Michelin has acquired the “Fox Farm” artic test centre in Ivalo, Finland in order to “reinforce its testing and approval operations for winter tyres for passenger cars, vans and trucks”.
Michelin, which made the purchase through its Michelin European Technology Centre, reports that it has operated the site for more than 20 years on an exclusive basis, regularly carrying out its testing and approval operations for winter tyres there. According to the company, the purchase guarantees Michelin can control its own test equipment and “top up” its winter testing resources, which range from Alpine passes to the Finnish plains as well as indoor infrastructures.
About the Fox Farm
Ivalo was selected for its “extreme climatic conditions” and the quality of the snow, which has a different consistency to Alpine snow. In fact, 3 PMSF (3 Peaks Mountain Snow Flake, the European logo for winter tyre performance) certified tyres are partially tested at the Ivalo site.
Located 300 kilometre north of the Arctic Circle, with temperatures ranging from 0° to -30° (from November to end-March) the Fox Farm covers 60 hectares with 20 hectares of tracks including a of 1.7 km snow test track; five 500 – 800 metre platforms for longitudinal testing (braking and acceleration); two ice tracks; four circular tracks for testing transversal grip; and one 8 per cent ramp dedicated to start-up/acceleration tests.
In 2016 Michelin will celebrate 70 years of operations in Finland. 2000 winter tyres were tested by Michelin in 2014 at the Ivalo tracks, including 400 truck tyres and 1600 Passenger car and Van tyres. A third of these tyres are from the X Ice range, specifically developed for extremely cold areas such as the Nordic countries and Russia. The remainder are from the Alpine range dedicated to the rest of Europe. 270,000 km have been covered on snow and ice in winter conditions in areas north of the Arctic Circle, since the first series of winter tests in 1988 – an average of 10,000 km each year, plus an additional 2000 km of tests carried out in Alpine conditions in southern Europe each year.
Tyre tests carried out at Ivalo include tart-up acceleration on snow; braking on snow; traction on snow; timed testing for behaviour on snow; transversal grip on snow; traction on ice; braking on ice; transversal grip on ice; timed test circuits on ice; stud ejection (nordic tyres); and start-up on ice.