Goodyear is celebrating its 75th year of tyre testing operations in San Angelo, Texas in style, having opened two new expansion projects at the facility that can be used to evaluate performance of a diverse range of products, from sports car tyres to earthmover rubber.
A highlight is Goodyear’s second vehicle dynamics area – a 324,000 square foot paved pad – which is optimised for tyre testing in extreme wet conditions and has a precision-engineered paved surface with a 1° slope to enable constant water flow across the surface. All water is recycled and reused.
Goodyear is also building an additional evaluation facility for off-the-road products that will include state-of-the-art equipment for testing the industry’s largest earthmover tyres. In addition to what the company describes as “significant improvements” in its capabilities for testing and analysis of large off-the-road tires, Goodyear has also added a 250-ton, 25ft-tall earthmover haul truck to its test fleet.
The company established its largest tyre evaluation centre, the San Angelo facility, in 1944 and built its first test surface there in 1957. The San Angelo Proving Grounds facility, with an assortment of tracks and test labs spread across 7,250 acres, enables Goodyear to conduct extensive on- and off-road testing. The facility includes 58 miles of roads and track, 14 miles of fence and more than 200 test vehicles. Associates there test approximately 20,000 tyres annually on 53 different test surfaces, ranging from asphalt and concrete to bricks, blocks, dirt, mud and more.
“This enormous testing facility is vital to Goodyear’s product development process, and we are continuing to invest in its capability to bring innovative tyres to customers,” said Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer. “Countless applications in consumer and commercial tyres, including the use of unique sustainable materials, advanced fuel-efficiency technologies and even tyres that can operate with no air have been tested at San Angelo.”
Goodyear also operates testing and proving grounds in global locations, including Americana, Brazil; Akron, Ohio (USA); Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg; Mireval, France; Wittlich, Germany; and Ivalo, Finland.