Product responsibility is connected with everything we do, including product safety, quality, and compliance. Responsibility covers our processes from research and product development to testing, production, and procurement and purchasing as well as all of the stages and functions of our supply chain. Our product responsibility also includes product marketing and communication to consumers.
The product development organization comprises three key functions and their support departments:
1. Materials development focuses on tires and retreading materials. New raw materials and innovations are developed through research projects, often in collaboration with raw material suppliers.
2. Structural design focuses on the different tire components that affect, among others, handling, tire noise, and rolling resistance. Reducing the rolling resistance is one of our key goals in product development as low rolling resistance reduces the fuel consumption of vehicles and therefore CO2 emissions.
3. Tread model design creates the tread models for new tires. The tread model affects the tire’s aquaplaning properties, grip, and handling, for example.
These three functions are supported by the testing department and tire technology department:
The testing department tests the high-speed durability, wear durability and rolling resistance of tires in laboratory conditions. Only the best tires pass through to track testing under actual conditions. Our test drivers test the selected tires several times in order to gain as much information as possible about their performance.
The tire technology department tests new ideas for tires, provides feedback to the product development departments and takes new products to production.
Working groups. The work related to product responsibility is also carried out by cross-organizational working groups, which enable us to ensure extensive competence at the development of a tire as well as during commercial production.
RAW MATERIALS ENTER PRODUCTION THROUGH THE LABORATORY
In addition to rubber compounds, we use steel, textiles, and other reinforcing materials in tire production. Rubber compounds contain natural rubber, synthetic rubber, oils, and fillers, such as carbon black and silica as well as sulfur and various chemicals. A tire typically contains 50% polymers, 30% fillers, and 20% reinforcing materials, softeners, and chemicals.
In our production, we only use raw materials that have been approved by our laboratory. Before raw material batches can be used in rubber compounds, they must wait until our laboratory clears them for production.
RIGOROUS STANDARDS GUIDE OUR INNOVATIONS
The development process of a new tire takes 2 to 4 years. Consumers’ tire choice should be based on the tire’s suitability for their
use scenario and driving style. For example, a contractor who operates heavy machinery requires a different type of tire than someone who drives a passenger car. In line with our global product policy, we offer tailored products and precision innovations for various circumstances and markets.
Our tires undergo several tests to examine the tire’s behavior in a range of conditions as well as its durability and eco-friendliness. Communities, regions, and organizations (such as EU and UN) have all specified standards that a tire must meet before entering the market. Our large markets use a total of 28 tire tests that examine the properties of finished products. The amount of testing is increasing as more tests and more stringent requirements are being put in place.
The wet grip requirement in the European market tightened in 2018 and applies to all van and light truck tires on the market. In addition, stricter rolling resistance limits for passenger car, van, and light truck tires became effective in 2018.
PROCEDURE IN CASE OF A FAULT
We employ a quality management system for tracking our products over their entire life cycle and ensuring that all of the tire lots that are cleared for sale comply with the applicable decrees and regulations. We systematically track product quality and our quality assurance results and swiftly take the necessary measures for ensuring safety.
Our Group has not had any major product recalls in more than 19 years. Furthermore, Nokian Tyres has not been involved in any legal proceedings regarding product liability.
The essential instructions apply to handling customer complaints, limitation of sale, and recalling a sales batch. We have the capability to recall the products from the wholesale and retail level or, in addition, from end consumers and to immediately report all such events to the authorities in the countries where the affected tires are being sold. Our instructions also cover country-specific guidelines, such as the reporting required by the NHTSA in the United States.
All Group personnel are instructed to report any quality deviations that they become aware of. We follow the EU product safety database that records all of the recall events in the industry. The data helps us anticipate the likelihood of similar risks in our own processes.