Traction Summit 2017: Driving the Industry Forward

Guided by an advisory board from across the industry, the Smithers Rapra Traction Summit 2017 is two full days of programming focused on issues facing the entire tire industry. With presentations from companies on the cutting edge, commercial and technical presentations from some of the best and brightest in the industry. Traction Summit will feature dynamic keynote presentations, multiple plenary sessions, and more. 

For more information about the sessions below, click the arrow to expand.

Pre-Conference Tour

Registration & Check In

  1. Registration & Check In

  2. Depart for Lehigh Technologies, Inc.

  3. Tour of Lehigh Technologies

  4. Depart from Lehigh Technologies

  5. Arrive back at the Grand Hyatt

Day 1: May 9th

Registration & Welcome

Registration and refreshments

  1. Opening Remarks

    Dean Tener | Business Development Manager of Smithers Rapra

Session I : Global Trends

  1. Keynote Address: Future mobility trends and the implications for the tire industry

    David Rohweder | Global Chief Engineer, Tire, Wheel & Jack Systems of Ford Motor Company

    Forecasting the pace of change – and managing the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles 

  2. Consumer Trends: Brand Comparison by Consumer Reports - Which brands make the best tires?

    Gene Petersen | Tire Program Manager / Automotive Test Center of Consumer Reports

    Consumer Report’s brand report card is based on over 150 tire models evaluated among 20 brands.  Brand ranking is based on the average of overall tire score compiled from a weighted average of more than a dozen tests including all-weather performance, rolling resistance, and tread life.  

  3. Refreshment Break

  4. Tire Manufacturer Panel

    Panelists: Continental Tire, Michelin North America, Maxxis, Hankook Tires


    • Jay Spears, Director of Standards and Regulation, The Americas, Continental Tire The Americas, LLC
    • Tom Carter, Technical Communications Director, Product Marketing, Michelin North America
    • Bin Chung, Vice President of Technolgy, Maxxis Tires
    • Jim Fogarty, Manager of Testing, Hankook Tires

    Discussions themes include:

    • Debating tire age, health and long-lasting performance
    • Fuel economy / rolling resistance advancements - Realistically, how much additional efficiency is it possible to gain from tires? How “good” can we make them? Is there a limit?
    • Smarter, lighter, tougher: how can collaboration ensure a robust industry?
  5. What is the future regulatory landscape for the global tire industry

    Madhura Rajapakshe | Test R&D Project Engineer of Smithers Rapra

    •             Where is industry moving regarding requirements of UTQGS ratings - are we adequately prepared for changes ahead?

    •             What tests, methodology, certification will be used for tread wear?

    •             Clarification on tire label implementation in the US

    •             How might fuel efficiency ratings be changed or pushed back by the new Administration

    •             What changes are afoot with Standard Reference Test Tires?

    •             Status of noise abatement regulations and labelling globally

  6. Lunch Break

Session II: Voice of the Customer

  1. Afternoon Remarks

    Jay Spears | Director of Standards and Regulation, The Americas of Continental Tire

  2. OE Panel Discussion

    Panelists: Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors & Ford Motor Company

    Gregory M. Thomas, Senior Engineer: Vehicle Performance Research – Suspension & Steering Dynamics, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.  

    Mitchell Hicks, Tire and Brake System Specialist, Advanced Development Engineering, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

    David Cowger, GSSLT Lead - Tires, General Motors

    Dave Rohweder, Global Chief Engineer, Tire, Wheel & Jack Systems, Ford Motor Company

  3. What Does the Aftermarket Want from Future Tires?

    Woody Rogers | Product Information Specialist of Tire Rack

    We can design tests that measure nearly anything, or give us the answers we want (to hear). But what happens when you listen to what customers think about the tires they own right now? Listen closely and you can learn a lot about what will satisfy them in their future tire purchases.

  4. Refreshments

Session III: Truck Tires, Tire Pressure and Rolling Resistance

  1. What do commercial / truck companies want from future tires? Impact of Greenhouse gas ruling on commercial tire requirements

    Al Cohn | Director New Market Development & Engineering Support of Pressure Systems International

    Effective 1/1/2018, the new 7,700 page GHG-2 rulemaking goes into effect. This 10 year rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving vehicle fuel economy. Trailers are impacted for the first time. This presentation will specifically address the impact low rolling resistance tires (new tires and retreads) and automatic tire inflation systems will play in meeting the fuel efficient guidelines as set forth by the EPA in this rulemaking.

    What makes a low rolling resistance, fuel efficient commercial tire to meet the EPA verified technology list?

