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Smithers is pleased to present the Traction Summit 2023 agenda, taking place in May 2023 in San Antonio, TX!

As an added conference benefit, Smithers is planning a tour of a local proving ground on the morning of Thursday, May 25.
Register your interest in attending the Proving Ground Tour.

Registration and Opening Remarks
Registration Open
Session I: Tire Industry Current and Future
Tire Sustainability: The Journey Continues
The path to a more sustainable product can take various directions depending on a number of key variables. In the tire industry, there have been progressive efforts over the past few decades to improve the overall environmental footprint. From recycling end-of-life tires to improving fuel efficiency through better rolling resistance to reducing the impact of tire wear particles, large strides have been made. However, the future of sustainability is still ripe with opportunities. Material developments, tire recycling, and manufacturing processes provide opportunities for continued improvement. Testing and validation has a critical role in reducing potentially negative unintended consequences. This presentation will kick off the 2023 conference by covering current sustainability trends in the industry and introduce some of the key topics that will be addressed during the Traction Summit.
Joshua Guilliams | Vice President, Consulting Materials Science and Engineering, Smithers
The Tire Industry In flux
This presentation will look at the trends and drivers impacting the North American tire market today from the tire dealers’ perspective. These include dealership consolidation, the shift to EVs, competitive changes, and the impact of new technologies/innovations. 
David E. Zielasko | Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Tire Industry Association
Regulations to Watch US and Abroad
Presentations Coming Soon!
Roundtable: Coming Regulations and Impact on Tire Manufacturers
Panelists coming soon!
Networking Break
Session II: Industry Insights – Roadmap to Sustainability
Michelin Presentation
Abstract coming soon!
Olivier Brauen is leading Michelin North America’s commitment to progress in the area of End-of-Life tires. He will be speaking on behalf of Michelin om ambitions and illustration with operational progress Michelin is pursuing.
Olivier Brauen | VP Circularity Business Solutions Development, Michelin
Presentations Coming Soon!
Networking Lunch
Session III: Future Mobility and Automotive Trends
Presentation Coming Soon!
Getting a Pulse on the Electric Vehicle Transformation
The rate of transformation in the automotive industry is accelerating. With EVs now representing the fastest growing sector of the industry and the ecosystem being reshaped by new players, change is inevitable. Join experts from J.D. Power as they discuss where the industry stands in this transformation, where the biggest challenges and opportunities exist, and ultimately, how vehicle electrification is affecting tire consumers.

Brent Gruber | Executive Director, Electric Vehicle Practice, J.D. Power
Ashley Edgar | Senior Director, Automotive Supplier Benchmarking and Alternative Mobility, J.D. Power
Raising the Bar in Automotive Sustainability: A Conversation Between Rivian and Pirelli
A conversation about Rivian’s positioning at the cutting edge of sustainability and its approach to suppliers. Discussion of tire materials and circularity in the automotive industry, responsible sourcing, and collaborative approaches to solving tough environmental and social problems. How much is the auto industry as a whole moving towards sustainability? What are the challenges Rivian and others face in making the electric vehicle transition a reality? How does lifecycle analysis contribute to Rivian’s product design?

