Pirelli, a global leader in tyre manufacturing, has recently inaugurated its Virtual Development Center (VDC) in Breuberg, Germany, setting a new benchmark in tyre development. This pioneering facility, staffed with around 2,500 employees including 250 development engineers, represents a significant stride in Pirelli's commitment to innovation and sustainability.
The VDC is a testament to Pirelli's growth in Germany and is poised to transform the way tyres are developed and tested. By employing virtual technologies, the premium tyre manufacturer is able to reduce tyre development time by up to 30%, significantly cutting down the need to produce physical prototypes by the same margin. This leap in efficiency not only saves time and resources but also aligns with Pirelli's ambitious goal of achieving CO2-neutral production by 2030.
Thomas Michel, Chief Technological Officer at Pirelli Germany, elaborates on the capabilities of the VDC: "In our VDC, we can develop tyres for cars that don't yet exist in reality, but which are provided to us by car manufacturers in the form of digital models." The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and neural networks into this innovative development process accelerates the creation of virtual tyre models, reducing tasks that once took hours or days to mere seconds.
The VDC includes a state-of-the-art driving simulator, allowing Pirelli engineers to input virtual versions of vehicle models from car manufacturers and conduct test drives with virtual tyre models. This advanced setup enables the engineers to precisely gauge how various interventions, such as steering, acceleration, and braking, impact or should impact the vehicle's behavior.
Florian Waffenschmidt, Head of VDC, highlights the facility's comprehensive capabilities: "The VDC, including the simulator, supports all virtual project phases for German car manufacturers. We virtually test tyres for combustion engines as well as our tyres with Elect technology for electric cars and plug-in hybrids."
Pirelli's Virtual Development Center in Breuberg not only underlines the company's role as an innovation leader in the tyre industry but also signifies its readiness to embrace the new era of mobility. The combination of high-tech simulation, AI, and expert engineering expertise positions Pirelli at the forefront of tyre technology development.
About Pirelli: Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a renowned name in the tyre industry, known for its dedicated consumer tyre division catering to cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. With a strong focus on high-quality tyres characterized by advanced technology, Pirelli maintains over 3,900 homologations through partnerships with leading car manufacturers. The company's commitment to research and development is evident in its substantial investment in this area, amounting to around 5.5% of its premium product sales in 2022.
Pirelli's Virtual Development Center in Breuberg is more than just a facility; it's a revolutionary approach to tyre development, paving the way for more efficient, sustainable, and advanced tyre technology in the automotive industry.