Kumho Tire Central Research Institute, the Cradle of Technological Prowess for a Jumpstart in Global Market
The first Korean tire maker to open its central research institute in the Seoul metropolitan area
Kumho Tire Central Research Institute boasts of the industry’s top-rated super computer,
state-of-the-art physical testing equipment, chemical testing and instrumental
analysis facilities, and characteristic research testing systems.
Kumho Tire has become the first Korean tire maker to establish its central research institute in the Seoul metropolitan area, a move designed to show its commitment to making a leap forward by ramping up its R&D capabilities.
Kumho Tire Central Research Institute, nestled on a lot of 34,873 square meters at Jigok-dong, Giheung-gu, Yongin City, Gyeonggi-do, opened on Sept. 2, five years after the project broke ground. It comprises a research wing and an experiment wing. The research institute, armed with some 600 Korean and foreign researchers, boasts of the industry’s top-rated super computer, state-of-the-art physical testing equipment, chemical testing and instrumental analysis facilities, and characteristic research testing systems so that researchers can develop value-added products and carry out key research works to give the company a jumpstart in the global market by 2016.
With the opening of the Central Research Institute, the Korean tire maker strives to pursue quantitative expansion and qualitative growth by ramping up its technological prowess and nurturing gifted manpower by 2016 and plans to declare a vision of completing organizational reform.
The Central Research Institute will act as a control tower of a global R&D network that connects the American Technical Center in Akron, Ohio, the United States (KATC), Kumho Tire Europe Technical Center in Frankfurt, Germany (KETC), Kumho Tire China Technical Center in Tianjin, China (KCTC), and Kumho Performance Center (KPC) in Gwangju, Korea.
In particular, Kumho Tire has a two-track format: the newly opened Central Research Institute, responsible for exclusive basic research and development of new products, and the KPC, which is charged with evaluating finished products and monitoring quality.
The KPC, characterized as a production plant and a proving ground, functions as a specialized testing center, which is being further strengthened. The center, manned with technology support crews, is to be charged with evaluating the performance of finished products and monitoring the performance and quality of mass production items.
Kumho Tire’s souped-up R&D network comes at the behest of Kumho-Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-ku. The move is in line with a strategy of accelerating the development of new products and research of key technologies by cashing in on the geographical advantage of the Central Research Institute — proximity to the capital — in order to secure its competitive edge which dovetails with its standing as a world-class player in the global market. The Central Research Institute’s reinforced research manpower and advanced facilities are expected to make it a mecca of technological prowess in which the Korean tire maker can better cope with changes in the global market in a swift and timely manner and secure the position of industry leader.
The Yongin area surrounding the Central Research Institute is now emerging as an automobile R&D center since research arms of such automakers as Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Renault Samsung, and Hyundai Mobis are clustered there. It is also known as an automotive parts industry cluster where Kumho Tire finds it easier to secure gifted manpower because the racing circuit speedway of Everland is located there on top of adequate automotive parts and tire industry infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Kumho Tire, which is set to graduate from its work-out program soon, is devoting itself to returning management to normal. The company, which turned a net profit and saw its operating profit surge twice in 2012, has built a solid foundation for a turnaround.
Kumho Tire President Kim Chang-kyu said, “Securing world-class technological power is the surest route to becoming a world-class tire maker. On top of the establishment of the Central Research Institute for expanding R&D infrastructure, we’ll strive to raise our competitive edge by carrying diverse means such as the expansion of our overseas manufacturing plants and the expansion of OE supplies to foreign automakers.”
Kumho Tire has shown off its technological prowess by developing an F1 racing tire, a run flat tire, and an electric vehicle tire for the first time in Korea, and has spearheaded innovation by releasing the newest high-performance tire such as the S-UHP Tire ECSTA PS91.