Ever wondered what it would be like to drive around without the need to worry about a puncture? Ever wished you never had to care about the air pressure in your vehicle tires? Now, for all you closeted inventors out there who have been trying to invent something similar since you were in the 8th grade, look up, someone has already beaten you to the goal post and it is none other than Michelin. The tyre manufacturer has opened its newest plant in North America, which will produce the innovative MICHELIN X TWEEL Airless Radial Tire for commercial applications. An idea first conceived by Michelin research engineers in the United States, the TWEEL is a revolutionary non-pneumatic tire that changed the configuration of a conventional tire, bringing together the tire and the wheel assembly into one solid unit. The TWEEL comprises a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit. Unlike conventional tires, the TWEEL has no air, thereby solving what had seemed to be the unavoidable challenge of chronic flat tires that plagues the landscape, construction, contracting, refuse/recycling and agricultural industries.
“The TWEEL being built here in South Carolina is yet another dramatic example of Michelin’s long-standing commitment to breakthrough innovation. The concept was born at Michelin Americas Research Company in Greenville, S.C., one of Michelin’s three global technology centers, and now the Tweel will be manufactured right here in the Greenville area to satisfy a growing commercial market,” said Pete Selleck, Michelin North America chairman and president.
The new plant gives Michelin the ability to boost output of its award-winning MICHELIN X TWEEL SSL skid-steer tires and begin production of the new MICHELIN X TWEEL TURFTM as original equipment for John Deere to equip its ZTRAKTM 900 Series line-up of zero-turn commercial mowers.
“Differentiating us from competitors, the TWEEL airless radial tire is the industry’s first commercialized airless radial solution and verifies Michelin’s leadership for the next generation of mobility. The TWEEL airless radial tire enables Michelin to enter new markets and expand its reach in existing business segments within the low-speed application category. The industry is hungry for solutions contributing to productivity, safety and bottom lines. Serving our customers is at the center of our strategy for success,” said Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies.
The new 135,000 square-foot facility in Piedmont, S.C., represents Michelin’s 10th manufacturing facility in South Carolina and the 16th in the U.S. The company will invest about $50 million in the new plant. How we wish the technology trickles down to everyday vehicles and might turn out to be a boon for our nail-filled, pothole infested, spine and tyre killing roads. Have your doubts? leave a comment after watching the video below.