Maureen Kline | VP Public Affairs and Sustainability, Pirelli
Nick Santero | Lead for Design for Sustainability, Rivian
Panel Discussion: Future OEM Needs and Requirements from Tomorrow’s Tires
Panelists coming soon!
Networking Break
Session IV: Tire Performance and Sustainability
Presentation Coming Soon!
The Effect of Temperature on Tire Rolling Resistance and Relation to EV Development
Tire rolling resistance (RR) is closely related to overall vehicle fuel economy or range, and it’s common that vehicle manufacturers require tire rolling resistance reduction to help optimize fuel economy/cruising range. Tire rolling resistance measurement requirements for use in consumer tire labeling laws are being released in some countries and districts. Threshold values for tires are being established to achieve energy savings, meet green initiatives, and reduce carbon emissions. Current conventional rolling resistance testing methods only focus on tire performance at an ambient temperature of 24℃ or 25℃, but real-world applications span a much broader range of operation. This paper combines theoretical analysis and experimental methods to explore the rolling resistance of tires at other temperatures.
Matthew Kent | Technical Director, Tire and Wheel Test Lab, Smithers
Leveraging Advanced Data Science Methods to Solve Complex Tire Sustainability Challenges
The tradeoff between CO2 reduction from lack of tailpipe emissions from Electric Vehicles (EV), and the potential increase in environmental impact from tire wear from EVs compared to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is a topic of considerable debate. Furthermore, the complexities of this problem, the dynamic nature of the automotive industry, and the concern for the environment make these topics both salient and complicated. A professor at Georgia State University, in collaboration with representatives from Orion Engineered Carbons, led six teams of graduate students with limited tire, automotive, or rubber subject matter expertise through a semester-long project to address these kinds of questions. The teams of students, all of which studying Data Science and Analytics, leveraged a snapshot of tire inventory data from multiple countries, combined with advanced modeling techniques, to determine the factors that tend to influence tire performance. The analytical techniques applied to this and other types of complex business problems will be discussed, along with ways for framing questions to solve with advanced data science methods, and the value of leveraging these types of skills.
Beverly Wright, PhD, CAP® | Head of Data Science Solutions, Burtch Works
Networking Reception
Registration & Opening Remarks
Morning Refreshments
Opening Remarks
Session V: Material Innovation
Sustainability and Performance side-by-side: The Success of Liquid Farnesene Rubber
Liquid Farnesene Rubber (LFR) is a bio-based and renewable material that gathers performance and sustainability. Using the beta-farnesene monomer that comes from sugar cane, LFR can improve grip performance, rolling resistance and fuel efficiency in Tires. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) shows significantly reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission when compared with conventional liquid rubber, in some cases, up to 108% reduction is achieved. Kuraray will present the latest result of using LFR in SBR formulation for winter tires and GHG index of standard liquid rubbers and LFR.
Abe Tatsuyuki | Sales Engineer, Kuraray
Self-healing Material for the Sustainable Society
Long-term sustainable policy and development of self-healing material will be introduced. Sumitomo Rubber Industries announced the long-term sustainable policy to be working toward the establishment of sustainable society by 2050. Self-healing elastomer is a smart material, contributing to the sustainable society, by means of improving the durability of tires. ENR based self-healing elastomer has been investigated to apply for tire compounds. The physical properties, molecular structure and its characteristics will be introduced.

David Johansen | Vice President -Technical, Sumitomo Rubber
Natural Rubber-Silica Nanocomposites for Improved TBR tread - Commercial Compound Development
The natural rubber - silica interface has been a long-standing problem in tread rubber compound technology. Conventional solid-phase internal mixing technologies that have served the tire industry so well for so long do not work well for this material combination. As a result, tread technology for heavy-duty applications that require natural rubber has not seen the same progress as that for light-duty applications using synthetic rubber. Often, low rolling resistance (LRR) truck and bus radial (TBR) tire tread compounds suffer from poor wear and tear resistance. Founded in 2019 with a National Science Foundation grant, Silpara Technologies has developed a novel material, based on a unique liquid-phase mixing process, for improving the bond between natural rubber and silica in tire tread compounds. Compounds based on Silpara's technology have been developed that show significant improvements to commercial LRR TBR compounds in independent laboratory testing. This presentation is a journey from the nano-scale to the tire-scale: The technology is introduced via remarkable nano-scale imaging; then latest LRR TBR compound test results will be presented, including results from ongoing truck fleet trials
Tom Rosenmayer, PhD | Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Silpara Technologies
Presentation Coming Soon!
Networking Break
Session VI: Sustainability in Action
Bridging the Gap to Tire Sustainability
Join the leaders in tire recycling and circularity, Thomas Womble of Liberty Tire and Tony Wibbeler of Bolder Industries, as they bring a joint perspective on the delicate balance between tire manufacturing, collection, and processing that needs to be achieved to more quickly advance sustainability in tires. This talk will note the gains that have been made, dispel the myths and misunderstandings that have slowed progress, and explore solutions that have the power to move the industry further and faster down the road to scalable, sustainable tires.

