Michelin to open the worlds first Airless Tyre Factory in US
Tyre producing giant Michelin has recently confirmed they are to open the first plant dedicated to production of its new airless tyre design in North America. The combined wheel and tyre, known as the “tweel” will go into production at the $50 million factory for construction and agricultural vehicles.
Michelin are targeting theses markets first due to a significant loss of profit margins and down time because of punctures and tyre damage. The tweel is less prone to damage, reduces aqua planning, improves operator comfort and only the tread is replaced when worn out, hence less cost and material waste. In this low speed section of the tyre market the tweel will have to prove it’s durability and longevity in a very harsh environment.
First announced in 2005 as a concept by Michelin, small snippets of news have been leaked on to the market over the years about on going trials and tests with the military etc.
We now know the official name of the units is to be the Michelin X Tweel Airless Radial Tyre.
Although no confirmation has been made for other sections of the tyre market as yet to be entered with the tweel, it’s a pretty safe bet the design labs at Michelin may have other applications on the cards, we may well see them on our 4×4’s in the not too distant future.