquid phase mixing, where the mixing takes place with the latex in liquid form at a lower temperature. They say that the liquid blending gives improved dispersion of additives. The technology has not been used on such a large scale previously, but Sailun’s technicians – remember, testing is where the company started – say that the fillers are uniformly dispersed in the compound, which results in a minimisation of “weak” spots. Tests show better dynamic properties, better strain-stress properties, and abrasion resistance in the end product.
Sailun has been developing and using this technology for the past ten years, and it is now available across its PCR, truck and bus offer.
The technology is being rolled out company-wide and will appear in its full range in due course. The next stage is industrial tyres for forklifts and similar equipment, but the company hopes to be introducing this into its earthmover and agricultural tyres soon.
Speaking with OEM and Key Accounts Manager Kevin Buckley, he told Commercial Tyre Business that there had been a positive reception from the automotive sector. “We have had excellent feedback from the fleet customers that we work with on both car and truck sides of the business. The performance on the road in live conditions is standing up to the test results we have had.
“Of course, when we move into the earthmover and agricultural side, it might be more challenging to prove the results, but we are confident that we have the right technology. Farmers do a lot of roadwork with their equipment; it isn’t all in the fields, which will be where they see the benefits.
Sailun is taking sustainability, a keyword at The Tire, seriously. It has a policy of using low-carbon materials – non-fossil silica is used, replacing fossil fuel Carbon Black. The change in the mixing process saves about 36Kg of CO2 emissions over a convention production process.
Tests by TÜV Sud on Sailun truck tyres STL2, SFL2, and SDL2 showed a better fuel consumption performance of between 3.3 and 7.6% putting the tyres in the EU Label A zone and giving them a TÜV Sud test mark.