Driving tests (application tests) at Aircom Automotive
Driving tests performed at Aircom Automotive are an integral process in development of our products.
How do we test our tire repair kits?
We test tire repair kits, that is, wheel compressors and tire sealants, using various methods. In addition to basic measurements of functional and physicochemical parameters as well as tests done using test stations, we also put our kits through application tests, specifically driving tests. At Aircom Automotive, we test our products using a test car. Engineers carry out tests on the basis of specifications sent by customers, i.e. automotive concerns. The idea behind these tests is to replicate the real conditions under which a tire repair kit would be used.
One of the key guidelines from our customers is how a puncture is made and its location. For this purpose, we use a defined tool with an appropriate diameter, which we then use to pierce the tire in a specific place. The standard puncture area of the tire is its shoulder particularly the place where the tread ends. According to statistical research, this place is damaged just as often as the tread itself, however it presents a greater challenge in terms of sealing. This approach is part of the worst case scenario standard in the automotive industry. Importantly, when puncturing the tire engineers need to make it at the correct and identical angle. The specifications also include the scope of leaks, including loss of air from a flat tire.
Based on the parameters indicated above, we pierce the tire and then proceed to seal it with our repair kit. At this stage, we have to consider the next specification which includes the pressure values achieved by the compressor when inflating the tire. In addition, the driving time and distance that must be traveled by car after using the repair kit in order to seal the tire is strictly defined. The maximum speed of the car during the test is also specified. Engineers thoroughly test the sealing ability by checking the durability of the tire seal immediately after the operation, and then after a day, and also after driving 300 km. In this way, we are able to ensure that the sealing of the damaged tire is durable and will also allow the customer to cover a longer distance.
When conducting driving tests, we always take into account the size and type of tire. We test our set on various types of tires – not only summer, winter, and all-season tires. We also test on tires for Premium class cars. Among them, noise-reducing or noise-absorbing tires receive special attention.
In performing driving tests, our engineers attach great importance to the analysis of all variables, including weather conditions, temperature, air humidity, and pavement condition. To better experience and understand the functionality of the tire repair kit, they also conduct tests using a thermal imaging camera to observe temperature changes.
The most demanding tests take place at extremely low temperatures. These tests are part of the approval process of our company’s products. To this end, Aircom engineers, along with customer representatives and representatives from certification bodies (such as TÜV), travel to Arjeplog in northern Sweden. The next Aircom escapade to Scandinavia will take place at the beginning of 2020.
How long have we been testing tire repair kits at Aircom?
Research and development have always played an important role at Aircom, which is why driving tests have become an integral part of developing new products. However, it is this year that we have really seen an increase in testing.
Testing in the last three years at Aircom
2017 – approx. 15 tests / month
2018 – approx. 80 tests / month
2019 – approx. 180 tests / month
So we can say that in the last two years we have increased testing 1200%.
What is the reason behind the increased number of Aircom tire repair tests?
Due to our dynamically developing technological facilities, we are now able to perform as many tests per month as we did two years ago in the whole year. We have laboratories and appropriate technical facilities, i.e. a testing workshop. We have an extensive team specializing in testing. We are also consistently developing new technologies.
Because of that, we are able to improve our products faster and more efficiently. The samples we prepare are checked immediately in application tests. Similarly, benchmarking is a very important tool for us to achieve a competitive advantage. We check new products on the market in-house – both products and chemical raw materials (ecological, biotechnological, from natural sources), as well as technologies.
What are the benefits of testing tire repair kits?
The results of driving tests provide the most data on the effectiveness of the tire repair kit and its ease of use. These results also indicate the direction of development and optimization of our products. Consequently, driving tests strengthen the company’s role on the market and emphasize its expert image. It should be noted that such research, while helping in product development, allows for real financial savings. We also reduce staff training costs thanks to the UX-related application tests.
Text prepared with the cooperation of:
Chemical Products R&D Manager