Pushing the industry to accept and comply with new government mandates is easy on paper, but not so easy to act if you don’t allow enough time. The tire manufacturing community in India is not happy with the government’s latest directives.

While the government says it wants to review the technical requirements for rolling resistance, wet grip and rolling noise in car, truck and bus tires to bring them in line with European standards, the tire industry faces a huge challenge. to meet the short deadline.

The government wants the tire industry to meet the requirements and enforce them in practice from October 1, 2022. It is this deadline that is causing concern in the industry as they believe it is too short to meet them for technical reasons.

All major tire manufacturers, domestic and foreign brands agree on the fact that there is a lack of testing facilities in the country, which is important for the development of such tires, apart from extremely tight deadlines.

Access to documents Autocar Professional a source via Right to Information (RTI) suggests that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has proposed amendments to the tire safety norms on 17 May 2021.

The proposed plan was to apply to all new tire designs to be introduced in the Indian market from October 1, 2021. Till October 1, 2022, existing tire designs for the three car segments will be taken into account. At that time, industry stakeholders were given a month to express objections or comments, if any.

Despite recommendations from tire manufacturers, the government actually went ahead and pushed the mandate through a notification on June 28, 2022. It amended rule 95 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, with a mandate for new designs coming in from October 1, 2022.

However, the existing designs for rolling resistance/wet grip and rolling noise are due to come into force from 1 June 2023 and 1 April 2023 respectively.

Once implemented, it will be included in the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) ratings. Interestingly, the new changes are also related to the government’s plans to introduce a “star rating” system for tires in the country in accordance with the “Tyre Marking” (UNECE R 117) regulations practiced in Europe.

Security aspects

From a vehicle safety perspective, it is well known that tire rolling resistance affects fuel efficiency. On the other hand, wet grip characteristics affect its braking performance in wet conditions. In addition, rolling sound emission refers to the sound produced by the contact between the tires in motion and the road surface.

The government claims that the Global Automotive Research Center (GARC), initiated by the Ministry of Heavy Industries in Chennai, has adequate testing capabilities. This facility, according to the government, has played a significant role in tire labeling and certification testing in India. This infrastructure is in addition to the NABL-accredited International Center for Automotive Technology (iCAT) based in Manesar, which handles tire accreditation, type approval and homologation functions.

However, tire manufacturers point to the limitations of these test centers, which disrupts their operations and delivery schedules. According to the industry, the services of only existing laboratories are available, and only a few are able to conduct mandatory AIS 142 tests in the country.

Tire manufacturers have proposed a revised schedule for fulfilling the mandates. Hence, this will enable the domestic tire industry to test a large number of SKUs of 274, 127, 196 for C1, C2, C3 respectively for the new designs and prepare the tires for Indian roads and weather conditions. .

More time is needed
Foreign tire brands under the auspices of the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association (JATMA), such as Bridgestone Corporation, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Yokohama Rubber Co and Toyo Tire Corporation, noted that the haste with which the new regulations are being implemented is at odds with their home country of Japan.

A similar program in Japan also began with Stage 2 for rolling resistance and noise requirements. For cars, light trucks, lorries and buses of different categories (C1, C2 and C3), the government has allowed 30 to 126 months depending on the category from the date of publication of the rules and the date of their implementation.

JATMA’s document to the government made it clear that it was “extremely difficult” to develop the new tires to meet Stage 2 requirements in a short period of less than four months.

The Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association (ATMA) has emphasized the need to review the test limits based on actual test data of tires manufactured in India under the country’s conditions.

ATMA noted that existing testing agencies may not be able to conduct track testing during extreme seasons of the year. It wants to extend the implementation date to October 2022 for the new design and to October 2023 for existing designs because of the limitations of Phase 1. For the implementation of rolling sound in Phase 2, it wants to extend the deadlines by two years to October 2024 for new tires and October 2025 for existing tires.

Similarly, fearing technical difficulties associated with implementation, the European Tire and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO), a lobbying organization for tire manufacturers from Europe with brands such as Alliance Tire, Continental Barum, Eurotire, Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli, Bridgestone and others . its members shared opinions about testing procedures.

ETRTO claims that the specified tests and methods in India are identical to those in UN Regulation 117, the existing UN test results should be accepted as equivalent for obtaining tire approval.

This article was first published on autocarpro.in


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