Spotlight on FISITA World Mobility Summit sponsor Linglong Tire

Member News

5

November 2020

The FISITA World Mobility Summit begins on Tuesday 10 November with weekly sessions concluding on Friday 20 November. The Summit is an invitation-only event for FISITA members and specially invited guests. This year's event is focused on “Sustainable Mobility for All” with sessions and discussions about:

  • Zero Impact on the Environment
  • Zero Waste (energy, time, space)
  • Zero Stress (seamless)
  • Zero Left Out (access to mobility for all)
  • Zero Fatalities (intelligent safety)

Shandong Linglong Tire is the Gold sponsor for this year’s FISITA World Mobility Summit and they answered some questions about the company’s alignment with this year’s Summit focus and its global development

Which of the focus themes of this event are important to Linglong Tire and how are you making progress on those areas?

In the process of development, our company attaches great importance to the impact of tire production on the environment, avoids waste and strives to achieve higher safety performance, and has achieved some results.

First of all, in terms of zero environmental impact, Linglong is currently committed to the study of ultra-low rolling resistance tires. It is well known that the lower rolling resistance of the tire means the lower fuel consumption rate of the vehicle. Furthermore, lower fuel consumption rate means less impact on the environment. At present, the rolling resistance coefficient of Linglong’s new generation tires with ultra-low rolling resistance is only 5.3, far exceeding the requirements of the European Union Label Grade A, the most stringent rolling resistance requirements at present.

Secondly, in order to avoid energy waste, our company is cooperating with Beijing University of Chemical Technology to develop self-generating tires. Tires, as rubber products, can generate static electricity in the process of use. The advantage of self-generating tires is that they use static electricity rather than dissipating it. Through the special materials and structure design, tires can spontaneously extract energy from the environment in the process of working. The energy can both meet the requirements required by the tire sensor components, such as temperature, tire pressure sensor, etc, and at the same time, a large part of energy can be used to power other equipment.

The application of self-generating tires can not only achieve energy self-sufficiency for the tire’s own sensors, but also provide necessary energy supply for other intelligent devices, so as to achieve zero waste of energy.

Thirdly, in the aspect of smart security, at present, our company produces sealant tires and run-on-flat tires as part of the security architecture system, which can guarantee people’s security. Through analysis and research, our company breaks the technical barriers, achieves the industrialized production, minimizes the damages caused by air leakage or flat tires to reduce the mortality rate of traffic accidents. In the future, our company will continue to expand the safety tire structure system, and develop more intelligent and security products that are closer to the market and customers by using big data and cloud computing.

What are your goals in the global automotive market?

By 2030, the “6+6” (six domestic production bases and six foreign production bases) strategy will be completed. Our production and sales volume will reach 160 million units, and the sales revenue will exceed 80 billion yuan. Production capacity scale will be listed in the world’s top five rankings. Eventually, we want to become a technology-driven tire manufacturing enterprise with world-class technology, world-class management and world-class brand influence.

Are there any particular types of customers and partners that you are currently seeking?

At present, we are looking to develop our business with the world’s leading automobile factories.

Can you give us an update on your global footprint? Have you started manufacturing in Serbia and what proportion of your global shipments are now manufactured outside of China?

At present, Linglong is implementing the “6+6” global strategic layout, namely six production bases in China and six production bases overseas. Currently, our company has five production bases in Zhaoyuan, Dezhou, Liuzhou, Jingmen and Changchun (under construction) at home. Abroad, we have two production bases in Thailand and Serbia. The Serbian factory is currently under construction and is scheduled to start production in the third quarter of 2021. Currently, overseas plants account for 23.7% of the company's total output (2019).

What are your major areas of research and are you actively seeking research partners in any particular areas?

Our company has been adhering to the development concept of green and environmental protection, and conducts comprehensive research in the application of new materials, product performance improvement, artificial intelligence, cutting-edge technology development and other aspects.

For example, in terms of the application of new materials, our company has been studying the sustainable development of bio-derived materials. We have established the Chinese Dandelion Rubber Industry Technology Alliance. The trial production of the natural sourced Duzhong rubber has also been completed, and the third-party test results show excellent tire performance. The biogenic itaconic acid rubber with molecular design has also been trial-produced, which shows excellent fuel-saving performance. The first graphene concept tire has been completed, and its core purpose is mainly aimed at energy saving. On this basis, the development of the second-generation graphene tire has been completed.

We are seeking research partners in the following areas:

  • Research areas related to tire performance
  • Matching technology of tire with electric control system and intelligent driving system of vehicle and chassis
  • Constitutions of materials science in the fields of friction, wear, thermodynamics and dynamics
  • Artificial intelligence technology and tire performance prediction, optimization, etc
  • Verification and application of new intelligent tire and airless tire
  • Research on the properties of skeleton materials and new skeleton materials
  • In terms of materials, we hope to cooperate with advanced research teams at home and abroad or superior upstream enterprises to develop and expand related fields.
How do you ensure that the materials you use and your tire designs cause the minimal amount of environmental impact?

