Research, Innovation And Smart Materials: the sophisticated performance of tyres

May, 25 2016

‘Tyres look just black and round, but they hide significant complexity’: a very interesting opening for the speech of Marco Spinetto at Technology Forum 2016. He’s Head of Strategic innovation at Pirelli  and its contribution was focused on Smart Materials ‘which are multi-functional in characteristics, meaning they are capable of giving tyres every more sophisticated performance’, Spinetto explained.

Pirelli’s effort is to reduce use of various tyre components derived for fossil sources and that’s why the Company is testing, among various natural materials, lignin and natural rubber from guayule in the production of tyres. Guayule is a shrub which is not consumed as food and requires only small amounts of water, no pesticides to grow and represents a valid alternative to natural rubber thanks to its hypoallergenic properties, as opposed to the more common Hevea brasiliensis.

In the field of new nano-fillers, Pirelli has begun introducing, at the industrial level, materials of vegetable derivation to partially substitute precipitate silica and carbon black, with a reduction of the environmental impact above 75% in terms of CO2 emissions and water consumption.

Figures speak  clearly: Pirelli’s engagement to reach Technological excellence, in its 140 year history, has always placed Research & Development at the center of its activities to develop new products and innovative production processes, and to evaluate new business opportunities. Each year, Pirelli invests over 3% of its total revenues, one of the higher levels in the segment. In 2015, in particular, investment in Research grew to around 215 million euro from 205.5 million euro in 2014, contributing to the consolidation of the patent portfolio, with 40 new patent requests for a total of 5,000 national patents and around 600 patent families.

With one Research center in Italy and eight application centers around the world, with partnerships in original equipment with the main carmakers, with an R&D budget totally dedicated to the segment and 1,400 full-time researchers, and with a growing number of open innovation projects, Pirelli represents a great model for the InnoTech Community of Ambrosetti Club, and a great Partner of Technology Forum 2016.


Watch the short video story of Technology Forum 2016by Giulio and Nicolò Kirchmayr