Knowing how to stay ahead of the competition, imagining the future and implementing the most sophisticated and sustainable technologies. In other words, innovating. A necessary condition in order to grow and stay competitive. At Pirelli, this translates into research into innovative materials, new products and new processes. Indeed, these are the very same categories in which the Milan-based tyre manufacturer filed the largest number of patents (47) in 2020, ranking among the top three Italian companies to have submitted the largest quantity of patent applications to EPO, the European Patent Office, a body in charge of all European patents based in Munich.
In a year in which the pandemic significantly slowed global economic growth and, as a result, had repercussions on all sectors of the economy, Italy was one of the few European countries to have increased the number of patent applications submitted compared to 2019. Out of 180,250 patent applications filed in Europe, 4,600 were filed by Italian companies and inventors (+2.9% compared to 2019). The Italian national patent applications filed with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (Italian acronym UIBM) exceeded 11,000 for the first time (+878 compared to the total in 2019). Italy thus confirms its ranking as the tenth country in the world with the largest number of patents submitted, with the Lombardy Region coming in first, ahead of all the other Italian regions.
In Italy, the transport sector, where many automotive patents are filed, constituted the first technological field for the third consecutive year, and Pirelli confirmed its innovative role at the top of the automotive companies category. The company based in Bicocca has filed hundreds of patents over the years on its most famous products (P ZERO, CINTURATO, SCORPION, DIABLO), on its most innovative industrial processes, such as MIRS and next MIRS, on specialties, such as SEAL INSIDE tyres featuring a solution that allows the tyre to “repair itself” in the event of a puncture. Today the brand continues its research activities, focusing on products and sustainability.
Thanks also to the partnership with Italian and international universities, research centres and specialist suppliers, Pirelli is currently at the cutting edge in its pursuit of innovative materials with which the tyres of the future will be built. By 2025, in fact, Pirelli plans to launch 44 new product lines using more than 40% of renewable materials in specific categories, with a rise in recycled materials and a constant reduction in fossil-fuel based materials.
The challenge is twofold: not only in terms of environmental friendliness, but also in terms of performance levels. Indeed, the new tyres have to withstand higher loads (due to the greater weight of the batteries in electric cars), have a lower ‘rolling resistance', offering superior grip with less noise. In order to succeed, the tread design, the composition of the compound and the possibility of testing new products with the new simulator will all allow Pirelli to make significant progress on the road to research and innovation.