Our company considers the environmental protection from the application of materials, tire design and other aspects.

First of all, in terms of material application, all raw materials used by our company comply with EUREACH regulation (environmental protection materials). In addition, we develop and apply bio-renewable materials, such as rapeseed oil and dandelion rubber tires, etc.

In tire design, our company has developed ultra-low rolling resistance tire system with independent intellectual property rights. According to statistics, CO2 released in the process of friction has accounted for 3% of the global greenhouse gas released by fossil fuels. Part of automobile fuel consumption is also used to overcome tire friction resistance. Linglong has developed a number of core technologies with independent intellectual property rights, and our rolling resistance performance has achieved the world’s mostadvanced level. The rolling resistance performs better than the requirements of EU Label Grade A.

As demands for different types of vehicle have changed, how have your tires developed? As the penetration of electrification grows and vehicles may be heavier with a powertrain delivering a different torque profile, how are you adapting your tire designs?

Our company mainly strengthens the development of high performance tires with large rim diameter, special tires for electric vehicle and run-on-flat tires.

Electric vehicles are growing. Because the power system needs to provide different torques, the car will become very heavy. Under the circumstance, tire design should consider the following aspects:

  • In order to solve the problems caused by the instantaneous torque and heavy body, our company designs EV100 targeted at pure electric vehicles. The combination of the E–balance technical pattern block and new composite materials with new recipe can effectively reduce quick wear situation caused by instantaneous torque, and can also lead to lower rolling resistance that reaches A-level, the optimal level both at home and abroad. Longitudinal groove and transverse groove can divide the tread rigid into balanced pattern blocks, and each pattern block surface has a number of narrow grooves, which can increase the contact area with the road surface and improve the tire grip, so that the tire can bear greater torque, and also is used to destroy the water film and maintain the performance of high grip in the condition of wetlands.
  • Electric vehicles are powered by car power without the noise of internal combustion engine, so the noise of tires will be more obvious. The innovative tread pattern design can further reduce the generation of rolling noise. During the noise test, we achieve 65dB, and Level 1 at European and domestic label.
  • The tire internal structure is designed to adopt a high-load bearing structure, which greatly improves the load capacity.
Many (if not all) of your customers will operate just in time manufacturing, how do you ensure flexible availability of stock around the world to ensure a stable supply when demand can fluctuate very considerably?

We collect orders in the third quarter of each year, make sales targets for the second year in combination with timely delivery, organize overall capacity planning according to the targets, and set safety inventory to ensure the demand for tires.

In case of additional emergency orders from customers, relevant data should be collected in a timely manner. After the statistics are completed, relevant departments should be immediately coordinated. If there are difficulties in delivery, relevant leaders should be timely reported. If there is a conflict with the previous plan, relevant salesmen shall be timely coordinated according to the delivery time and characteristics to ensure that orders are not lost.

For suddenly increased specifications, if the production capacity is insufficient, in addition to immediately increasing production capacity, we also balance all customers’ orders and delivery situation so as to guarantee the order delivery combining the delivery date required by the customers, delivery speed, payment conditions, price situation, etc.

How has the recent COVID-19 pandemic affected your business and what changes have you made that you see continuing into the future?

Our annual sales volume in 2019 is 60 million units, and the planning target in 2020 is to reach more than 66 million. More than 6 million orders were placed in January 2020, and the target for the whole year is within reach. After the outbreak of the epidemic in late January, our production and sales volume dropped by more than 50% in February, which had a great impact on us.

When the COVID-19 broke out, our company immediately set up a COVID-19 prevention and control team to ensure the safety of employees. In addition, under the premise of ensuring safety, the factories in Zhaoyuan, Dezhou, Liuzhou, Jingmen and Thailand did not shut down, which fully guaranteed the normal operation of the economy. In February, overseas shipments performed better, though domestic shipments stagnated. In March, with the policy of “full resumption of work and production”, our company’s shipments began to improve.

Meanwhile, a new retail platform was launched in advance in March (it was planned to be launched in August this year), and the platform was jointly developed by Tencent and Huazhi Intelligent. Since March, we have held two cloud dealer meetings every month, held technical training once a week, and combined online and offline new retail meetings. After efforts and verification from March to July, we have found that digitalization, networking and intelligence have great effects on the development of enterprises. In recent months, our company's domestic retail sales maintained a year-on-year growth of more than 50%, and its first-half net profit achieved a year-on-year growth of more than 20%.

For further information about Ling long Tire, please visit their website en.linglong.cn. If you are interested in becoming a member of FISITA, please visit Join FISITA.