Flexible response

Nokian Tyres is the world leader when it comes to winter tyres. For the tyres to remain elastic and flexible in the freezing cold, they need naphthenic oils from Nynas.
CASE STORYNOKIAN TYRES - TYRE OILS
  • COMPANY Nokian tyres
  • PRODUCT Nynas naphthenic oil
  • SEGMENT Tyre oils

Nokian Tyres is the world leader when it comes to winter tyres. For the tyres to remain elastic and flexible in the freezing cold, they need naphthenic oils from Nynas.

Winter tyres require a lot of elasticity and flexibility to stay soft in temperatures that can drop to minus 40 or 50 degrees Celsius. The cold makes the tyres hard but the oils make them soft, which they need to be able to handle snowy roads safely, says Nokian Tyres Research and Development Manager Mika Lahtinen in Finland.

Nokian Tyres plants in Russia and Finland provide an annual capacity of 18 million tyres a year with the current work shift arrangements. With expanding legislation regulating winter tyres, the company is operating in a growing industry.

Nokian Tyres started working with Nynas in 2004, and Mika Lahtinen has worked with Nynas since 2008. Nynas is a highly valued partner, as it provides Nokian Tyres with the crucial naphthenic oils that make its winter tyres safe. “Nynas understands the needs of the industry, and has been very quick to respond and proactive all these years we have worked together,” Lahtinen says. “They are especially knowledgeable when it comes to winter conditions. The oil that we use is especially produced for us to meet our needs.”

As R&D Manager, Mika Lahtinen is responsible for all tyre materials, and he has 30 employees reporting to him. “My group develops the rubber compounds that we use to build the tyres,” he says. “The team works both in our plants and in our laboratory. Our customers have different needs, and when developing our product we have to make sure to match those needs and requirements.”

Nokian Tyres’ customers can be found mostly in regions with severe winter conditions. The main markets are Scandinavia, Russia and the CIS countries, Central and Eastern Europe, and North America.

Most of the tyres that Lahtinen and his team build are for passenger cars and SUVs, but they also make special tyres for forestry machines and mining equipment. The biggest product category is winter tyres, but the company also develops and produces replacements for summer tyres. Demand for winter tyres is increasing, as more countries have adopted legislation governing winter tyres in recent years. Examples of those countries are Italy and Czech Republic , which have become an important market for the tyre industry.

Although Nokian Tyres is the world leader when it comes to winter tyres, Lahtinen says the competition is tough. “We need to stay ahead of our competitors, some of whom have a lot more resources,” he says. “It is important for us to always strive to be better and better and develop tyres that are safer and safer. We need to reinvent the wheel every day.”

Lahtinen says he enjoys working with Nynas as a partner. He communicates regularly with his contact people via email, and they meet in person several times a year. Nynas’ naphthenic oils are also used in the process of producing rubber for other tyres. The oil then functions more as a production tool.

“Traditionally the tyre industry has used certain chemical components that are harmful to the environment,” Lahtinen says. “The naphthenic oil can be used in the process to make those components safer and less harmful.” Lahtinen talks to sales representatives as well as research and development officials to make sure they obtain the most suitable naphthenic oils for production at their plant in Nokia, Finland.

It is clear that Lahtinen is proud of his product, and he keeps an eye out for Nokian Tyres wherever he goes in the world. “When I recently went to Madeira on vacation I saw Nokian Tyres on the cars,” he says. “That made me really proud. Usually I spot the most Nokian tyres in parts of the world that have decent winters.”

About Nokian Tyres

Nokian Tyres is the only tyre manufacturer in the world that focuses on products and services that facilitate safe transportation in northern conditions. The company’s innovative passenger car, truck and heavy duty machinery tyres are mainly marketed in areas that have snow, forest and changing seasons that make driving conditions demanding.

When Nokian Tyres develops its products, it aims at sustainable safety and environmental friendliness throughout the life cycle of the product. The company reported net sales of more than EUR 1.5 billion in 2013 and had 4,170 employees at the end of the year. Nokian Tyres plc’s shares are quoted on NASDAQ OMX in Helsinki

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