    Why are automatic tire inflation systems so popular on trailers?

    What is the future technology to improve trailer fuel economy?

  2. Reducing rolling resistance of commercial truck tires through the use of high surface areas silicas

    Marcus Copperwheat | Technical Marketing Manager of Solvay Silica, North America

    Recent trends in commercial freight activities have compelled many corporations to seek opportunities to improve transportation technologies so they can use less fuel and generate less pollution. High and Very High Surface Area silicas can be used to develop the next generation of low rolling resistance commercial tires and retread technologies in order to reduce both costs and emissions. 

  3. Effect of inflation pressure on tire performance

    R. Christopher Napier | Elastomers Applications Engineer, Global Specialty Polymers Technology of ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

    During the last 30 years, ExxonMobil Chemical has performed a series of surveys of passenger car and truck / bus radial tires to evaluate the influence of halobutyl rubber on inflation pressure loss rates (IPLR) of tires acquired globally. Previous studies have also evaluated the impact of innerliner compound formulations and liner gauge on inflation pressure loss rate as related to tire performance in various static and dynamic laboratory tests.

    The purpose of this most recent body of work is to evaluate the controlled on-vehicle performance of passenger car tires as a function of inflation pressure utilizing well known industry test methods. It was then determined if connections exist between the on-vehicle test results to laboratory testing where applicable.

    This presentation will demonstrate impact of inflation pressure of the tire on rolling resistance, fuel economy, treadwear, handling, and other important performance measures.

  4. Closing Remarks for the Day

  5. Evening Networking Reception

    3rd Floor East Terrace

Day 2: May 10th

Registration & Welcome

Registration and refreshments

  1. Registration

  2. Opening Remarks from the Chair

    R. Christopher Napier | Elastomers Applications Engineer, Global Specialty Polymers Technology of ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

Session IV: Sustainability for the Tire Industry

  1. Designing Out the Biggest Causes of Tire Failure - A Fresh Look at Used Tires

    Tom Carter | Technical Communications Director, Product Marketing of Michelin North America

  2. Sustainability and Recycled Tires

    Hermann Erdmann | CEO of REDISA (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa)

    The increasing pressure on natural resources arising from the growing population, and particularly the even faster-growing population of middle-class consumers, is driving us to look for ways to conserve resources by extending product life, re-using and recovering end-of-life products, and recovering the materials from which they are made. These principles can be incorporated under the Circular Economy concept. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) plays a central role in driving the Circular Economy. A well-conceived EPR programme creates business and employment opportunities, and spurs the development of entire new industry segments, outcomes that easily outweigh its cost and ensure the longevity of our industrialised world. This presentation provides a framework for how that can be achieved.

  3. Sustainable Materials for Tire Applications

    Glenn Denstaedt | Technical Director - Tire and Rubber of Lehigh Technologies

    Globally, over 1 billion tires are removed from service each year requiring new sustainable methods to recover the value of these post-consumer materials. A new, sustainable generation of material has been developed for the rubber industry.  Recovered tire materials have been successfully functionalized while preserving the polymer backbone.  This presentation will provide evidence of functionality on the polymer backbone as well as demonstrate the breaking sulfur-sulfur bonds while maintaining high polymer molecular weight. This functional compound may be used at up to 20% over the original formula base in several different rubber compound applications to generate improvements in key physical and dynamic properties without significant changes in compound viscosity.

  4. Refreshments

Session V: Material Innovations

  1. Lightweighting in Passenger Tires

    Bruce Lambillotte | General Manager – Akron Labs of Smithers Rapra

  2. Functionalized Synthetic Elastomer Solutions for the Tire Market

    Judy Douglas | Head of NA Technical Service and Development of Arlanxeo

    • Comparison of  in-chain and chain end functionalized SSBRs with different microstructures
    • Examining the effect of functionalization on summer tire handling and winter performance lab predictors
    • Opportunities and challenges of functionalized high cis BRs vs anionically polymerized LiBRs
    • Envisioning the benefits of functionalized LiBR in tire sections other than tread compounds
  3. Lunch Break

Session VI: Smart Tires and Intelligent Vehicles

  1. How and Why Vehicles are Getting Smarter and How the Tire Industry Needs to Respond

    Dr. James A. Popio | Vice President of Operations - North America of Smithers Rapra

  2. Smart Tires

    Jay Spears | Director of Standards and Regulation, The Americas of Continental Tire

  3. Intelligent Tire and Sensor Research - From Concept to Reality

    Dr. Saied Taheri | Director, Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe) of Virginia Tech

    coming soon!