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Old 20th November 2014, 17:32   #1
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Default Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

In a big step forward for airless tyre technology, Michelin has officially confirmed production of the Tweel. The airless tyre technology uses a central steel hub with poly-resin spokes that deform according to the surface the vehicle is on. These spokes connect to the outer tread layer that can be designed for a variety of terrain.

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Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production-michelin_x_tweel_turf_print.jpg

Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production-michelin-x-tweel-ssl-all-terrain-hard-surface.jpg

This technology eliminates the possibility of getting a flat tyre as there is nothing to inflate in the first place. The Tweel is also supposed to offer a longer life than a conventional pneumatic tyre. Michelin has stated that the company will be opening a new factory in Piedmont, South Carolina specifically for producing the Tweel.

Michelin has not designed the Tweel for use on regular automobiles yet. Currently, the technology has been developed only for skid-steer loaders and certain John Deere lawnmowers.






Last edited by GTO : 21st November 2014 at 18:56. Reason: Additional pics from Michelin
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Old 20th November 2014, 18:26   #2
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Great idea.
But what about durability - lets say for Indian roads?
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Old 20th November 2014, 18:39   #3
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

It would be great if this starts extending to cars and bikes also, we could do with this in India.

I wonder how the ride and handling would be, however, and whether (on cars) it'll be a plug-and-play replacement, or if there'll need to be suspension changes too.
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Old 20th November 2014, 20:15   #4
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Great idea.
But what about durability - lets say for Indian roads?
Long way for that. It's not even available for regular vehicles yet. However, it's a start. No fear of flat tyres, added boot space in cars because you don't need a spare wheel- lot of possibilities. Let's wait and see where this goes.
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Old 20th November 2014, 23:46   #5
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

If this thing catches on, what will happen to the alloy wheel industry?

Isn't it simpler to make tyres out of solid rubber, and make a robust suspension system to take care of ride quality issues? Michelin's tweel "looks" very fragile.
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Old 21st November 2014, 00:10   #6
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

It's actually pretty cool. If you check the videos, it definitely can handle big loads and rough terrain. Imagine a tyre which never punctures and never blows out!
1. No need to check pressure: All tyre wallahs and pump attendants are out of business
2. No punctures or blow outs: Absolutely safe
3. Tyre contains the suspension: tyres will probably last a lifetime and so will the suspension.

Huge cost savings and huge safety!
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Old 21st November 2014, 00:11   #7
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

It would be a very delicate line for the rigidity of the tweel to suit bad roads. Too stiff and ride quality would be pathetic. Too soft and the car would bottom out frequently causing underbody damage.
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Old 21st November 2014, 01:57   #8
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Brilliant. I did a study and presentation on the Tweel during my engineering days. Found it brilliant for the innovation involved, specially back in those days when even tubeless tyres were only starting to make a mark in the Indian market.

I think Tweel marks a start for a new generation of products. Agreed we are not there yet, but we used to say the same about things like runflat tyres a decade or two ago.
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Old 21st November 2014, 07:47   #9
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

The Tweel look a long time to get here, isn't it? Almost 10 years back, Tweel was written about by all major publications and then it vanished.

I can't say much about its aesthetics but this will be a better option compared to run-flats when its available for passenger cars.

Here is our thread on Tweel. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-a...weeltyres.html (Tubeless Tyres? Not Enough! How about Airless -Michelin TweelTyres) Got some pics of how it looks on an Audi.
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Old 21st November 2014, 08:58   #10
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Its a brilliant product to start with, more so it opens up new kinds of opportunities for difficult terrains where vehicles ferry between low and high pressure zones.

1. Aircraft industry is looking for this kind of product for the very reason of heavy and emergency landings (when aircraft has to turn around immediately after takeoff and it is loaded with passenger and fuel).

2. Landing at higher altitudes where the air is thin, the tyres are practically managing a very high pressure difference as the air checks are carried out at the point of takeoff which could be plains / lower altitudes.

We have seen the market transforming from standard tyres to radials and then to tubeless though run-flat are still not able to gain traction even among premium cars (reason - tyre replacement at every puncture resulting in significant financial implication).

If tweel manages to capture the requirements of the market in standardization of their product line and is able to provide long term reliability and cost effective (I want to refrain from using VFM here) solution for automobile industry in due course of time, they would have long term first mover advantage for this product, while their peers would have to run for their money.

Cheers

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Old 21st November 2014, 09:35   #11
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Brilliant.. Hope it makes it to passenger cars soon.. What would happen once the tyre wears out. Replace just the threads or the entire tweel?
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Old 21st November 2014, 10:23   #12
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Happy to see a concept turning into production part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Michelin has not designed the Tweel for use on regular automobiles yet. Currently, the technology has been developed only for skid-steer loaders and certain John Deere lawnmowers.
I see a lot of difficulties to adopt them for passenger cars (since they are sold as a integrated part including hub)
1) Different diameters / section widths / offsets - complex to maintain all these combinations.
2) Radially the spokes ares is longer, leaving lesser dia at the hub portion - difficult to accommodate the disc / drum brake assembly.
3) No stylish (???) wheel caps / fancy alloy wheels - chrome blingbling lovers don't have a choice now

Last edited by Mr.Boss : 21st November 2014 at 10:25.
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Old 21st November 2014, 11:13   #13
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Boss View Post
Happy to see a concept turning into production part.


I see a lot of difficulties to adopt them for passenger cars (since they are sold as a integrated part including hub)
1) Different diameters / section widths / offsets - complex to maintain all these combinations.
2) Radially the spokes ares is longer, leaving lesser dia at the hub portion - difficult to accommodate the disc / drum brake assembly.
3) No stylish (???) wheel caps / fancy alloy wheels - chrome blingbling lovers don't have a choice now
A lot of valid points there. IMO this technology will first be developed for the armed forces and with time, the designers will develop an airless tyre tech for regular vehicles. May not necessarily be a derivation of the Tweel itself.

Can't comment on the Tweel's implications for everyday vehicles just yet, because even if it does enter the mainstream, it will be exorbitantly priced in its initial stages. It is quite an innovation and I can see it on high end passenger cars in another 15 years.
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Old 21st November 2014, 11:13   #14
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

If I remember correctly there was opposition from the American law enforcement side as they felt that they cannot stop a getaway car using spike strips or the like.
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Old 21st November 2014, 11:55   #15
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Default Re: Michelin begins "Tweel" airless tyre production

American law enforcement should develop some new technology for stopping them too

How do they replace this after the tread wears? Get some re-treading? The spokes too may have to be replaced/serviced if we hit those potholes here.

They will take away the character of a car without all those beautiful alloys :(

Last edited by srishiva : 21st November 2014 at 11:57.
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