Hankook tyres as original equipment for the luxury class of a premium car manufacturer

Hankook is the original equipment manufacturer for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class across all markets for the very first time, featuring three different tyre types for summer, winter and all-season

It is the “MO” label on the sidewall that Hankook is particularly proud of. The two letters stand for “Mercedes Original”, and only tyres that match the strict quality criteria are approved as original equipment for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. After all, the tyres must be perfectly matched to the respective vehicle model. A tyre has to fulfil up to 50 criteria to meet the strict quality requirements of the Mercedes-Benz Group in terms of safety, precision and comfort.

Sanghoon Lee, President of Hankook Tire Europe: “’We are very proud to be the original equipment supplier for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is considered the absolute top of the luxury segment in the global automotive industry. We see this as confirmation that our products meet the highest requirements across different markets”.

Multiple Hankook tyre dimensions and types for the top model

After Hankook was already represented with a basic tyre on a previous model, the premium car manufacturer has now included Hankook as the original equipment manufacturer for a large number of different tyre sizes and types following its approval for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. For the current luxury saloon car presented in September 2020, Hankook supplies three different tyre types, for summer, winter and all-season in a range of different sizes.

In the European market, the Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 summer tyres for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class range from size 255/50 R18 to 285/40 R19. The Mercedes-Benz Group has approved the Hankook Winter i*cept evo 2 in sizes 255/50 R18 and 255/45 R19 as winter tyres for its top model. The Hankook engineers were able to significantly improve the driving behaviour of both tyre types with an aramid hybrid reinforcement belt.

The Hankook Winter i*cept evo 2 also boasts a further optimised tread stiffness, which is beneficial in terms of handling and mileage. Klaus Krause, Head of the Hankook Europe Technical Center in Hanover, who played a key role in the development of the tyres in accordance with MO specifications: “During the transition from the first to the second casting, we applied additional cross-braces and a lower tread depth. Narrower lateral tread grooves and a modified contour on the second upper groove once again brought about measurable progress in terms of noise comfort.”

Runflat versions also released

With the Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 and the Hankook Winter i*cept evo 2, the tyre manufacturer also meets the extreme requirements of a runflat tyre and has earned the MOE seal of approval on the tyre wall. The Mercedes-Benz Group uses the “MOE” (= Mercedes Original Extended) label to designate runflat tyres with reinforced sidewalls. They can continue to be driven at up to 80 km/h even in the event of a sudden loss of pressure. They guarantee sufficient mobility even in the event of a flat tyre, allowing the driver to get from the motorway or a country road to the nearest Mercedes-Benz dealership for example. Nevertheless, even the Hankook runflat tyres are characterised by a high level of driving comfort, since they only pass on the bumps in the road to the chassis and thus the passengers to a very small extent.

In the United States, high speed indices play a minor role due to restrictive speed limits. On the other hand, this market, which is very important for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, has extremely high requirements when it comes to ride and noise comfort. These are all criteria for which even the all-weather tyres from Hankook were able to fulfil. American customers of this luxury model benefit from the excellent properties of the Hankook Ventus S1 noble 2 in size 255/45 R 19 and in the runflat design.

For the USA only: Hankook Sound Absorber™ for particular noise comfort

The Ventus S1 noble 2 in size 255/40 R20 for this car is even more comfortable. The “MOE-S” label (Mercedes Original Extended Silent) on the tyre wall indicates that the tyre is particularly quiet. In order to meet the stringent noise requirements for this category, the engineers applied Hankook Sound Absorber™. This involves integrating a special polyurethane foam plate into the tyre body during the manufacturing process. The plate minimises the vibrations of the air column inside the tyre which are perceived as a particularly unpleasant humming sound. Hankook Sound Absorber™ tyres can reduce the peak noise level by five to seven dB(A) and are particularly suitable for ultra-high-performance tyres with small cross-sections but large overall resonance cavities.

Complex simulation tools were used when developing tyres for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, especially when optimising the pass-by noise. These tools make it possible to precisely compare the values calculated in advance with the actual noise development of prototype tyres. While the main part of the development work took place in the high-tech R&D centre Hankook Technodome, which opened in 2016, the engineers mainly used test tracks in Germany, Finland or Spain for practical testing.

Improvements also in the manufacturing process

The Hankook engineers also identified potential for improvement in the manufacturing process. The all-season and winter tyres in particular have benefited from a new mould release method. While the even separation of the green tyre and the mould was previously ensured by eight mould sectors with almost identical angles, Hankook now uses nine or eleven sectors with different angles. The result is that the tyres now meet the strict uniformity goals of the premium manufacturer even better than before while also boasting more harmonious rolling characteristics.

SOURCE: Hankook

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