Tony Wibbeler | Chief Executive Officer, Bolder Industries
Thomas Womble | Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Tire Recycling
Presentation Coming Soon!
Roundtable: Achieving a Circular Economy
Panelist Include:
Networking Lunch
Session VII: Environmental Impact
6PPD and 6PPDQ Impacts
Roundtable: What are the Focus Areas on Sustainability and the Trade Offs in Terms of Impact
Session VIII: Scrap Tire Market Development
Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA) is a New Sustainable Aggregate and is one part of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Stormwater Infiltration Galleries.
In 2021, over 274 million scrap tires were generated in the United States (USTMA, 2022). TDA has been proven as an ideal stormwater retention/detention aggregate for infiltration galleries. TDA has a 50% void space allowing for 13 ft3 of water to be stored in 1 yd3 of TDA. This is a helpful part of designing a cost-effective stormwater infiltration system. TDA has very high permeability and twice as much void space by volume when replacing gravel or stone in stormwater infiltration systems. With current research showing the water cleaning capabilities of this product, the stormwater systems designed with TDA serve two purposes: water storage and water treatment. Our nation’s stormwater runoff is an expensive water pollution challenge. As stormwater hits impervious surfaces, it transports phosphorus, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites, metals, and organic compounds from the land into our surface waters and then ground water. Hence, untreated stormwater runoff is a principal contributor to flooding and the contamination of our precious water resources. One goal of stormwater management BMPs is to control and improve the quality of runoff. TDA is also recognized for its sorptive capacity to remove dissolved and suspended water contaminants. TDA consists of 75% to 80% w/w of organic carbon material and 10 to 15% w/w ferric material - the steel bead Wires Exposed TDA (We TDA) material. TDA attracts long-chain non-polar organic chemicals, adsorbs heavy metals and organic compounds, degrades halogenated compounds, and precipitates nutrients. Furthermore, TDA provides surface area for regenerative and increased biofilm growth over twice as much as stone, which in turn biologically removes contaminants from runoff. Using TDA in stormwater management systems can treat runoff that pollutes receiving water bodies due to anthropogenic activities. Experiments were conducted to study inorganic phosphate removal using metal wires from TDA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Laboratory experiments showed that up to 97% of dissolved inorganic phosphate could be removed with We TDA material in a 3:1 ratio of ferric wire to inorganic phosphate in batch tests and 80% removal in a continuous system with 60-cm wire exposed TDA material. This material is currently being studied for capturing contaminants of emerging concerns, like microplastics. TDA has a high adsorbing capacity due to a big surface area for removing water contaminants found in stormwater. Several studies revealed that TDA can remove sediment, oil, and grease up to 98 and 99%, respectively (Mandal and Warith, 2008; García-Pérez et al. 2015). Moreover, TDA was reported to remove BTEX toxic chemicals that are cariogenic such as ethylbenzene and toluene up to 99% (Kim et al., 1997; Gunasekara et al. 2000). TDA was also proven to reduce nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) that lead to algal bloom and eutrophication of water bodies up to 90% (Wang et al., 2011; Zhou et al., 2016; García-Pérez et al., 2015). Alternatively, TDA was revealed to remove pathogens, viruses, and bacteria from leachate by decreasing the crucial Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) up to 90% and 96% respectively. Some studies have reported TDA's capability to remove heavy metals (Cr and Cd) from the water with ultrasound (up to 47 and 63%, respectively). TDA also absorbs organics from water since it contains polymers and black carbon, which enables the growth of biomass that, in turn, serves as a biofilter (Mandal and Warith, 2008). Keywords: Stormwater, Sustainability, Material Reuse, Biodiversity in Civil Engineering, Circular Economy
Monte Niemi | CEO, First State Tire Recycling and TDA Manufacturing
Presentations Coming Soon!
End of Conference
Check In and Breakfast
Morning Refreshments Breakfast
Opening Remarks and Tour Introduction
Depart for Proving Ground
Transportation Provided
Proving Ground Tour
Proving Ground Tour
Participants will have a chance to see various track and surface types including wet and dry VDA’s, a high-speed oval, and off-road trails.
The Smithers team members and proving ground staff will be on hand to answer any questions.
Depart for Hotel
Transportation Provided
*Schedule is subject to change