Environment | Value natural resources
Action1: Reduce raw material consumption Value natural resources

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Our approach

Given the increase in demand accompanying population growth and people’s desires for more convenient lifestyles, there are concerns that, if nothing changes, the demand for raw materials will exceed the Earth’s capacity. Avoiding this will require constructing systems to decouple the environmental footprint caused by growing demand. To succeed in decoupling, the Bridgestone Group is taking steps to improve our resource productivity.

Technologies to reduce raw material consumption

In the case of tires, for example, the Group foresees both an ongoing requirement for lower fuel consumption and continuous environmental performance improvements without sacrificing comfort and safety functionalities. At the same time, the Group promotes new business models and the development of technology for reducing the volume of raw materials used to make each product.

Technology that achieves both environmental benefits and driving performance: ENLITEN

ENLITEN technology makes it possible to reduce the weight of tires by approximately 20% and rolling resistance by approximately 30%*1 compared to conventional passenger car tires. It achieves these benefits by reducing the number of components used in tires, while maintaining driving performance and tire life. This makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions caused by tires by about 30% when driving gasoline-powered vehicles. It also contributes to reducing environmental impact and the achievement of a mobile society by extending the driving range of electric vehicles (EVs) on a single charge. It further contributes to improved resource productivity by reducing total material weight.

  1. Comparison made using the 225/40R18 tire size

The Bridgestone Group is developing tire technologies to reduce the volume of raw materials while keeping the original durability and safety. Leveraging the strength of our upstream and downstream supply chain, the Group is conducting research on material development, product design, and manufacturing technologies of tires.

Durability improving technologies: SUSYM™

SUSYM*1 is the next step in the evolution of the High Strength Rubber*2 announced in 2018. SUSYM boasts the high levels of durability and resistance found in conventional rubber coupled with substantially higher levels of performance with regard to (1) difficulty of opening holes (puncture resistance), (2) fixability (recyclability, repairability), and (3) resistance to low temperatures (low-temperature impact resistance).

SUSYM is capable of enhancing performance in these areas while maintaining the flexibility of rubber and durability of resin. These features make SUSYM highly applicable to various fields other than tires, and it is thus, a revolutionary new material capable of achieving "symbiosis" with our society. Furthermore, SUSYM boasts the high levels of durability and resistance of conventional rubber and is therefore capable of realizing the various types of performance required in tires while using fewer resources. This material is also recyclable. Accordingly, Bridgestone anticipates that SUSYM, as a new material that harmonizes with the environment in a "symphony" that will make contributions to a "sustainable" society.

Bridgestone will move forward with research and development of applying the benefits of this proprietary technology to various fields while collaborating with a range of companies and organizations. In this manner, the Company will work to expand the limitless potential of SUSYM as a material.

For more information, see “”SUSYM™” World-First Polymer that Combines Rubbers and Resins on the Molecular Level.”

  1. The name SUSYM represents a combination of the words "sustain," "symphony," and "symbiosis" that encapsulates the meanings of these words.
  2. For details of the High Strength Rubber, see “Bridgestone Successfully Develops World's First Polymer Using Advanced Synthetic Technology for Forming Hybrid Polymer”.

Cutting-edge RRR structure for aircraft tires

The revolutionarily reinforced radial (RRR) tires have a new belt structure using highly elastic, high-strength fibers that delivers improved safety performance compared to the previous tire structure. The RRR structure also reduces tire weight of 7 to 10 percent, therefore using less raw materials.

For more information, see “Revolutionarily Reinforced Radial (RRR).”

Composite material research to reduce tire weight

A thinner tire is a lighter tire, which improves fuel economy and also saves resources by using less raw materials. However, making a tire thinner requires first ensuring sufficient durability, and developing new tough materials that exceed existing technology. Bridgestone participated in the Japanese Cabinet Office’s ImPACT*1 initiative by conducting research aimed at creating an ultrathin, durable, flexible and tough polymer. The Company announced its research results in 2018.

Through this research, the Company was able to develop a groundbreaking rubber material by improving material property by 15 percent, thereby contributing to better fuel economy, while realizing a fivefold increase in tear strength. Currently, it is making and evaluating prototypes of tires using the new rubber material for commercialization by the early 2020s. The Bridgestone Group will continue to pursue material use reduction and better fuel economy toward a sustainable society.

For more information, see “Double-Network Rubber Boasting Flexibility and Toughness for Realizing Both Fuel Efficiency and Durability.”

  1. The Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT) aims to generate innovative technologies that if realized would revolutionize industry and society. It was established to promote high-risk, high-impact, ambitious research and development.

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