Since January 5, Yokohama has been operating a new indoor ice circle test facility at its Tire Test Center of Hokkaido (TTCH) in Japan. The site – which is housed within a 56 x 56m building and has a 1,960m2 ice surface – has been designed specifically for testing a winter tire’s turning performance on ice. It is the country’s largest indoor facility for conducting this type of testing, enabling turning radiuses of between 10m and 22m.
The tire maker constructed the site to improve the turning performance of Yokohama-branded products on ice – a performance parameter which is stated to be the second most important on ice-covered roads after braking performance.
Yokohama’s indoor facility benefits from being able to maintain the ice surface’s condition, as the testing surface is unaffected by weather elements, which is a challenge that outdoor test sites face. Due to this, the accuracy of gathered testing data is significantly improved which enables the development of more advanced tire technologies.
TTCH was opened by Yokohama Rubber in December 2015 and has progressively introduced more advanced and sophisticated testing and evaluation methods to support the expansion of its global tire business.
In January 2018 the site opened its first indoor facility with an ice track for testing winter tires. This facility was then upgraded in November 2020 with the addition of Japan’s largest indoor cooling unit, enabling the ice surface temperature to be set between -10°C and 0°C.
The recently completed indoor ice circle test facility has been constructed next to the manufacturer’s indoor ice-surface test facility and both will be used by Yokohama to conduct the efficient testing of winter tires, ensuring a high level of safety for users of its products.